Category Archives: Uncategorized

Let’s Shelve This, Home Edition

Leslie Hawkins -- March 5th, 2018

Last year I wrote about the unique challenges of deciding how to shelve children’s books, as opposed to books for adults, when you have to take into account reading level, developmental stages, maturity of content, and other considerations right alongside genre, subject, and author’s last name. Now I’m facing a whole ‘nother shelving challenge: how to shelve my books at home.

I’ve just moved to a new apartment for the first time in a decade, which means that I’m now faced with how to shelve my books in the new place. The ones lucky enough to earn spots on actual shelves, that is—some will inevitably be relegated to floor stacks and table stacks because I never have enough shelves.

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So You Want to Start a Festival, Part 3

Meghan Dietsche Goel -- March 2nd, 2018

Starting a new festival is exciting. Yes, it’s also nerve-wracking, but mostly exciting! I’ve been involved in launching a festival before, but it’s been 10 years since the Texas Teen Book Festival got off the ground. So it has been a lot of fun to dive back into the heady whirlwind of possibility and collaboration that marks the birth of a big community event. We are just a few months out from launching a brand-new summer reading kick-off event in partnership with the Austin Independent School District, and it’s starting to take shape. Continue reading

Meet Emile, the Sheep of Doom

Kenny Brechner -- March 1st, 2018

We still do a robust special order business at DDG. Nonetheless, the insatiable ubiquity of Amazon’s presence seeping into the backdrop like a well mannered poltergeist has put increasing pressure on us to have books in stock that our customers walk in for. Given limited space, this is a challenge to me as a buyer and also puts added pressure on inventory management, meaning that we have had to be increasingly active in returns.

The gradual migration from being a softhearted co-dependent enabler to being a ruthless executioner is not an easy one for a book buyer. At least, I personally have found it to be a grim necessity. That’s why I am so grateful for Emile. Emile, one of our store sheep, turns out to have a gift for culling and expunging under performing books from our shelves. Well-earned, to say the least, is his full name, Emile the Sheep of Doom. Above you can see Emile assessing our Children’s Classics and New Arrivals section with his ever-present clipboard. Emile is about two things: intuitive statistics and decisiveness.
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Mermaids and Dressmakers, Gender and Fluidity

Elizabeth Bluemle -- February 27th, 2018

Our local schools have been embarking on renewed efforts to enrich the diversity of their elementary and middle school classroom libraries, and we’ve been helping them build their lists. Last week, one school principal contacted us in search of books about gender and asked for more suggestions. Her initial list had some great titles, and we were able to add some spectacular books from this season.

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A Magical Tea Bag

Kenny Brechner -- February 22nd, 2018

Imagine a magical tea bag, an ever-renewing pouch that provides new inspiration and refreshment every time it is steeped. Picture it in your mind’s eye. All right now, look and see if you can spot it in the picture below.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld is a magical book indeed. What’s in this tea bag of a book, you ask? Let us not fall prey to making a list of ingredients but instead focus on the inspired effect produced. After all, few things lend themselves into being a repository of the gestalt so much as a great picture book.
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Postcard from Toy Fair

Cynthia Compton -- February 21st, 2018

Greetings from NYC, and 30,000 or so folks who gathered for the 115th North American International Toy Fair at the Javits Center over the last 5 days. Since I couldn’t tuck you all into my recently acquired, large and rather garish selection of free tote bags, I thought I’d spend this week’s space to share this small shopkeeper’s observations, and some key trends that were clear as we wandered the aisles.

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Traveling the Worlds of Fairy / Faery / Faerie / Fey

Elizabeth Bluemle -- February 20th, 2018

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert had been high up in my to-read stack for a long time, but it was propelled to the top by my colleague Emily’s recent text. “I have a new obsession,” she wrote, and sent the photo shown at right, adding, “Omg. I’m actually scared. It’s scary! And delicious! I feel like a teenager.” (Emily’s in her young 30’s, so she IS practically a teenager, comparatively speaking.) She said she was reading under the covers, she was so scared. Who could resist that level of engagement with a book?!

The premise is creepily appealing: a teenage girl, Alice, has been on the run with her single mom all her life, both of them followed by eerie, sometimes violent runs of bad luck in each new way-station and haunted by fragments of twisted, dark fairy tales written by Alice’s grandmother—a woman Alice doesn’t know—in a book that is impossible to find but has a huge cult following. When Alice’s mother disappears after a particularly disturbing encounter with—but no, that would be telling. Suffice it to say that she disappears, and Alice is frantic to find her. And that fairy tales have a way of coming horribly true.

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‘Robot Goes to the Big City, Y’all!’

Meghan Dietsche Goel -- February 16th, 2018

As a buyer, I meet with sales reps, go to conferences, read reviews, and research small presses to make sure I’m staying informed about what’s new and interesting. And then I read as much as I can. Booksellers don’t have quite as many opportunities to review the lists, but it’s just as important for them to know what’s coming out and to find new favorites to recommend. Our adult buyers heavily utilize Edelweiss for targeted ARC distribution, encouraging all staff members to indicate books they are anticipating so that we (or our attentive sales reps) can connect them. I have a few kids’ staffers who take advantage of that system, particularly for YA releases, but we also take a slightly different approach. Since our kid specialists kind of function as a team within a team, we reserve an hour for a standing meeting every other week to discuss upcoming programming, plan ahead, and talk books. I typically see between 5-8 booksellers, depending on the week.

Hachette’s Jan Coco Day presents books to the staff.

Often we use our meetings to power through prep work, like making valentines to put up for some of our favorite authors or cutting gold stars for a unicorn display. But the meat of the meeting is generally devoted to book presentations. A lot of those presentations are mine, which obviously I love to do, but it’s great when a pinch hitter can stop by in the form of an all-star sales rep! Until recently, Jan Coco Day was one of BookPeople’s own, but now she’s one of our four (yes, four) sales reps who used to come to work with us every day. Now working for Hachette, she stopped by our meeting today to give the staff a look at some of her favorite children’s picks and talk about what she thinks they might love. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Favorites

Kenny Brechner -- February 15th, 2018

Valentine’s Day, as the love-conscious among you know, which I hope is everyone, arrived yesterday. To show the holiday itself a mark of affection I thought I would share some Valentine’s Day store favorites in three categories. Which three categories? Well, I didn’t want to append them directly onto the opening sentence, or the whole first paragraph would have been one sentence. Now that I’ve deftly avoided that trap I will reveal that the three categories are favorite Valentine’s Day card, favorite new Valentine’s Day book, and favorite old classic Valentine’s Day book.

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Roses Are Read

Cynthia Compton -- February 14th, 2018

Happy St. Valentine’s Day, friends and colleagues! I hope this day finds you either 1) curled up with a book that you love OR 2) doing work that you love, with people you love, for people that you care about. And if at the end of that day, you get to go home to share a meal with someone special, or just treat yourself to dinner out and order dessert first, even better.

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