Showing posts from January, 2007


For once I've got an afternoon flight for my trip to Portland... which means time for breakfast, lazy packing, and a quick post. The book blogging world is about to lose one of its best voices. Bookseller Chick is losing her job , as her West Coast store closes. Her posts pounded into my head the fact that chain store employees are booksellers too, and chain stores aren't immune to the tragedy of closing doors. In my opinion, few booksellers in any kind of store have the depth of insight, egalitarian spirit (i.e. romances get pride of place next to "literary" stuff), connection with both readers and authors, open-minded inquiry into why the book industry is the way it is, and skill at wryly expressing the bookstore life that this anonymous chick does. Check out her poignant postings on the closing process, and click through the archives for a wealth of conversations about books and bookstores. Hopefully, BS Chick will continue to blog about her future book world e

Pre-Winter Institute check-in; Special Report Offer!

Suddenly, the long-awaited ABA Winter Institute is upon us. I feel like I've been so busy with work and other projects that I haven't had time to really get into thinking about the WI, but now I'm leaving in two days and I'm TOTALLY excited. There's going to be so much packed into this week -- in addition to the incredible ABA educational sessions and programming , there will be meetings with Emerging Leaders, DEFINITELY a visit to the famous Powell's, and lots of authors, booksellers, and others enjoying each others' company while learning what's going to take them into the future. And maybe some BEA style parties as well?... I'll probably see many of you there -- be sure to say hi if you see a girl with her nerdy enthusiasm showing and "McNally Robinson Booksellers" on her badge. But if you're not going and you're curious, here's my offer to you: What would you like to have your Book Nerd report back from Winter Institute

Check it out: E-Commerce!

You approved it -- you got it! At long last, the fine folks at Brainiads (thanks, Max !) have hooked me up with my very own blog advertising. Right under my profile you'll see a rotating lineup of reader-friendly advertisements for stuff you, the readers, might actually be interested in. Click through and your Book Nerd might make a penny or two. Let me know what you think!

Contest Tip-Off; Reviews #51 and 52 (of 2006); Bonus: The Book That Changed My Life

Heads up: the Litblog Co-Op not only has a great interview with Valerie Trueblood, author of SEVEN LOVES, but we've got a little contest going on as well, with copies of the book as swag. Two inquiries: know a novel where a minor relationship is the key to the plot? and a novel with an unconventional structure? You describe yours, and best comments win a book. Come on! You know you've got some! (As a member I can't enter, and I've got the book, but... Cloud Atlas, anyone?) As for the reviews: I know I'm pushing it with fitting these books into my last year's total but reviewing them this late in January, and it doesn't necessarily speak well for this year's total. Truth be told, I'm not resolving a book total this year. I'm getting married, darnit, and planning a bookstore to boot, and if I find myself reading under 50 titles, you'll know the reason why. I'll still talk about those I do read (and hear about) here -- no worries. R

Link-Mad Monday: Awards galore, Blog Roundup

I was too overbooked to attend the announcement party at Housing Works Used Book Cafe (which really has an awesome event lineup) on Saturday night, but the National Book Critics Circle has announced their award finalists; you can see the list here . If many of these look familiar, I think that's as it should be; the award is given to books that have received critical acclaim from NBCC members, so you've probably already read their glowing reviews. Did anyone read this story in the NY Times a couple weeks ago? It's like American Idol (or maybe Project Greenlight) for writers: authors submit a manuscript, the online "audience" votes, and the winner gets a book contract with Simon & Schuster. I have mixed feelings -- is this mob rule by internet Philistines, shameless publisher pandering in a search for readers, or the new digital populism in response to outdated publishing traditions? -- but I'm curious to see how it goes. I've accumulated an inbox-

Wednesday Catch-Up: Linkage, Day of ABA

Time gets away from one, doesn't it? Out of respect for your schedules which I'm sure are as busy as mine, let's do fun links first, then some chronicle reading. Link Madness - The Lit-Blog Co-Op has announced the winner of the Winter Read This! selection : the highly praised but sadly under-read novel WIZARD OF THE CROW by N'gugi wa Thiong'o! It's a meaty, surreal, hilarious, challenge of a novel, and the conversation promises to be a good one. In the meantime, the next few weeks on the LBC will be devoted to the discussions of the two runners-up: SEVEN LOVES by Valerie Trueblood and DEMON THEORY by Stephen Graham Jones. They're all irresistably interesting, if not universally beloved, so stop by the LBC website and take in the smarty-pants book club conversation, and even add your own two cents. - My boss sent me a link to this article in the New York Sun . The often-conservative paper has a surprising article covering indie bookstore openings in th

Slight Delay; Airplane Reading Poll

Sorry, WN readers -- I had to go out of town unexpectedly for a funeral, and I'm just back and getting off to a slow start this week. Check back Wednesday for a full report on ABA meetings (minus the "strictly confidential" stuff I can't tell ya), book reviews, and other doings. I'm slightly ashamed to report that on the plane I read half of a book I should have finished ages ago, and two brainless girl magazines, as is my wont. Question to the readership: what's your idea of a perfect airplane read?

Chronicle, Links, A Reader's Year

A lot to cram in today, because this Wednesday (typical posting day) is a day of ABA. In the morning I will have the honor of participating in the Author Selection Committee for Book Expo America -- examining, along with other booksellers, the list of authors submitted by publishers (strictly confidentially!) as potential speakers and participants in BEA 2006 to be held in New York in June. Then in the afternoon, I'll be part of the first first ABA DTF -- the American Booksellers Association Digital Task Force. This will be a group of forward-looking booksellers taking a look at all those technological developments that occupy our minds, and figuring out ways that independent booksellers can take advantage of them and develop along with them. I'll give you my full report on those meetings next Monday. In the meantime... with the dozens of independent bookstore closings in the news, have you ever wondered how many independent bookstores OPENED in 2006? Ninety-seven . That&

D'oh! Email screwup

Holy Cow. It has just now come to my attention that when I got my shiny new Mac, not all of my email accounts followed me from my old computer. So if you have emailed Book Nerd in the last month and have been puzzled and hurt by my lack of response, I've just gotten your email in my inbox, along with about 150 others. I'll respond as I can. Sorry for the technological screw-up -- I am a print media person, after all.

Wednesday reflections: Three owners, three perspectives on bookstores and loss

This should be the post where I list all the great books I've read in the past year, and rhapsodize about the great things in store for books and the book industry in the coming year. But I have to admit my enthusiasm and energy are at a bit of an ebb tide at the moment. Maybe it's post-holiday letdown (and our store had a wonderful, exhausting, expectation-exceeding holiday). Maybe it's that my energy has been drained by a too-long wrestle with the flu. Maybe it's just that Mercury is retrograde, as one bookstore customer always insisted was the cause when things were going wrong. It's an easy time to get to feeling down. There are plenty of stories going around about the number of bookstores closed this year, or about to close. Interestingly, the New York Times has in-depth pieces about three of those closing stores: Coliseum, Micawber Books, and Murder Ink / Ivy's. I find the words of the proprietors of each of those stores rather illuminating regardi