These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Today's new arrival in the newsstand is Primitive Archer, a magazine that on one level is about making your own archery equipment. On another, deeper level, it's about learning how to get very close to nature―in understanding its ways and learning some very basic skills of living―and passing that appreciation on to younger generations. You get the sense from reading the magazine, which bears the cover slogan "Passing On the Traditions of Classical Archery," that the growth of technology and the mass media's success in capturing the attention of the young is making this mentoring a more difficult but also more important task. Primitive Archer readers look upon fancy commercial bows made of composite materials with the disdain that sailboat lovers have for cabin cruisers. Yet even within the community the magazine serves, there's apparently a division between those who use power tools to fashion their bows and those who employ only hand-powered tools. One guy (people who make bows are called "bowyers") even writes in the current issue about what he calls his "devolution" from using modern tools like sandpaper and hammers to replicating what he believes are techniques used by American Indians centuries ago. His fascinating article describes how he begins with a log, splits it by pounding moose antler tips into it with a rock, roughs out the bow with flint, finishes it with sandstone and gives it a bear grease finish. He uses rabbit skins to make the string and branches for the arrow shafts. A theme of this issue is passing skills and interests to the young, and you'll find several articles by teachers and students about their experiences. I enjoyed an article by master tracker Ty Cunningham about how to begin teaching a kid about observing the ground in the wild for all the stories it tells about its inhabitants. He even supplies lesson plans and exercises! Primitive Archer is published by the nicely named Bigger Than That Productions in Houston, TX. An annual subscription (five issues) is $24.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.


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