Filling the book needs of a small city in Central Pennsylvania can become habit-forming.
When Otto Book Store owner Betsy Rider received the Longevity Award at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Convention recently in Arlington Va., she confessed to feeling the burden of 171 years in business.
"When I think about retiring," she said, "I think of all those years and what might happen if I quit and I say, 'No, no, no, not yet!' "
Rider credits the amazing loyalty of the area's readers who brave the weather, traffic disruptions and parking hassles to come to a "real" bookstore.
She recognizes the exceptional skill of her small staff and is proud of the fact that her store never took a penny of government money to expand and thrive.
Her tagline that became part of their official title, "a booklover's paradise," came from a number of visitors who described their impression of the store upon visiting it for the first time.
On Friday, Otto's hopes to repay, in a small way, the loyalty the store has experienced.
The store will hold a 171st anniversary party that will feature six authors signing their books, a live musician, a table full of goodies and a drawing for a $100 gift certificate and signed books (more than $1,000 worth of them) for the runners up.
The authors include two signing new titles and four favorites returning for an encore signing.
Judith Youngman will sign "Amadeus Quilts," a colorful collection of the quilts she has made accompanied by her poetic reflections.
Mary Kingsley will sign her novel, "Angel," about a girl who can't let go of her dreams of the father who deserted his family.
Jim Carn will return for another go at signing his book, "Hour of Trial," a true account of the murder of a Williamsport policeman.
Craig Weaver will sign his young adult novel about two boys in Gettysburg, "Summer Vacation, 1863."
Mike Zolitch will be back with his coffee table extravaganza, "A Year on the Lycoming Valley."
And Maryann McFadden will sign her three paperback novels, "So Happy Together," "Richest Season" and her latest (inspired by Rider's sharing of Otto's history) "The Book Lover."
Alfonse Ciaccio will play mellow jazz on his guitar.
The party will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at 107 W. Fourth St.
The drawing will begin at 6 p.m. and those who register may do so as often as they like before the drawing time.
Those who choose to enter the drawing do not need to be present to win..
For more information or to register for the drawing, visit ottobook@com cast.net or call 326-5764 with your name, address and phone number and-or email address.