Book signings, birthday cakes and blues will help to celebrate the 170th anniversary of a downtown bookstore.
Otto Bookstore, 107 W. Fourth St., will host four authors to sign and discuss their books from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Owner Betsy Rider compared the bookstore to the popular folktale "The Tortoise and the Hare."
Betsy Rider, owner of Otto Bookstore, is celebrating its 170th anniversary Friday.
"You have other bookstores give out and you stay the course," she said.
Rider said she just signed another three-year contract for the bookstore.
Having a bookstore downtown is important for Rider, who said she grew up in the family-run bookshop that her father bought in 1905.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Otto Bookstore, 107 W. Fourth St.
"Having books around me is as natural as a fish in the water," she said.
Without repeat customers, staying around for so long would not have been possible.
"We have very faithful clientele," Rider said. "They show their faithfulness by buying gift certificates."
One of the biggest changes over the years came from technology. She said she constantly checks the website for online orders because people would rather order through the website than call to reserve a book.
"Technology has given overnight access to thousands, if not millions, of books," Rider said.
Even though Rider has scoured through library records to try to find the early history of the bookstore, she has only found the year the business started, not the specific date.
Since she cannot find the date, she chose the weekend before Thanksgiving before the busy season starts. It also is a way to overlap with the Home for Holidays weekend, which features a parade at the same time as the celebration. Rider said Otto Bookstore has a float in the parade.
One of the authors is Steve Tignor, the star of the Williamsport High School tennis team from 1985 to 1987 with an 85-0 record on the court. He will discuss and sign his new book "High Strung." Tignor played for Swarthmore where he and his team won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 1990. From 1998, he used his game knowledge to write about the sport. He serves as executive editor of Tennis Magazine and has a daily blog on tennis.com.
"High Strung" is a personal history of the tennis world of the late 60s and 70s, the era that opened the tournaments to professional players and almost everything changed. Tignor describes the attitudes, techniques and records of the players.
Guy Graybill, who signed "Prohibition's Prince" last December at the bookstore, had so many people tell him more about Prince Farrington and his many regional stills that he gathered the stories and published a sequel called "The Prince and the Paupers."
Seamus McGraw, author of "End of Country," which is about the regional gas drilling, also will be back to the bookstore to share stories of readers' reactions.
Kathy Miller, author of the children's picture book, "Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden," will sign her new book "Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden." The illustrations Miller uses are all photographs she took over a long period of time. She will be escorted by a 6 foot chipmunk, who will pose for pictures with children.
Along with the authors scattered among the bookstore, Alphonse Ciaccio will play his blues jazz guitar.
Birthday cake and punch will be served and $170 worth of gift certificates will be given to the winners of the anniversary drawing. The drawing will be held at 7 p.m.