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Showing posts from June, 2008

Link-Mad Thursday: Futurebook

Listening to NPR this morning I had a little jolt: they were talking about the intersection of the internet and books, but not from a book industry point of view. As part of an ongoing series on the effects the internet has had on the culture of China, this piece highlights the growth of Chinese online publishing : chapters selling for a few cents each. It's not political writing, but mysteries and romance that are breaking out of the traditional, party-run publishing mold. And it's mostly young writers, as you'd expect. The kicker? All those kids publishing online really just want to get into print. There is some good news for people who like actual books made of paper. Fu and most other Chinese writers still want to see their books in print. Happily for them, publishers increasingly look to the Internet to find the most popular books. City of Books, Shanghai's largest book store, takes up six stories, and more and more, books that first showed up on the Internet

"One moment you are reading sleepily, the next you wake up with messy hair and a strange taste in your mouth."

My coworker and buddy Dustin has a hilarious post on our new McNally Robinson blog, The Common Reader , about an activity he seems to have invented (or at least named): the Booknap . Check it out for a full explanation of the technicalities of the form, along with illuminating pictures of Dustin in various booknappish poses, and getting his eye poked by William Vollmann. I feel Dustin would hate the word whimsical to describe anything he's written, but it's given me that sort of delight on a random Tuesday afternoon.

Link-Mad Monday: New York Bookstores

My buddy David Del Vecchio is rocking it at his brand new bookstore in Chelsea: Idlewild Books ! Not only did the store get a shout out in Boing Boing (the pinnacle of blog fame), it's hosting some fantastic events , and recently got a Book Buddies analysis from NAIBA , which proved what I suspected: David's already doing a lot of things right. I haven't gotten a chance to visit the store since it was in the buildout phase -- can't wait to stop in. Go by, say hi to David, and shop! Also, I heard a rumor that DARE Books in Fort Greene is closing. Their online site doesn't say anything -- anyone know the deal here? And at McNally Robinson tonight, I get the rare treat of hosting an author whose book I read and loved: Toby Barlow with Sharp Teeth . As I've mentioned , it's one of the few books the ALP and I both enjoyed (too bad he has to miss the reading tonight, but a Deacon's work is never done). The reading is at 7 -- join me if you can for al

BEA Recap #3: Green Education (and a new project)

It's one of those crazy days for me today (as opposed to all of the totally sane days that happen at other times, to other people... who am I kidding?) But as promised, I want to recap the ABA Day of Education, particularly the Green portions. It will be short, though. There was so much on offer at the DOE this year, and I wish I'd gotten to more. During one session I was serving on my own Graphic Novels Panel. I started out at the "Managing Blockbuster Events" panel, but was made unable to take it in by a migraine-grade headache (brought on by too much coffee, too little water, and too much hotel air conditioning, I think). I came back for the Loss Control panel, which was useful, but mostly stuff we've figured out (if not implemented) at my store already. Which leaves the Green Retailing panel. Luckily, intrepid reporter Karen Schechner has written up the whole thing for Bookselling This Week - so you can read her capable recap instead of mine. But ther

BEA Recap #3: Emerging Leaders

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Okay, I'm totally cheating with today's post on Emerging Leaders activities at BEA. But since Jenn Northington already gathered our copious notes into a coherent email update, why reinvent the wheel? The eight of us (minus Caroline, whose participation fell victim to some phone call incompetence on our part) sat around a table on Wednesday for about four hours, hashing out where we want to take this organization that's done so much so far. I was totally inspired by the energy and creativity of my fellow council members, and we did everything we set out to do: revisit our goals, make concrete plans, and assign tasks. Here's the email we just sent to our the EL mailing list with the recap (italics are my additions) * * * After a rousing Council meeting (not to mention a killer party - see pics at the bottom! ) at BEA, Emerging Leaders is back on track! With a revamped Mission and some new Council Members, we couldn't wait to share our plans with you. Introducing

