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Showing posts from April, 2008

Friday miscellany: Make your plans...

Read through for some random interesting links, or scroll to the end for a special invitation for NYC booksellers... * The L.A. Times has a cool article on the future of physical/electronic books , from the perspective of some rare books librarians, with some ideas after my own heart: "Our library is very heavily used," said director Judith Nadler. "The digital and the print-based will continue to coexist. We don't want the electronic instead of the book. We want the electronic and the book." * The New York Observer has taken on the ambitious task of picking the Brooklyn Literary 100 : the most important figures in the Brooklyn literary community, including authors, publishers, editors, etc. (What I like about the map is that it also points out the bookish places in Brooklyn, including bookstores and coffee shops). It's obviously a tad arbitrary, but not enough so for New York Magazine , which has taken the Observer 's list and edited it down to

Book Communities (Happy World Book Day!)

Just a reminder for the book nerds of New York: in celebration of World Book Day or Book & Lovers Day, today from 5 to 8 is the impromptu World Book Party is happening at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park. I'll be working at the bookstore, but if you're free, show up with a book to swap, and make a friend. Speaking of book nerds coming together, I'm launching a new little experiment in social networking. I've now joined three book sites: Shelfari , Goodreads , and LibraryThing . If you want to befriend me, you can find me as "booknerdnyc" on all three sites. I've loaded up just the books I've read this year (Shelfari has more, as I've been a member there longer). I'm weighing my impressions of all three sites for a future writeup here. And it's also good practice for me to start keeping better track of what I've read. I plan to seriously start doing some book reviewing around here pretty soon. And I'd also

Link-Mad Monday: Good Days

I was at the New York Comic Con on Friday (hence my lack of posting), to appear on a panel on "Helping Bookstores Buy and Shelve Comics for KIDS". Since it was industry-only hours, there were about as many folks on the panel as in the audience, and I probably learned more from my fellow panelists than I really contributed. Still, it was a good conversation... and it meant I got a nice speaker badge so I could wander the floor of Comic Con for free. It was still a bit too early for the Storm Troopers and Power Girls to be strutting their stuff, so I had a much milder experience than last year . But still, I: -got an awesome slap bracelet from Ari at Del Rey Manga -caught up with the incomparable Gina Gagliano at First Second -talked with the Oni Press guys about the trade edition of Local by Brian Wood -picked up a catalog with action figures from The Warriors -got some cool buttons from the DC Comics booth -experience a little bit of sensory overload -- practice

I just can't help it...

... gloating a little, that is, over this tidbit in Shelf Awareness: "Following a rise of 4.7% in January, bookstore sales in February surged 11.4% to $1.1 billion from $1 billion in February 2007, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales rose 6.7% to $3.4 billion. By comparison, total retail sales in February rose 6.9% to $314.7 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales were up 5.8% to $627.8 billion. Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales."

Books on the Nightstand, Book Nerd on Epiphanies

I'm deeply immersed in a fact-finding mission this morning -- gathering contact names and emails for every bookstore in the five boroughs, in hopes of getting a critical mass of us together to talk about forming some sort of alliance/association/co-op/cabal/something. I'm working with the awesome Kelly Amabile at Book Culture and our respective bosses -- more details to come. (And if you're an NYC bookseller and you want in, you could email me to make it easier...) So for the sake of quickness, let me just put up two links that should give you plenty of reading today. Random House sales reps extraordinaire Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman have created a blog called Books On The Nightstand -- but it's not a Random House blog. Instead, Michael and Ann have created a space to talk about all the books they love, from any publisher, both in written and podcasted form. The powers-that-be at RH have okay'ed the project, but this is all Michael and Ann, as true a p

Thursday tidbits: Surveys, World Book Day

Good ol' Max Magee at the Millions has a bit about American reading habits surveys ; a new one from polling firm Harris has found that ninety percent of Americans read at least one book last year, and over a third of those polled read 10 books or more . I'd be tempted to crow triumphantly about these numbers, but at this point it seems every survey on reading habits comes to totally different conclusions, so what do they really mean? As Max asks, "Can anything be made of these surveys other than that they are a little silly?" Still it means the nay-sayers are no more right than anybody else... (Note to self: beware of developing a catchphrase for those you disagree with. Snarks and nay-sayers may come to have the same knee-jerk resonance as feminazis or the liberal media. As I tend to mistrust anyone who uses the phrase "those people", I may need to acknowledge that there are many of diverse opinions who do not always share my own knee-jerk optimism, a

Blank spot on the map

For some combination of reasons, I'm having a week where I can't get anything done. There's so much to do that it's induced a kind of paralysis manifested in sleeping late, watching DVDs, and obsessively/apathetically web surfing, as opposed to blogging or writing or acting on the one million future bookstore items on my to-do list. My apologies for a psychic profile that's the equivalent of a blank stare at the moment. My only thought is that maybe I need a bit of down time, and nothing is going to break if I drop out for a couple of days. Hopefully I'll be up to speed next week. In the meantime, look at this , and find a copy of this -- enough beauty and complexity to keep even the blank-minded enthralled.

Friday Nips, or, The Difference Between Him and Me

The ALP and I rarely read the same books. This is both practical (because we talk about everything we read, it's like reading twice as much) and a matter of taste (mine tend toward mainstream-ish literary fiction, his toward the weirder ends of the spectrum, from tales of con men to experimental novels to mass-market horror. Go fig.) But there is occasionally some overlap, often with books that fit into more than one category. One recent example was Toby Barlow's werewolf-novel-in-free-verse, Sharp Teeth . (Check out the very cool animations on the book's website -- props to HarperCollins for a job well done). We were both intrigued. My enthusiasm for the book led to a paragraph-long staff pick . The ALP was inspired to write an exploration of experimentation in genre fiction using metaphors from evolutionary theory . I kid you not. And it's good reading. My boy's wicked smart. What's your relationship to books and your loved ones? All the same boo

The problems of (author event) abundance

One of the best parts about my job as an events coordinator is that I get to go to at least three cultural events a week, and get paid for it. One of the worst parts is that I can't go to all of the other events that are happening at the same time. Bookstores in New York have a different issue when it comes to author events than stores in most other places. For us, it's not so hard getting good authors to appear; the hard part is competing with the million other great things that are going on at the same time in the same city. Tonight (Wednesday), I'm thrilled to meet Meg Wolitzer as she reads from her new book The Ten-Year Nap -- she's one of our sharpest observers of women's lives and Western culture, and totally funny, too. But if I wasn't at my store, I'd be at Rocketship in Brooklyn for a book party with Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple for their collaboration on the new Omega The Unknown comics. Two of my favorite creators in one place!