Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 17th, 2011
The incredible bookseller, founder and owner of Arcturus Books, Robert Girard died on Friday, August 12, 2011, in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. He had been at the helm of Arcturus since 1980.
For years, anyone who received the printed catalogues and then the emailings from bookseller Bob Girard has experienced some of the most in-depth, opinionated, cutting, humorous reviews and insights about books on cryptozoology, ancient mysteries, Forteana, ufology, parapsychology, and more available.
Bob was a friend. I had known him for over thirty years. I helped him get his mailing list together, I ordered books from him routinely, and he’d sell books of mine direct from the publishers. He wasn’t always kind about what he saw in my books, but I liked him for his honest critiques.
A couple weeks ago, Bob told me he was dying and bills were a problem, as always, due to the decline of the book business. He sent this notice out publicly to his catalogue readers:
This will serve as a short update regarding my health issues as they relate to Arcturus Books. I am badly hobbled by blood clots in both legs, though the one in my left leg has left me immobile, just barely able to move on two legs. Blood clots are an indicator of cancer, and I have just now started the journey I never wanted to make–the one seeking out cancer (prostate) and its extent, could be migrating to the bones, which is late in the game. Between the lack of mobility and inability to do physical work, I have backed up a number of recent orders and back orders. I need to somehow get on top of the clot situation but there just doesn’t seem to be any realistic answer to it. The left leg has to be watched closely for worsening, while improvement just doesn’t seem possible because of the lack of circulation. Meantime it hurts like hell.
So there are orders piling up here–and I urgently need MORE orders of all kinds. I have books enough to do a new catalog but medical appointments are wiping out what working time I can arrange, and life will be like this for some months ahead. It is ironic indeed that a moment long dreaded by both me and, presumably, my customers has arrived for us at the same time. This is where you will likely soon lose your book source for good. It is where I may lose mine, too, and maybe even my life. Both sides–buyers and seller–failed to “take care of business” in our respective ways over the years, foolishly taking for granted that the future would automatically continue the past. Got Brains? You’d better get every dollar you can in here right now, and gorge your library with whatever isn’t nailed down here. You already know you’re never getting MY books–but there are still plenty around here that you can have. Meantime I’ll try to get on my feet more reliably, and get late shipments out, and will try to get more books in with which to continue.
My plan is to go until I’m stopped.
July 21, 2011
I asked him if I could post another notice on Cryptomundo to help sales of his used books. He really didn’t want me to, for, he said, he might get too many orders to ever complete.
It turns out I did not realize how little time he had left.
Bob wrote me on July 27th:
You’ve always struck me as being one of the most generous and selfless souls in all of paranormal research, and your kind offer here does nothing to sour my opinion. It looks as though I’m terminal with prostate cancer. I don’t know how much “normal” time I might have left, but because this condition has been undoubtedly discovered late, my time is probably measured in a few months. I can’t imagine having much more. I don’t know what approach to take except to play out the hand as best I can, do what I can manage to do, and leave the rest in as capable hands as I can. It seems to me better to take it day by day, for any one of the coming days may turn disastrous, leaving whatever efforts YOU might have made on Arcturus’s behalf in a shambles. It seems so precarious to me that it’s all probably better if just left to us and to fate. I don’t intend to make any major investments in Arcturus from here on. I’ll just try to strip it as much as I can, and close it when I feel I can’t run it gainfully any longer. Subject to whatever minor or major adjustments seem warranted. I do wish to thank you for all of your previous help to Arcturus over the years, and I wish you the best in both your personal and professional life.
Best wishes always
That’s the last I heard from Bob.
The greatest national bookseller of used books ranging from cryptozoology to Forteana, from ufology to parapsychology has passed away.
I am sad to convey this news that is making the rounds of the book world. I send out my deepest condolences to Bob’s family, and especially to Monica who was Bob’s and Arcturus’ partner for the last 24 years.