Monday, February 19, 2007

Link-Mad Monday: No Rest for Retail

Hope some of you are enjoying the three-day weekend and thinking kind thoughts about pres. Washington, Lincoln, et al. Of course, lots of people use their holiday Monday to go shopping, so us retail types are on the job as usual. But here are some linkety-links before I head off to the store.

- Hooray, an optimistic article about indie bookstores! This piece in the Christian Science Monitor (from several weeks ago) chronicles some recent success stories, while still acknowledging the struggle (and the fact that none of us are planning on becoming milionaires). It's a nicely balanced piece, and quotes hometown favorite Adam Tobin of Adam's Books (thanks to Sarah Weinman's Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind for the link).

- Case in point: Waynesville, NC's fabulous Osondu Booksellers, which has just remodeled and installed a wine bar in the bookstore! Proprietor Margaret Osondu is already kind of famous for her campaign get Oprah to visit Osondu Booksellers, and to voice support for independent bookselling. From the looks of it, Oprah would love the place; you can write her a letter and tell her so.

- Another cool bookstore discovery: Inklings in Yakima, Washington. Apparently Susan of Inklings heard about this blog at Winter Institute, though I didn't get to meet her. It's a beautiful looking shop; I promise I'll update my links soon to include and the other bookstores I've encountered recently. If you know of an indie bookstore I've missed, by all means email me with their website address and I'll add it.

- In the virtual world, I can tell you that this post on Bloggasm about the invisibility of the Litblog Co-Op in Google and other search engines prompted instant action within the LBC; it seems that there was a line of code on the site that kept it from showing up in Google searches, even though it's linked all over everywhere. Sigh... we all just keep learning about this internet stuff, even the savviest among us. Incidentally, this has led to some soul-searching within the LBC about how to best fulfill our mission of "drawing attention to the best of contemporary fiction, authors and presses", and you may see some changes in the next year.

But more importantly, the LBC nominees for Spring Read This! have been announced, and one of 'em's mine! You may remember me raving about Mark Binelli's SACCO AND VANZETTI MUST DIE! from Dalkey Archive; well, now at least 24 bloggers are gonna be reading it, and we'll have interviews, roundtables, and podcasts galore. I'm also thrilled about the other two nominees, Marshall Klimasewiski's THE COTTAGERS (Norton) and Alan de Niro's SKINNY DIIPPING IN THE LAKE OF THE DEAD (Small Beer Press); they're all titles I've been meaning to read, and from some of my very favorite indie presses. Just another reason to look forward to spring!

- Bookseller Chick and I have been trying to figure out how y'all are doing this blog reader / RSS feed thing, and even asking for suggestions. One of the tools suggested was, and I just got a nice email from those folks telling me that my blog is featured there (you can see how here). But in the meantime I've discovered that Google Reader is pretty easy, and I can set it up so that new blog posts appear on my Google homepage along with the local weather. I worry a little about contributing to the Google take-over-the-world project (see Scott Esposito's thoughtful post on the concept of "transformation", and many others on the iffyness of the Google BookSearch project), but it is helping me keep up my blog reading a little more; I wouldn't have discovered Scott's post without it. Hmm.

- Scott also mentions the Jonathan Lethem article from Harper's on copyright, borrowing, and plagiarism (he's sort of in favor of it). I've had it passed on to me from several sources and I'm working my way through it; it's pretty long, but it's Lethem at his pop-culture-crit best.

- And just for fun, here's a hilarious video from YouTube about the IT Help Desk in the era of Gutenberg, when "book" was a new and confusing technology (thanks to Dan at the ABA for the link).

Some more book reviews coming later this week, and then I'll report back from Comic Con! Enjoy the day, and happy reading.