Nutrition and Health Bookstore
About the Owner
In some ways, it seems ironic that I got into the book business. For whatever reason, I never enjoyed the act of focusing my eyes on the printed page. However, when I discovered an interest in the study of human nutrition in 1972 (age 23), there was a period of about 10 years where my appetite for books was voracious. Along the way, I discovered my major mentor, Dr. Herbert Shelton. Though I have continued to learn from other health teachers, Dr. Shelton's teachings formed a foundation of understanding which has guided me throughout my life.
It was the spring of 1973 that I first came across the book Food Combining Made Easy by Dr. Shelton. My initial response to his writings was that he seemed very sincere in his desire to educate and less concerned with any commercial motivation. I continued to read more of his books, anything that I could find in print. I even took a special trip to the Library Of Congress in Washington D.C. looking for out-of-print titles authored by him. I was so inspired by his teachings that in 1976 I decided to do my part to promote them.
I first began selling his books in November, 1976, taking orders for Natural Hygiene Press, the publishing segment of the American Natural Hygiene Society. These were my "hippy" days and I was doing all my traveling via my thumb. I hitchhiked around the state of Florida, then across the country to California, from San Diego to Eugene, Oregon. I would enter health food stores with a backpack on my shoulders and a briefcase in my hand, showing book samples and taking orders, then sending the orders to the publisher for fulfillment. In about 6 months I sold nearly 10,000 books.
My next endeavor in promoting Dr. Shelton's teachings brought me one step closer to the book business. Living in Santa Cruz, California, where health food stores were practically on every corner, I had my attention on the book departments of these stores. This was the early '80's. I noticed that Dr. Shelton's books were rarely found on the shelves. In fact, many of the concepts that were popular in the '70's like vegetarianism, raw foods, etc. were no longer met with such enthusiasm. (As I reflect on these times now, I think that one reason for this change may have been that as people from my generation were growing older and raising families, they were feeling more social pressure to conform to more moderate dietary practices.) I once again felt inspired to have an impact on the situation. Having practiced the principles of food combining since discovering it in Dr. Shelton's book, I decided to write my own simplified version of these principles, giving him full credit for their discovery.
In 1983, I bought an old typewriter at the flea market and typed out with one finger (I had forgotten all my typing lessons) the manuscript for Food Combining Simplified. Together with my friend, Clay Olson, we borrowed $2500 from family and friends and printed 20,000 copies in August of that year.
We called health food stores all across the country selling our little booklet in a display along with a food combining postcard chart. We sold 40,000 copies the first year. After a few years of working together our business partnership began to deteriorate. In 1986, Clay & I decided to sever our business relationship (in order to maintain our friendship) and that was formally the beginning of Nelson's Books.
In 1988 I wrote and self-published my second booklet, Maximizing Your Nutrition. These two little booklets provided me with enough capital to expand my title selection. About 1990, I started adding other titles from publishers and learned the distribution business as I went along. It's been quite a learning process!