Showing posts from May, 2008

Updates Galore, then off to BEA!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and perhaps my last chance to blog for a little while, so allow me to lay some updates and anticipations on you. Brooklyn Bookstore I received my PowerUp! check for $15,000 in the mail sometime last week, so yesterday I visited my new friend Juan at a great local/national bank about 20 minutes away. As he and I had discussed previously, I opened a small business money market account with the prize money, which will also be the depository for other funds raised. And he gave me the paperwork to fill out for a great big (to me) small business loan application. I'm hoping to get that in by mid-June, at the same time as I'm looking for retail spaces. In the meantime, I've made some other great business friends: the Retail Committee of the fabulous Fort Greene Association . It turns out that the beautiful, developing neighborhood of Fort Greene wants a bookstore almost as bad as I want to create one, so I'll be working with t

Monday Launch: Stimulating Reading!

As I've been hinting, I've been thinking a lot about the economic stimulus payments currently flowing into Americans' mailboxes. And thanks to the creativity of some politically-minded and tech-savvy friends, I've got a brand-new suggestion about what to do with some portion of that free money. Introducing: Stimulating Reading! Visit , and use your stimulus package to become an investor in an independent bookstore -- specifically, the one I'm creating in Brooklyn. The website will explain the details -- basically, you can choose an amount to kick in and receive some Book Nerd swag and/or buying power at the future bookstore. And using your rebate in this way is a way not only to show your support for my little literary project, but to stimulate the economy through supporting small and independent businesses . Honestly, I feel a bit presumptuous asking you to use your windfall to help create my bookstore. I don't want to twist your

A Salute to an Outer-Borough Indie

This morning I got this message in my inbox, with the return address Paperbacks Plus : An Important Letter to our Bookstore Friends: In 1970, when we first opened our doors on Riverdale Avenue, we lived in a very different world: Nixon was President; Lindsay was the mayor; the buses and subways (and even a slice of pizza!) cost just 30 cents. You have made the bookstore a wonderful and vibrant place, joining us for chats about your favorite books and special events featuring notables such as Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize winners Robert Caro and Richard Russo. So many great writers both local and worldly like Mary Higgins Clark, S.J. Rozan, Ted Conover, Thomas Cahill, Ann Packer, Pete Hamill, Chang-rae Lee, Frank and Malachy McCourt, Phyllis Chessler and Alan Dershowitz. We’ve hosted special evenings at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, The Riverdale Y, An Beal Bocht and Palombos. New York Yankee greats Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Don Zimmer, Joe Torre,

Calling All Emerging Leaders!

First things first: I want everyone to print out the top part of this post (down to the asterisks) and post it in your bookstore! (It might help to highlight the phrases "open bar" and "RSVP by May 21".) THE SECOND ANNUAL BEA EMERGING LEADERS PARTY! Who: Young Booksellers What: BEA Emerging Leaders Party Where: The Woods - 1533 N. La Brea Hollywood CA - 323.876.6612 phone / website: When: Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 7:00pm - 9:00pm (open bar from 7:00pm - 8:00pm) RSVP: Space is limited, must RSVP no later than Wednesday, May 21st at Enjoy cocktails and mix & mingle with authors for the young and hip: - Scott McCloud, author of Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991 (HarperCollins, July) - Cylin Busby , author of The Year We Disappeared: A Father - Daughter Memoir (Bloomsbury, August) - Curtis Sittenfeld, author of American Wife (Random House, September) - Diana Spechler, auth

Brooklyn Lit Life: Garth Risk Hallberg

I'm sick again today, and unable to formulate coherent thoughts on the book industry, my bookstore plans, the stimulus package, or books I'm reading (though all of those things are spinning around in my fevered dreams whenever I nap, which is often). Luckily, I've got someone more eloquent writing today. The inimitable Garth Risk Hallberg (dude, risk is his middle name!) is involved in all kinds of things literarily Brooklyn, and I'm honored to have him kick off the re-emergence of the Brooklyn Lit Life series. Please note that one of these projects, the Pacific Standard Reading Series, hosts an end-of-season reading with Brooklynites Arthur Phillips (ANGELICA) and Douglas A. Martin (BRANWELL) tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 7 PM. If you're not there, you're sicker than I am. Brooklyn Lit Life Interview Garth Risk Hallberg Describe your particular literary project, and your role in it. I've actually got three projects. The first is that I get up and write

Books, Stimulation, Expectation...

I'm told by Shelf Awareness that Redbery Books in Cable, Wisconsin, recently began using the tagline "Books: The Ultimate Stimulus Package." The phrase doesn't appear on their website, but kudos to these booksellers for thinking creatively about the IRS Economic Stimulus Payments . How better to utilize that random chunk of money (or, as my tax preparer speculated, advance on next year's refund) than by patronizing independent bookstores? I've been thinking a lot about the Stimulus Payments, too. Actually, with a little help from some very creative friends, I'm working on a little venture that offers my own alternative for using that cash in a way that has a real economic impact. The campaign should launch by early next week -- keep your eyes on this space for details. And while you're getting all anticipatory... it's totally time to look forward to BEA! Here are just two of my highlights for maximum butterflies-in-the-stomach expectation: Th

Chronicle: Jonathan Lethem & DJ Spooky, or, I Love My Job

So just disregard all of the "poor me" stuff stated or implied in Friday's post -- I have the coolest job in the world. I was a tad stressed out last week (my coworkers can testify to my unstable state), and miffed that I had to go into work Friday, my day off, to set up an offsite in the morning and host an in-store event in the evening. Thanks to an afternoon pedicure date with a girlfriend, I was feeling a bit calmer in the evening, and my trusty fellow booksellers helped me do the requisite setup: clear out the regular cafe customers, hang up the ponderous movie screen, set up the temperamental projector/computer/audio hookup, put out rows and rows of chairs. We were ready in good time, and the first of the evening's guests appeared: Jonathan Lethem. (Note: I was floored by Fortress of Solitude , and I've read everything the man has ever written on Brooklyn, as well as some of his earlier sci-fi stuff, which I also love. He's a hero, an icon.) "H


I'm sorry no posting this week. I'm up to my neck -- no, over my head -- with managing book sales for PEN World Voices Festival events, and keeping up with events in the bookstore. And I've gotten myself sick, something creeping from my head to my chest and making me even less capable of keeping on top of things. But here's a bit. The Literary Saloon has some nice reports on PEN Festival events. is suing New York State. Publishers Weekly reports on the backlash from the successful efforts by the ABA and others to enforce sales tax on online retailers with "nexus" in the state. The Wall Street Journal also has an opinionated take on the issue. Want some literary entertainment this evening? I don't know what to recommend -- you've got the Jonathan Lethem & DJ Spooky Show at McNally Robinson, or the Thomas Pynchon birthday party at the revitalized Freebird in Brooklyn. We've got audio-visual; they've got food and a fax-a