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Showing posts from September, 2006

Link-Mad Wednesday: Action in the Blogosphere

Coupla links -- 'cause it's been a long time. Larry Portzline at the Bookstore Tourism blog has a thoughtful review of the documentary film about independent bookstores that's been causing a lot of buzz (in our little world). Jacob Bricca's "Indies Under Fire: The Battle for the American Bookstore" tells the story of the pitched battle between Borders and independents in the Bay Area. Hopefully we can bring a screening of the documentary to a New York book industry audience sometime soon, perhaps through Emerging Leaders; Larry's review makes it sound like a fascinating conversation starter. Bookseller Chick (who is SO good with the posts and links; how, how do you find the time?) had a little guest blog series recently, including former bookseller David De Beer on "The (Gradually Changing) Bookstore Environment". His insights into indie bookstore customers' resistance to change (at least shocking, overnight change) were eye-opening and yet

Guest Speaker: Libba Bray: Ode to Independent Booksellers

On September 17, 2006, at the Breakfast of Champions at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, author Libba Bray received NAIBA's award for Best Young Adult Book of the publishing year for her novel REBEL ANGELS. Her acceptance speech, titled "Ode to Independent Booksellers," brought waves of applause and dozens of requests for copies. Bray, who worked at an independent bookstore as a teenager in Texas, has given me permission to reprint her speech here. Please forgive me for running two guest posts in a row; I wanted to share this wonderful speech while it is still fresh. Ode to Independent Booksellers Independent booksellers rock. They are a cup of black coffee, straight up no chaser, in a half-caf-vanilla-hazelnut-with-whipped cream kind of world. When you walk up to independent booksellers and say, with deepest apologies, “I’m looking for this new book about the Victorian era and I can’t remember the author’s

Guest Blogger: Confessions Of A Former Genre Snob

Today's guest blogger is Lady T: reader, former bookseller and author of the blog living read girl . The opinions expressed here are hers. Register your agreement, disagreement or further thoughts on this subject in the comments. Let's get a conversation going. Confessions of a Former Genre Snob Before I begin this talk about literary genres and how they're perceived, marketed, etc, I should tell you right up front that yes, I used to look down my nose at certain ones and feel superior to those who openly bought and read such "trashy" books. The Romance section of any bookstore I treated like the part of a magazine rack where Playboys and Penthouses leered up for all to see. Even in my early bookselling days, I made the occasional joke about the Nora Roberts "book-of-the-month" club and insisted on the theory that she had an army of ghost writers at her beck and call. What changed me? Well, for one thing, I was being hypocritical. In my teens, hor

Chronicle: Book Nerd Weekend, Part 2

And now, the rest of the NAIBA trade show. Friday Okay, first the omissions. I neglected to mention that as we drifted into the dinner on Friday night, we were greeted warmly by members of the NAIBA board of directors: past president Sheilah Egan (who directs children's literacy programs now), executive director Eileen Dengler (who is not a bookseller but an incredible organizer – one of her previous jobs was putting together BEA practically single-handedly), Rob Stahl of Colgate University Bookstore (whom I apparently usurped as the youngest member of the board, and who is a great conversationalist and reader as well as fierce competitor… but more of that later), incoming past president Lynn Gonsher of Tudor Bookshop & Cafe in Kingston, and incoming president Joe Drabyak of Chester County Books & Music (who took me aside and told me that I'd made a mistake weeks earlier on this blog: I am most definitely NOT the only non-owner on the board, as Joe and Rob are both m

Comment: Upcoming Events

Wednesday Tomorrow, dear readers, I will finish the saga of the NAIBA weekend (and try to correct the mistakes I've already made). Wednesday, as I've mentioned, is my day off from the bookstore, and it may take the whole day to recall and recount the events of Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, look to Shelf Awareness and Bookselling this Week (links at right) for the lowdown on the show and other events. Friday This week will see the first in (what I hope will be) a series of Friday guest bloggers! The first installment will be a piece by Lady T of the witty and charming (and super intelligent) blog living read girl . Her topic: "Confessions of a Former Book Snob", about her complicated relationship to chicklit and other "genre" fiction. It's something I think many of us book nerds have struggled with, and I'm eager to read her take on it and talk back. And if anyone would like to write a guest post about the Brooklyn Book Festival, I'd b

