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Showing posts from December, 2006

Comment: Year-End Limbo

So the store is still busy, somehow. Lots of tourists in the city this season. And I'm working make-up shifts because of my vacation in CA. And I've picked up that ugly bug that's going around, so my brain is fuzzy and mucus-y anyway. So you'll probably have to wait until the new year to read my Best of 2006, which guarantees it'll all get in there anyway. In the meantime, have a Very Happy New Year, and I'll be back in 2007!

Link-Mad Wednesday: Pre-Christmas Edition

Sorry about missing Link-Mad Monday; we're having a (thankfully) very busy holiday at the bookstore, with mountains of boxes to unpack every day, a constant stream of customers with requests, questions, and piles of purchases, and lots (I mean LOTS) of giftwrapping. It's all pretty joyous, except for the occasional nervous breakdown, usually remedied with a Mental Health Break (MHB) and some cookies or coffee (LOTS of coffee). Check out "'Tis The Week Before Christmas" by Janet Potter of Brookline & Wellesley Booksmiths in Massachusetts in today's Shelf Awareness for a taste of the flavor of Christmas week in an indie bookstore. I've got a day to rest up, make Christmas cookies and finish up those last mix CDs (my perennial gift to family and friends, along with books, of course), and to draw your attention to some items in the news, several of which relate to the ongoing conversation about indie bookstores and community. Russ Lawrence, one of th

Comment: New York Bookstores Need A Miracle

When my buddies in publishing and I decided to try to adapt the Emerging Leaders project of the American Booksellers Association to the New York area, it seemed like a perfect fit. The idea was to get the young people from the publishing community and the young people from the bookselling community together, informally networking and getting to know each other so that we could work toward the future of the book industry. But we ran into a problem I didn’t expect. The New York bookselling community doesn’t seem to exist. We’ve estimated (generously) that about 15% of the attendees at our Emerging Leaders Nights Out have been from bookstores, with all the rest from publishing houses or literary agencies. Almost no booksellers have attended more than once. And our invite emails to the “general” address of many, many local bookstores have gone almost universally unanswered. It's not from a lack of bookstores; I have a list of over 50 independents in the greater metro area that a

Link-Mad Monday, plus book reviews

SERIOUSLY back in action! I downloaded Firefox and everything seems to be working beautifully in blog-land (thanks John T., our indefatigable store factotum, for the advice). And after a super-lovely birthday weekend (our rather literary dinner and a movie were very satisfactory, and we did some local Christmas shopping), it's time to get back to business. Want to know the books indie bookstores sold this year? Check out the ABA's beautiful poster of Booksense Bestselling Books of 2006 , for reading or downloading. It's super-satisfying to be a bookseller at the holidays, because customers are more willing than usual to take you up on that passionate book recommendation, for themselves or their giftees. But it still ain't easy. Douglas Dutton of Dutton's Books in Beverly Hills and Brentwood, CA, reflects on the recommendation in this charming and illuminating article on the bookseller's craft in the Los Angeles Times. You may have noticed me mentioni

Chronicle: Milton, Harris, Trumbo, Nerd

According to this website , December 9 is the birthday of Joel Chandler Harris (creator of Uncle Remus, now sadly verboten un-PC teller of African-American folktales), Dalton Trumbo (author of JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN and famously McCarthy blacklisted screenwriter) and good ol' John Milton (you know, that poem about heaven and stuff?) It also happens to be the birthday of one small NYC bookseller. Twenty-eight somehow feels like a much more rounded, mature age than 27 -- I guess it's all those even divisors. I'm way older than Milton was when he wrote that birthday sonnet (23), but younger than Trumbo when he wrote JOHNNY (34). Anyway, I'm celebrating very sophisticatedly with fancy dinner and an art film with the ALP, and later this week having some folks over for some decidedly immature Christmas cookie decorating. This week will also see the venerable 31st birthday of the ALP, who shares his natal anniversary with John Greenleaf Whittier and Ford Madox Ford. Thanks to

Links, Books, Madness!

At last, it's just me and my beautiful iMac by the light of a (finally) lit screen, with all of these lovely links for something to do. Now, of course, Blogger is giving me trouble -- I hope I can work around it, but the extra time and the demands of the never-ending World Outside means this may not be the extensive post I'd hoped for. I hope you all somehow managed to amuse yourself in my absence -- I've been gratified to read your responses to my queries, especially the responses to the prompt "To me, books are..." You can read responses to the same question from Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Lemony Snicket, Susane Somers (?), and, um, yours truly in Forbes Special Report on Books . Thanks to my buddy Dave at Forbes who thought there should be a bookseller's reponse in there, I'm on a list with people I imagine my name will never be joined with again. Fun! And there's lots more in this issue of the Forbes online magazine -- I'

"To me, books are..."

Just one more day, o faithful readers, and I'll be back in action! I finally lugged my lemon of an Apple to the Mac store, and of course the kind folks replaced it immediately -- I've just got to wait until tomorrow for them to transfer all my files, and then I'll be in business at home. There is literally no time to blog (or at least to do links) here at the store, unfortunately, which sucks because there are LOTS of exciting things to link to and talk about. I'll be back ASAP, I promise! In the meantime, here's your reader question, which will make more sense when I give you the link madness soon. Complete this sentence: "To me, books are..." Looking forward to reading your answers!