Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Art of Returns

Josie Leavitt - May 10, 2016

There are two keys to successful inventory management: buying the right number of books and knowing what books to return. There is an art to both that is grounded loosely in hunches and some data management. Books are one of the few retail items that can be returned, often without penalty, to the publisher or distributor. The ability to return books allows stores to take chances on books they might not otherwise bring into their stores. It also allows for stocking up on event books without under-buying for fear of being stuck with extra books. But returns are not without cost, or hassle. Continue reading

BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz Panel Preview

Kenny Brechner - May 9, 2016

Friday morning the BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz panel will be held, and as I am moderating it, I thought a preview was in order. As you may have had occasion to notice, most of us like to feel that the things we choose to spend time on are worthwhile. That will be an easy task for everyone attending and participating in the BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz panel.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is no genre that is more important to get right than Middle Grade. As booksellers the ratio of handselling to adults buying for kids and to kids selecting for themselves is more equal in Middle Grade than it is with any other children’s genre age group.  It truly is in the middle and getting it right is of enormous importance in terms of relationship-building with middle grade readers as they will shortly age into a period where suggestions from a stranger are not quite the thing.
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Elizabeth’s May Book-a-Day Challenge

Elizabeth Bluemle - May 6, 2016

Because I’ve been traveling for work a lot lately, I am way behind on my reading. As books and ARCs pile up in what we Flying Pig folks refer to as “towers of knowledge,” I find myself in need of a concrete, publicly accountable reading goal that I can rope fellow “behinders” in on. So I’ve created a Google spreadsheet called “Elizabeth’s May Book-a-Day Challenge,” and invite those of you with similar piles to join me.
Picture books count, yes, but otherwise, there’s no page-count grace given with the challenge, because there’s no page-count relief for the number of books waiting for us. The goal is one book per day. Period. And you can’t complain, either, because we’ve already had a week off; it’s already May 6 and I’m letting you off the hook for May 1-5.
Seriously, though, you can use the challenge any way that works for you. If it’s half-a-book-a-day, that’s fine. If it’s an audiobook every three days, you fly that flag. I’ve always been a quick reader, so I’m hoping one book a day is doable, especially if I disable Netflix and HBO Go on all of my devices. (House of Cards Season 4 will have to wait until June.)
The link to the May Book-a-Day Challenge is:
You can add your name and fill in books once you’ve finished reading them. I’ll stay honest, too. If you miss a day, don’t worry. We’re all human (except for Kate Messner; I’m convinced she has cloned herself in order to accomplish as much as she does in a day).
This weekend, I’ll be snuggling up with Crystal Allen’s The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown, Kwame Alexander’s Booked, and Meg Medina’s Burn, Baby, Burn. What will you be reading this weekend? You can answer even if you aren’t taking the challenge. I’d love to know!

Customers as Sensors

Kenny Brechner - May 5, 2016

CanaryInACoalMine_2We often think of sensors as warning us of danger, from canaries in coal mines to modern alarm systems. They can also be very helpful, of course, turning lights on for us at opportune times. At a bookstore customers act as wonderfully complex sensors with an almost unlimited range. Last week was a notable one at the store in this regard. Two incidents particularly exemplified the rewards and the perils which can come, on either hand, from receiving the words and actions of our patrons.
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Authors at the Airport, Mice at the Expo

Elizabeth Bluemle - May 4, 2016

IMG_6549When scouting possible locations for a fundraising event featuring 21 authors, you wouldn’t immediately think of the airport as a potential venue. But in a small city like Burlington, it’s not only feasible, it’s fantastic. Big windows, lots of light and space for setting up, and a series of available rooms for author panels and presentations —plus free parking for the event— made the Stern Center’s annual gala beautiful and unique.
I’d noticed a lot of civic things happening lately at our mighty little Burlington International Airport, so when I had a chance to meet its newest owner, Gene Richards, I asked him what was going on. “This airport was built with taxpayer dollars,” he said, “and it should be available to the community that built it.” One of his favorite recent events was a dinner to celebrate the Refugee Resettlement Program. Food from many international cultures were shared from family to family. It was a way to bring new Americans and longtime Vermonters together. Love that!
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Scaring Staffers

Josie Leavitt - May 2, 2016

I think I’m a generally good-natured boss, one who is patient, understanding and kind. This is how I usually am at work, until I’m very tired, then things kind of fall apart. Most of the time I’m very well rested and a delight to be around (if I do say so myself), but the last few weeks of working just about every day had finally taken its toll on Saturday. I was supposed to be off, but a staffer had a flight snafu and couldn’t come in, so I had to work. I was exhausted, cranky and short-tempered, and I practically terrorized my youngest staffer, Lizzy, who had the poor misfortune of working alone with me. Continue reading