Showing posts from January, 2008

Media for the Big Win; Dream Bookshops

So my win of the $15,000 PowerUp! Award for my bookstore business plan got written up in the Daily News yesterday , complete with photo of me with a goofy grin on my face (high on endorphins, as John T. surmised). I know the word got passed around at Winter Institute in Louisville, too. Thank you so, so much to all of your for your congratulations and your support. Got ideas, suggestions, thoughts? Email me, for goodness' sake -- I'd love to hear from you! (Forgive me if it's mercenary to mention it again, but the one thing still standing between me and opening the bookstore doors is capital -- I'm looking for grants, loans, or any other creative means of pulling it all together, so if you have any suggestions in that regard, I'll probably be interested.) Anyway, the congratulations keep coming -- from friends and strangers, many of whom think I should open the bookstore in their Brooklyn neighborhood! It's fantastic to know there are so many folks longi

Link-Mad Monday: WI3 and "the reading business"

Welcome home from Winter Institute, booksellers! From all I've heard already, this year in Louisville was just as invigorating a session as last year in Portland. Here's where you can find out more: The lovely Lori Kauffman of Brookline Booksmith was live blogging from WI3 on her blog, Brookline Blogsmith ; check it out for some impressions of Danny Meyer's opening presentation on hospitality vs. service, Gary Hirschberg's bit on saving the world while making a living, some bookseller/librarian conspiring, and Lori's pick of the galleys. And I suspect there's more to come -- the intensity of the programming can make it impossible to find time to blog, so sometimes it's all about the recap afterward. Dan Cullen of the ABA was also live blogging on the ABA blog, Omnibus , and has posted exhaustive coverage of the whole thing, Thursday to Saturday, plus lots of pictures. Dan humbly admits the difficulty of finding time or a single perspective on a weekend

Chronicle: Brooklyn Business Library PowerUp! Business Plan Competition Awards Ceremony

Um, I won. I actually had a very productive day at work yesterday -- I finished writing up descriptions of upcoming events for February, posted author photos on the website, responded to a number of event requests to tame my overflowing inbox, worked the cash register and answered some customer questions, and even pulled some returns from the interior design section. A good day in the life of a bookseller. I felt content in my life as it is, not filled with longing or anxiety, and just a little excited that at 5:15 I was going to put on my good shoes and go down to the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Library for a swanky awards ceremony and some snacks. Everyone at the bookstore knew I was going to the business plan awards ceremony , and I got lots of "good luck"s as I went out the door. The ALP was waiting for me in the reading room -- we spend half of our Saturdays at the Central Library anyway so it wasn't hard to find him. The awards ceremony was held downstairs in the


So much going on there's just not enough time for everything! I'm working some extra hours at the bookstore this week because some of our staff will be gone at the ABA Winter Institute . It looks like a fantastic program this year -- I'll be thinking of all of you who are there! (And if you're going and feel like writing up your experiences, I'd love to have some guest bloggers about WI3 on Written Nerd -- send me an email if you're interested.) Wednesday evening is the awards ceremony for the Brooklyn Public Library's PowerUp! business plan competition -- the ALP and I will be there to hear the winners announced. I'm looking forward to seeing what great businesses are being planned in Brooklyn, and getting some feedback on my bookstore plan... so send some good vibes my way if you think about it. I've got some new writing assignments lately -- I'll let you know when there's something to read, but I don't want to jinx myself by promi

Data: Happy Days Are Here Again!

Okay, I really intended to try to write up some book reviews today (it's been a long time, have you noticed?) -- but that may have to wait until next week, as time is of the essence as usual. But I can't resist pulling this data from today's Shelf Awareness: Bookstore sales in November were $1.186 billion, up 7.5% from $1.103 billion in sales in November 2006, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have been $14.654 billion, up 0.8% from $14.532 billion in the first 11 months of 2006. This marks the fifth month in a row that bookstore sales were up over the same period last year--and the second month in a row that year-to-date sales have topped last year's comparable figures. Okay, it's a small increase, and a short-term trend. But it does seem to me to challenge the idea that things are just eternally spiraling downward for the book industry, and especially for bookstores. Note that "under Censu

Link-Mad Monday: New Year, New Bookstores!

