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.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Today's addition to the newsstand is The Decorative Painter, a thick (128 pages plus cover) and colorful bimonthly that instructs its readers on how to paint flowers, folk designs, holiday motifs and the like on surfaces such as ceramic plates, furniture, canvas and paper. It's the official publication of the Society of Decorative Painters, which is based in Wichita, KS and offers the wonderful slogan, "It's cheaper than therapy!" Its members―throughout the United States and overseas (the bound-in application form is English on one side, Japanese on the other)―are mainly hobbyists, but some have become teachers of decorative painting within their communities and others are making a living with the crafts they produce and market. Membership seems to be overwhelmingly female, though I don't understand why. The spirit of the magazine is exemplified by an anecdote related in the November-December 2005 issue by self-taught (and now professional) artist and illustrator Nanette Hilton, who painted a rose and hummingbird design on a stool for her six-year-old daughter. On the underside of the chair she wrote, "For Diana, painted by your loving mother." Hilton tells the reader, "Diana knows she'll someday get this stool for her very own… It's amazing how well a child will take care of something if they know they're going to inherit it!" The articles in The Decorative Painter go into great detail on the materials needed for each project. One such project is to paint a wooden mantel clock green and add red poinsettias and green leaves around the clock face. Author Bobbie Campbell starts the article by telling you where to buy the basic unpainted clock by mail, lists the 11 acrylic paints required by name and palette code number, suggests a series of brushes, and adds the other basic elements, including wood sealer, sandpaper, steel wool and tracing paper. For every project in the magazine, a drawn-to-scale black and white outline is supplied for tracing and transfer. Campbell then gives specific instructions on painting the design, telling you what colors to apply where. In many of the articles, the authors give added advice on the various brushstrokes necessary to complete the painting. It's far more sophisticated work than "paint-by-the-numbers," but it's a skill that people without art experience should be able to master with practice and some appropriate face-to-face lessons. You have to be a member of the Society of Decorative Painters to get the magazine. An annual membership is $40.00 for individuals; check out their Web site at for details. We'll be happy to send you a sample copy of The Decorative Painter for $2.59.


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