Short Stories

STAR knowledge,

Ethnobotany Ethnobotany
Native Plant

Native FOOD,

Tribe Associates

and Features

 is one of the web's big success stories -- an on-line bookstore that started out with 1,000,000 books and some great database software. Now they've got 2.5 million, and the database has grown even better. The bookseller has started an associates program, where websites like mine with special interests can pull lists of books as local "shelves" linked to reviews and other informative material, if I have it.

You can order by clicking one of these books (later I will place individual links in the CREDITS that appear at the bottom of most pages). You will be switched to the bookstore, looking at a catalog "card" for the book you just clicked. A shopping cart icon will appear below it. You can return to my bookshelves with the BACK key, and your shopping cart will remain stacked until you check it out -- for several sessions if you don't complete it in one.

Currently, the shelves available are: STARS: -- Aboriginal (Native American Indian) Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy, Traditional Star Stories PLANTS -- Ethnobotany, herbals, plant knowledge of many tribes. There's a second page of hard-to-find out of print books that will search for, for scholars and libraries. POMO -- many books about this California tribe, who are the world's finest basketmakers, many think.

Choosing one or more books that way will create an editable invoice (you can remove or change quantities) whose books will be mailed to you, either as gets them from the publisher or several held and mailed in one box. These orders require major credit cards (Visa, Master, Discover, American Express) or you can print your invoice and mail it with a check for slower processing. has installed secure credit card "sockets" but if this worries you, you can e-send in your invoice with a option selected that you'll call their 800 number and provide the credit card info. You can also set up a passworded account that will look up billing info automatically .

As you go through the process of putting a book in your shopping cart, provides complete info as to your options and what's going on.

PLEASE BE AWARE that the large, reputable bookseller is filling and processing your orders on their own gigantic webserver and warehouse. Do not communicate with me about these orders! There's complete info on the site including 800 phones if you have problems. I DO want to know how it goes, good or hassles, whether I should keep on doing this. But I can't help and am not responsible for problems with your orders! It's that's selling these books.

Why am I doing this? Well, I already give publisher's order lines and other sources for books reviewed here. But's order setup is a lot easier.Most of their non-special order books are discounted about 10-15% over the publisher's list price. has a special orders feature and one that no other bookseller has: they will locate what they call hard-to-find (out of print) books and let you know (without automatic billing and shipping) what such books cost. (Expect to pay quite a lot usually; this is a service for scholars and libraries, since there are many essential books that are out of print.) offers its "associates" (which I've become for Native American and First Nations books) a 15% referral fee on regular orders. There's a catch; these fees have to add up to $100 per quarter, so at about 50 cents per book, it's unlikely I'll get rich. That would mean hundreds of books sold via these pages, which I don't think will happen (and the special orders and hard-to-finds don't earn a referral fee). But it could pay my phone bill and perhaps a few other things such as some software I'd like to have for working on these pages. I do referrals -- publisher order lines, catalog or web sources -- anyway, because I want peeople who need or want the books I use and think are good to be able to get them if they wish, or at least to find them in libraries. Of course doesn't have everything, but I've found they do carry even some small Canadian publishers -- though not the full selection, and they are especially weak on Canadian First Nations children's books.

The only books you buy from that I might receive a fee (about $1 or less for most) are those you pick from my shelf lists and other icons on this site. If you go directly to and shop there, I don't get credit. That's their very clever marketing scheme, to enlist a lot of specialty websites as their sales staff.

So, this is an experiment. If you book buyers use "Native intelligence" it shouldn't be too much of a hassle, and possibly could help support this system. Long distance phone calls to get info (and books for review) are something I just can't afford. If there was some trickle of fees from people who were going to buy those books anyway, it would help. By the way, if a book is rated "thumbs down" here, you will not find it on any of my bookshelves. The existence of a book in the system will not affect my reviews here, any more than the fact that I received a review copy of it. If it's a baddie, I'm not gonna make it easy for you to go ahead and buy it anyway.

I would like to know from people who use NATIVE BOOKS whether this service is worthwhile, and whether you are a school/library book buyer who needs and wants school purchase accounts from a service like I'd also like to know what categories you would find most useful as "shelves" here.

My first shelf is Aboriginal (Native American Indian) astronomy, which relates to the major topic section on my educational site. My next shelf is Ethnobotany (Native plants and their uses), which relates to the Traditional Plant Knowledge section. I'm working on Native cookbooks, relating to my Traditional Foods, Health, Nutrition and Recipes section. Art-Craft books, and a section on Ojibwe (US and Canadian) are likely to be next. It will be very difficult (because I have not found good database commands to pull them en masse) to list good Children's Books, but I obviously will get to that, probably cumulating them one at a time, based on my reviews here. I can create tribal categories, one at a time by a certain amount of database maneuvering, and beyond the fact that I'm giving Ojibwe priority for personal reasons, would like to know what interests there are for making such searches and "shelves" for other tribes.

Institutional (school, library, college) NET 30 accounts: does not presently offer these. They are thinking about it. They would think how2 do it a lot faster if they heard from you -- give your institutional affiliation and mention some rough estimate of how many you might buy that way -- send email about NET 30 institutional accounts to with cc to . Please do this only if you are a teacher/librarian or other institutional book customer. No one extends NET 30 book accounts to individuals or small businesses. I think they might to tribal archivist/librarians or sponsored documentation projects, though.

Does have enough Indian books to make such efforts as mine (and attempts to get institutional accounts established) worthwhile? Well, using keyword search (native american), I found 3900 books, including many from small presses, regional historical societies, and a few from Indian organizations. I stopped there because it was starting to list out the hard-to-find expensive ones, beginning with the A-titles. So, they are the biggest single source of Indian books in existence. Still, I found some errors in their catalog -- books listed as hard-to-find which in fact are in print, sometimes in inexpensive paperback editions.

Canadian First Nations selections as yet are sparse, but they do have some from Toronto University Press (which publishes imprints for other Canadian universities such as McGill, and art and history books of the Royal Ontario Museum), and they carry some but not all of Pemmican, a small press specializing in First Nations and Metis with many children's storybooks by native authors. Commercial publishers include Douglas & MacIntyre Ltd (who carry a number of First Nations books). They do not seem to include Theytus, a small house in BC specializing in BC First Nations and Metis. In 'hard-to-finds' I found some early publications and catalogs long out of print by/about Norval Morrisseau., of course they just list them, they didn't actually find them for me (and I'm sure I couldn't afford it). I am not sure how's prices (which are given only in US dollars) compare with Canadian ones, and would like comparative info on this from knowledgeable Canadians, who do some comparison shopping.

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Last updated: 6/7/97