Attention, please

Some good ideas only work if people are aware of them. Two examples, wildly differing in importance: 1) Stimulating Reading is still in effect - click here for my explanation of the project, by which you translate the controversial "stimulus payments" into real economic impact by helping me to create a local independent bookstore. I know lots of us haven't gotten our stimulus checks yet -- and in this economic climate we may be needing them for necessities. But if you've got some to spare -- or, if you've got time and link love to spare in spreading the word -- well, support ! You'll be rewarded with good swag, and the irreplaceable feeling of doing something good in the world. 2) Indra Sinha , the author of the well-reviewed novel Animal's People about a chemical disaster in Bhopal, is putting his money where his mouth is. Dow Chemical, which owns the pesticide plant where a toxic gas leak killed thousands and continues to contaminate water and

Wait, don't go away!

I have to run to an appointment this morning, but I promise more about Emerging Leaders and greening the book industry at BEA on Friday. If you're on our EL mailing list (you can sign up here ), you should be receiving a recap of our activities from the illustrious Jenn Northington any minute now, so I'll let you read that first. In the meantime, hooray for last night's rainstorm bringing the temperature in NYC down a few notches. I watched the rain from a second-floor restaurant dining room, where my fellow booksellers and I were enjoying one of the great perks of our job: a publisher dinner. Random House author Michael Greenberg, whose memoir Hurry Down Sunshine pubs this September, was the guest of honor, and the evening was a delight. Watching sheets of rain push across the stones of Crosby Street, I suddenly thought about how much I love living in the city. What's your recent moment of secret delight?

Joan Silber's The Size of the World

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I've been thinking for a long time I'd like to do more talking about books around here, as well as talking about the book industry. I have the perfect place to start this week, as my buddy Steve at W. W. Norton asked if I would write about one of the best novels I've read recently. Below is what I sent to him -- perhaps less a review than a love letter for one of my very favorite contemporary authors. The Size of the World goes on sale today, and you can see Joan Silber reading at McNally Robinson on June 17. * * * THE SIZE OF THE WORLD By Joan Silber (W. W. Norton, June 2008, $23.95 hardcover) I honestly think Joan Silber is one of the most under-rated writers in America (even after her National Book Award finalist nod). Perhaps her voice is both too calm and too ambitious for critics accustomed to histrionic Great (Male) Novelists… but don’t quote me on that. To tell not just one life story, but over half a dozen, in first-person voices both precisely distinct and u

BEA Recap Part II: The Graphic Novel Scene

Like birthdays, I think BEA should just go on and on... so my coverage will continue throughout this week. Graphic novels were a bigger deal at BEA 2008 than they've ever, ever been before. There's been buzz about this crazy new category for several years, but this year comics really came into their own; they didn't need to apologize, they owned the show. It started for me at our Emerging Leaders party on Wednesday night, when I met comics icon/guru Scott McCloud , who opened all our eyes with Understanding Comics and has continued to expound upon the format with humor and erudition. He signed my copy of Making Comics provided by HarperCollins, and by the time I wandered away to continue mingling he and Diamond rep John Shableski (who blogs as The Graphic Novels Guy on Buzz, Balls, and Hype) were both talking a mile a minute about their mutual passion. (Diamond, if you don't know them yet, is the biggest distributor of comics to comic shops and bookstores -- th

BEA Recap Part 1: IndieBound!

I got back from California on Tuesday night, and haven't had a moment to blog since then -- you know how it is. But I'm overflowing with stuff to tell you from Book Expo, so it'll have to take several posts. Part I today will be about the new ABA initiative, which is already getting talked about so much I want to put in my two cents ASAP. Part II will be about the graphic novel scene at BEA; Part III about the Emerging Leaders Project (and other party-related topics), and Part IV about green retailing (and other education-related topics). I hope you'll hold me to that, so I don't let these ride until I've forgotten what I wanted to say... INDIEBOUND ! As promised, Thursday night at the Celebration of Bookselling the ABA unveiled the initiative that they've been hinting about for months. After a swanky canape/cocktail reception and some awards and accolades for booksellers and publishers, the big Oscar-style screens at our Hollywood hotel ballroom play