You may have already seen this, but the ABA has officially announced that 115 new independent bookstores opened in 2007 ! Apparently, it's the third year in a row that we've seen over 100 new store openings. You can look here for the full list of new stores -- -- there may be a new indie store near you. I found 4 of them just in the five boroughs of New York -- woo hoo! I'll have to update my own ongoing list of local indies, which is currently pushing 70 -- I love to pull it out whenever anyone laments the fact that there are "no more independent bookstores" in New York, and we often use it at my bookstore to refer customers looking for something specific. Now they've got even more options. And more folks are discovering that's the case. In the Huffington Post last week, Michelle Haimoff writes about seven great New York indie bookstores , which she calls "The Secret New York Alternative to Barnes & Noble." McNally Robinson gets a

Bookstore Blogs On the Rise

New year, time to update the ol' Blogger template, eh? In his December 26 post , fellow bookseller/blogger P.J. Grath muses "Is there a bookseller alive who can resist books recounting the experiences of other booksellers?" It seems the same is true of blogs. I've realized that my Google reader is increasingly populated with blogs by booksellers, and that they tend to be some of my preferred reading. In spite of many great blogs focused on a specifc genre, on developments in the book world, on the reading of a particular person or group of people, I find that more and more I want to read about fellow booksellers in the trenches. Those blogs tend to include reviews and news, but also stuff about the daily retail life. I'm feeling irresistibly warm and fuzzy thinking about this little community of us. So I've added a whole new category to my links on the right: Bookseller Blogs. These are just the few that I tend to read on a regular basis. Kash's Boo

Link-Mad Monday: Anthologies for Good (Brooklyn) Causes

Naturally, I've had my eye on Brooklyn Was Mine , an anthology of essays by Brooklyn writers on the borough of dreams. I'd planned to ask for a reading copy, as usual, but actually, I think I'll buy it. I hadn't realized that proceeds from the book are going to Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn , the non-profit that's fighting the crazy, terrible, eminent-domain Ratner development of the Atlantic Yards (thanks to GalleyCat for the heads up). The Fort Greene Courier has more about the book, and about several readings with contributors happening in the next week or two to raise money and awareness. (Just for the record and because I'm even more steamed about it now, I tried hard to set up a reading at my bookstore for the anthology, but by the time the publicists at Penguin responded to my multiple queries, it was way too late to set a date.) Coincidentally, I'm currently working through another anthology that benefits a Brooklyn nonprofit. The Book

Thank You, and a gift

I just want to say thanks to all of those who have responded -- in comments, in emails, on the phone, and in person -- to my r ather sad end-of-the-year post , and who have said, in essence, Buck Up. Reading's not in decline... you've done so much already... a bookstore is worth waiting for... you'll do it someday... etc. You're all awesome. Your enthusiasm and optimism, and your confidence in me, is like fuel to a fire. It's so good to have that encouragement -- better even than money. Aside from finally getting over a lingering stomachache I had over New Year's, your comments are the only thing to which I can attribute getting out of the blue funk I've been in. I'm excited again, and ready to roll up my sleeves. I've just rediscovered an old favorite, Arts & Letters Daily , that great clearinghouse for the ideas being tossed about in the world, and I'm adding it to my Google homepage. Serendipitously enough, today there's a link to

Reading habits, pre- and post- film age

Just when I needed a bit of cheering up about the ol' "decline of reading" hobbyhorse, my friend Mark sent me this great bit of opinion from John McWhorter's column in the New York Sun: America in 1907 read more than most of us. But did America of 1907 read smarter than us? Transported back to America in 1907, would we savor a book culture less dumbed down than ours? Well, let's take a look at the bestselling fiction of 1907. All 10 were potboilers unknown today. The top seller was "The Lady of the Decoration" by one Frances Little. Others on the list included the likes of "The Port of Missing Men" and "Half a Rogue." Sounds a lot like the mass market portion of the New York Times Bestseller list, eh? At least in paperback fiction we've got Atonement and Water For Elephants (which started out on the BookSense bestseller list , a compilation of sales just from indie bookstores, that tends to be decidedly more "literary&