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Showing posts from October, 2005

Cubicle vs. Sale Floor

It's been more than a week since my last confession... er, post, and it's likely to be a while before I can post again. The reason for this isnt' that I've got nothing to say or I've lost interest in saying it -- it's that I do not work in a place that is conducive to self-expression in this form. I lasted a scant ten months in the corporate world (and it was a college publisher, so it wasn't THAT corporate) after I graduated from college, before fleeing back to the world of bookselling, where I'd worked part time as a student. Cubicle life made me weepy and itchy and filled with loathing for self and others, and it was an incredible relief to leave it. But there are two things I do envy the office worker: privacy, and free time. Not to say they don't work hard -- I know many do. But there's a difference between working at your desk to edit a manuscript, and being available to customers every minute of the day. Even if I do have a long-t

Chronicle: The NAIBA 2005 Fall Trade Show

So last weekend I went to the fall trade show of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, held in the beautiful (gah) Tropicana in Atlantic City. Not being a gambler, I have the usual appalled reaction to people who don't look like they can afford it throwing their money down machines in an imitation colonial port where the light never changes. Worse than the fake insides of the giant casino/hotels – or just bad in a complimentary way – is the outside world of Atlantic City: boarded up storefronts, pawn shops, by-the-hour hotels, and the inevitably jaded Jitney bus drivers. The boardwalk I do like – its cheerful seediness reminds me of Coney Island – but the rest of the city depresses the heck out of me. I actually saw one giant used-book-store-slash-antique-shop on the bus ride to the hotel, but I've never heard of the independent bookstores of Atlantic City. Certainly none were represented at the show. At the show itself, however – in our set of meeting and

First Installment: My Overenthusiasm

Here's the thing: I struggle with the dichotomy of hipness when it comes to books and bookselling and the literary world. I've spent time in publishing (trade and college), literary agenting, book reviewing, and independent bookselling on both large and small scales, and I've been reading since before I could pronounce my "r"s, so I know a lot of books and authors and folks in the biz. I work now in a well-established bookstore in New York City, the throbbing center of the American publishing industry. I've gone to posh author dinners and shaken hands with big name authors and I know the buzz on books that will be published six months from now. So that makes me kind of hip, I guess, in my very small world. But I suffer from that killer of coolness, overenthusiasm. I am so crazy about literature that authors are my rock stars: I speculate about their lives, get all goofy when they're around, talk endlessly about their influences and comparative merits. I co