Monday, March 24, 2008

Link-Mad Monday: Bad News, Good News, Other

The Litblog Co-Op is no more. The site's still there, but the membership has been quietly disbanded, and there will be no more "Read This!" picks. Dan explains why at The Reading Experience, and Levi shares his thoughts at LitKicks. I'm a little sad about it, but I can't say I'm surprised -- I was one of several former members who had to drop out because life just got too busy, and the project didn't seem to have quite the momentum or organization it needed to keep going. Luckily, though, nearly all former LBCers still have their own litblogs going strong, so there are plenty of places to find great book news, reviews, recommendations and hidden gems in the blogosphere.

Here's one thing that may be going away that I'm NOT sad about: Bruce Ratner's terrible Atlantic Yards project, according to the New York Times and the Brooklyn Paper. The slowing economy (he says) is putting the kibosh on the project, though I suspect the public outcry and the efforts of Develop Don't Destroy have also had something to do with it. Worryingly, while the affordable housing has been nixed, the gigantic arena is still on the table; here's hoping Brooklynites can continue successfully in their efforts to change this project into something that actually makes sense and benefits our borough.

And more good news: Lent is over, and spring is here, in name if not quite in weather. On a non-bookselling note, I gave up meat for Lent, and found it rather liberating. And Daniel at Old First gave a kick-ass Easter sermon; as a reader, I'm awfully grateful to go to a church presided over by a really good writer, as well as a good spiritual leader. (And the ALP recently made Deacon, so we're really in now...)

What else...

You can read my occasional column on Graphic Lit in Shelf Awareness today. This one's topic: great prose-to-comic crossovers.

My coworker Cheryl forwarded me this funny article from the Seattle paper The Stranger: a bookseller's experience with thievery. It's something all of us indie booksellers can identify with, and we've got our own successful (and not so) stories of indignantly pursuing book thieves. We've got a couple of guys on staff who have given heroic chase to thieves, and even the cafe staff has lit out after the perpetrators before. (One note if you're a New Yorker: don't buy books from the tables on Prince Street, or the ones near NYU. Their stock includes a high percentage of five-finger discounted titles, mostly stolen from stores by desperate folks, sold to the table guys no questions asked, and resold to tourists and college students. There are better ways to get a deal.)

Of course, when booksellers are bored... well, I used to read the New Yorker, but Lori's link is way funnier.

And PW has a neat article on indie publishers in the UK (thanks to the every-fascinating Bookninja for the link.) As in the U.S., their numbers are growing. My favorite quote from the article, which I'll leave you with today, could as easily apply to bookstores as publishers.

“The bigger you are, the more you're affected by the market,” says Tim Hely Hutchinson, CEO of U.K. market leader Hachette Livre U.K. “If you're small, you make your own success.”

Amen to that. Enjoy the good news.