Thursday, June 30, 2016


In one large, faded green metal cabinet in my garage, one-hundred-and fifty-nine copies of my book The Oy Way fill up nearly two shelves. That number is the result of two major errors by Amazon’s publishing arm, Create Space.

When The Oy Way began selling well at bookstores, museums and other outlets around the country, I thought about submitting another printing order. I had also sold copies to many individuals on my own mailing lists, and after making presentations at bookstores, libraries, cultural events, health retreats, and at religious and secular gatherings.

I finally ordered more copies from Create Space, to match the ones I had already received and sold. Unfortunately, they first produced a batch of books that left off the last page. I contacted them, and they said “no problem,” and promised to send me a duplicate order immediately. When I asked who would be paying for the shipment back to the plant, I was told to just keep the books and do whatever I wanted to with them.

When the replacement shipment arrived, it too had a minor printing discrepancy, and I called Create Space once more. They apologized, promised to send a correct printing, and advised me that the incorrect books were mine to do with what I wanted to do.

What remains from those two shipments, are the copies that sit in the cabinet. They are in fine shape, and I primarily give them away as gifts, or sell them to individuals who request them directly from me.

One table tennis player, who bought a copy two years ago, loudly exclaims whenever he sees me, “How’s the Oy Way Man?” When he did so a few months ago at a Southern California table tennis tournament, a woman standing by misheard what he said, and started dancing about in a circle, semi-shouting, “Oy Vey! Oy Vey! Oy Vey!”

My wife and I just purchased two cemetery plots in Santa Cruz, and I have requested that neither the book’s title nor the dancing woman’s words, be inscribed on my gravestone.

I have put the majority of materials connected with The Oy Way, into file folders that now reside in a large plastic container in the garage. I have kept the main selling information in a nearby filing cabinet in my writing room. I would like to either sell the book outright to another publisher, or let them promote and sell it to the public, and I would garner a royalty on each sale.

However, recently there seems to be renewed interest in The Oy Way, and in several diverse ways. Earlier this year, I received a voice mail message from Debbie at J. Levine Co., a prominent New York City Jewish bookstore. It was in response to an email I had sent to its owner last August, regarding a five-book consignment delivered to them in February 2012. Debbie said that they had sold two copies of the book, and the Los Gatos Alef Bet Jewish bookstore, regularly sells a copy or two.  I just spoke with Hiroko Nogami-Rosen, who owns the Dayenu Bookstore in San Francisco’s Jewish Community Center, and she said that she sold out the four books I personally delivered to her, and wants four more.  It’s a 150 mile round trip from my home, and I promised I’d deliver the books the next time I’m in the city, and would autograph them in Yiddish, as I have done in the past with all local bookstores.

A week ago, I received a notice from Amazon, that they had deposited monies in my Cogitator Publications business account, for books that they had sold.

Today I received a phone call from the office of an Ophthalmologist surgeon in town, saying that they had cash for me from the sale of The Oy Way, which they had displayed on their counter.

The renewed interest in The Oy Way will not push me into early retirement, for that was accomplished quite a while ago.

Although these sales may give the false impression that I am being inundated with moneys, the truth is that I receive a sort-of-monthly $10.47 check from the Alef Bet Bookstore. Sadly, today is the last day before they go out of business, forced out by the Internet. Ironically Amazon, “the forcer,” is starting to build brick bookstores.

The two books sold by Amazon added a combined total of $13.42 to my business checking account, and when I called Debbie at Levine’s, she said she’d let the bookkeeper know that I was interested in finding out when, and if, I would be receiving any payment for the sale of two books.

The copy sold at the Ophthalmologist’s will provide me with $14.95 in cold hard cash, and I will probably buy lunch with it for my Ophthalmologist cousin.

I will make a decent effort and try to sell the book to a publishing house, but if that doesn’t work, it’s time to finish my second book, My Incredible Odyssey. It’s based on my travels around the world after my parents died six weeks apart, and that was just thirty-five years ago this summer.

Lest I forget, I have four copies of The Oy Way in my writing room, two in each of our cars, and they are all autographed in Yiddish.

Zayt Mir Gezunt

Use Yiddish while doing mind and body calming exercises found in The Oy Way — Following the Path of Most Resistance, by going here. They are especially helpful at deadline times.

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