Friday, May 18, 2007

TGIF: Bookstores to celebrate; ELNO-BEA!

I've been thrilled and intrigued by the answers to my questions about where you read reviews, and why. I want to keep the question open for a couple of days longer to get some more feedback and refine my thoughts on the subject. Look for a synthesis of your responses and my thoughts on the matter by Wednesday, and in the meantime, if you haven't responded I'd love to hear from you. (It's the end of Fundraising Drive Week at WNYC, which I listen to every morning, so forgive me if I sound like I'm soliciting pledges...)

Instead, today I want to point out joyfully two major articles about independent bookstores that are NOT playing the same, sad "too bad independent bookstores are doomed" tune. Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link to these two:

The Colorado Springs Business Journal allows as how there are fewer indie bookstores in Colorado Springs than there used to be, but demonstrates that those that remain are growing and thriving because they have adapted to the changing marketplace. Poor Richards and Covered Treasures (which doesn't have a website yet) are highlighted as stores that have diversified their inventory (PR has a restaurant, wine bar, and toy store, and CT carries unique stationary), and created community gathering places through author readings and other events. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

The LA Weekly magazine has a whole string of articles on their local indie bookstore scene, which is as diverse and sprawling and sometimes kooky as the city itself. Bookstores admired include Book Soup, Vromans, Skylight, Family, Diesel, A&M Book Cellars, Alias Books, Counterpoint Records and Books, The Daily Planet, David Kaye Books & Memorabilia, Equator, The Iliad Bookshop, Metropolis, Small World Books, and Tia Chucha’s Cafe Cultural.

The cool bookstore names alone are worth savoring, and the LA Weekly highlights not only the stores' unique aesthetics but the staff that give them their personality. My favorite was reading about Book Soup's events coordinator Tyson Cornell, since we have basically the same job on opposite coasts, and Book Soup and my bookstore have a lot of overlap in the authors that we host... but Cornell has had drinks with Johnny Depp, and his photo indicates he is clearly far cooler than me.... still, it's nice to find oneself in such hip company. Kudos to LA for focusing on what's great in its literary scene, and honoring the booksellers as a major part of that.

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So while you're in the celebratory mood, I'd like to announce that the Emerging Leaders Party at BEA is in full effect. We'll be hanging out at 7:00 on Wednesday night, May 30, at a cool Brooklyn bar with good music, some young authors, and a whole bunch of hot young booksellers. Under 40-ness will be [semi-]strictly enforced -- this is for the youngsters who don't necessarily get invited to all the big BEA parties, and it's just for us. We'll have some practical information to hand out to help the kids get the most out of BEA and our bookselling careers, and the drinks are on BEA (thanks a zillion again, Lance Fensterman!). Email me (booknerdnyc, earthlink) if you didn't get an invite yet and you want to come, and I'll send you the info. Hope to see lots of you there!

Addendum: Okay, here's the deal, because obviously I was unclear before. The party is at Floyd in Brooklyn from 7 to 9 on Wednesday, May 30. But not only is it limited to under-40s, it's also limited to JUST BOOKSELLERS. I love meeting young people in publishing (and I think it's often valuable for young booksellers), but this time BEA is only springing for free drinks for those on the retail side of the catalog. It's a time for us to build our professional community, get some feedback about the future possibilities of the Emerging Leaders project, and remind each other that there are other people like us out there.

However, if you're in publishing and you want to show up around 9:00 -- well, the free drinks will be gone, but I'm pretty sure some of us (ahem, me) will still be around, and we can say hi then. And we'll be sure to see lots of each other throughout the weekend -- there are some mysterious buttons in the works that will let you know a bookselling Emerging Leader when you see one. Sorry about the confusion -- hope to see you all around!

(We now return to our regularly scheduled Friday programming. In Brooklyn today bookstore and wedding compete for the Book Nerd's attention...)