Chronicle: Book Nerd Weekend, Part 1

Ah… a whole morning with nothing to do but blog (though I do still have some unpacking to do, and I promised the ALP to make up for the piles of books I've been bringing home lately by going through the bookshelves and pulling some for giveaway… always a mildly painful task). A lot has happened in the last four days or so, so I'm giving ya a day-by-day, play-by-play rundown. Go get some popcorn during the commercial breaks, feel free to skip over the boring parts, and sit back for a Book Nerd weekend. Thursday night: Emerging Leaders Night Out, Brooklyn Book Festival Style We had over 115 RSVP's for Thursday night's ELNO, so Steve Colca, my (former bookseller/current W. W. Norton publicity maven) co-conspirator, and I were pretty psyched. We'd done a lot of prep sending invites and contacting publishers and other organizations to help make the event great. And man, those publishers and reps really came through! Huge thank-you's to Karen Rice from Random Hous

Comment/Chronicle: Bye, See Ya Later...

I've spent the morning recovering from last night's ELNO at Union Hall -- curse that nice waitress and her ever-flowing supply of drinks. =) It was so awesome to see and talk to everyone -- hoping to give you a full rundown, with a few pics, very soon. But now I'm on my way to the bus station to hie myself to the NAIBA trade show. Looking forward to seeing old friends, learning, picking up swag -- all that good stuff. Have a great weekend -- go to the Brooklyn Book Festival on Saturday -- I'll tell you all the stories as soon as I get back!

Comment: Brooklyn & Its Discontents

Amidst the post-primary news in the New York Region section of the Times today, there's a witty and bitter little article by Sara Gran about the downside of the Brooklyn literary scene. I live most of the year in the South now. But I come back to Brooklyn often, and when I do, I stay with my parents in Park Slope because I can’t afford to stay elsewhere. I love Mother and Dad, but I would prefer to stay anywhere else. Park Slope is a neighborhood almost exclusively populated by writers; to be specific, writers who are better than I am, are more well known than I am and sell more books than I do. I sympathize. Her description of being a writer born in Brooklyn reminds me of the church I grew up in. Even though I'd been going there literally since before I was born, I wasn't one of the cool kids in the youth group, and no one ever seemed to notice or remember me. People were always kindly introducing themselves, when I'd been seeing them in the same room for years. G

Link-Mad Monday: Odds & Ends

A bit of stuff I've been reading and thinking about. *** Robert Gray, one the booksellers I most respect, wrote in Shelf Awareness the other day about visions for bookstore websites . It's another insightful take on the whole issue of selling online as a bricks and mortar indie store, and what makes that work or not. Looks like Robert's got a new gig these days: working part time at The Book House in Albany , as well as continuing in the good offices of Fresh Eyes Now . It's good to count him among our ranks. *** Bookseller Chick deserves some love. From her recent post on the difficulties of hiring good booksellers for chain stores: "And let’s face it, a certain amount of prestige comes from working at an Indie. You work at an Indie and it says that you’re book people. You love books. You’re sacrificing for your medium. You work at a chain store doing the best job you can and chances are that once a week you’ll be asked a.) why aren’t working at the Indie i

Comment: The Costs of the Bookish Life

Today, among other things, I am working on writing a story about a visit to the doctor in the voice of a 12-year-old boy. (As if I have any idea what that's like.) I'm entering names and emails into a database. And I'm emailing frantically, making dates and setting up meetings with people I barely know and with people I need to ask about those people. It makes for some strangely schizophrenic moments, trying to keep all these projects straight. But really, they're all part of the one big project of making a living doing what I love. I do freelance writing so I can pay the bills (and save for a wedding) while making a bookseller's salary. I'm compiling RSVPs for the Emerging Leaders Night Out because I think building our literary community is important, because I want to raise the profile of booksellers in the New York literary landscape, and because I know I'm going to rely on these folks throughout my bookselling career. (And because it makes our jobs fu

Comment: Get Lit 2006

I've never, ever pasted a press release as a blog post, but read this one and tell me if I'm wrong. It's Brooklyn, it's literature in performance, it's supporting literacy, and it's guerilla marketed directly to bloggers. I tend to think these folks may be some kind of geniuses -- or if not, they're my kind of crazy idealists. Take a look, and come out on September 10 if you can. I'll be there too, Lord willing and the creek don't rise (as my mom, who was my own force for literacy, used to say). TWO DOLLAR RADIO AND VOID MAGAZINE ANNOUNCE "GET LIT 2006" Free event to feature music and literature, benefiting local literacy nonprofit Behind the Book BROOKLYN, NY – August 31, 2006 – Two Dollar Radio and VoidMagazine.com announced today GET LIT 2006, a free concert and literary event to be held on September 10, 2006, at Northsix (66 North 6th St.) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In celebration of International Literacy Weekend, proceeds fr