A visit from Google

The Google photo technology in use.

Everyone knows about Google’s “Street view,” the awesome Google application that lets you cruise city streets without leaving your computer screen.

Google is now expanding their street views to include interior photography of the businesses seen along the way. We’re happy that Google has chosen Capitol Hill Books as one of the first businesses in Denver to be photographed for this new project. Today, the Google photographer came into the store to take a look around and use her state-of-the-art 360 degree camera to show what it is like walking through our store (She was a quite nice person as well and the Google people were really great and communicative about the project to us.).

Eventually, Google will link the photographs to the street views of our store. So when you see our store on Google Street View, you’ll be able to click to see pictures of our store from the inside as well. We’re very excited about this project and we’ll be sure to update you about when the photography and content will be available online.

Soon: Capitol Hill Books inside and out.

But why did Google choose our store? Well our prominent location for sure, but also because of our above average number of Google searches for our store that actually led people to our site. Our own internal statistics show more than 35,000 hits since we upgraded this site a year ago.

So on the one year anniversary of our new, improved Capitolhillbooks.com (additional props to former employee, Tom for originally putting this site together), we just want to thank our customers for continuing to use the website. We continue to improve because of them.

Adios Tomas

Tom being cool

Tom being cool

Our good friend Tom has left Capitol Hill Books to risk unemployment and ruin in Seattle! As Holly said, “He’ll be sorry.”

But actually we wish Tom and his wonderful companion Kelli the best of luck in their new Seattle adventure and the awesome-sounding Western road trip they will be doing as they travel there.

Tom has worked semi-diligently since starting at Capitol Hill Books last summer and even created much of this new sparkly Web site instead of doing actual work. He also reorganized and managed our glass case section of book, making those expensive books more likely to sell online and improving our store’s ability to succeed in a harsh capitalistic environment. Pretty good for a self-professed anarchist!

Tom’s presence has actually really improved the store and he is a great friend and person. In fact, another one of the Cap Hill gang wouldn’t even be working at the store if it wasn’t for Tom’s great generosity. So, we wish him the best of luck as a fish monger in Pike’s Market. He’ll be the one throwing the fish heads into the scum pile.

And though he won’t have much access to twitter while he is deboning flounders, you can follow him on there if you’d like @tfooq


Tom at the store on New Years Eve.

Tom at the store on New Year's Eve.

Tom plays the ukulele (among other things). He moved to Denver in August 2008 from Kansas City, where he wrote features for the Kansas City Star for a summer as an intern. Before that, he went to college at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Tom has determined that Denver could not be more different from his home city and still be in the USA. Denver’s streets mostly make sense, the weather is mostly dry and beautiful, and there are far fewer murders (though, to be fair, STL isn’t as dangerous as people make it out to be…). He co-founded Big Muddy Records in 2004.

You might best know Tom as the guy who made this Web site. If some of the code is not entirely valid, that is probably because he has no idea what he’s doing. But you can hardly tell!

In his free time, Tom might be riding his bike, reporting a story (amateur journalism!) or plotting the collapse of capitalism.

Recommended reading: Derrick Jensen

On Twitter: @tfooq

Amazon.com is trying to drive me insane

Aside from selling books from this web site and to walk in customers, we also list on Amazon. We sell several books every day and send them all over the country. And for every book we sell, Amazon takes a disgusting commission (seeing as how they do nothing but include our listing).

About a month ago, they decided that every morning, they would send a giant list of 20 or so books that did not go on the site for some stupid reason or another. And sometimes, they contradict themselves and we go nearly mad trying to figure out what they want us to do to list a book for them.

Here’s an example:

I want to list the following book.


Note the “Plastic Comb” binding note. So under binding in our inventory program, I put “Plastic Comb”.


In the morning, I get this error message: “The data you provided for [1408046] does not match the list of valid values.  Please select a valid value from the Data Definitions and resubmit.”

Well, after much wrestling (and because I can’t let a problem go until I get to the bottom of it), I figure out that I need to type “plastic_comb”, not “Plastic Comb” like they list on their own site.

This is just one reason why Amazon is terrible and going the way of eBay.

Bottom line, shop local!

In other news, two of our employees wrote an article (with a video) for the INDenver Times. Check it out.