All bookstores strive to host fun, engaging events that will draw a large crowd. We all know that these events are a lot of work, can be expensive to pull off, and require a lot of advertising. So it was a thrill to find out that Scholastic had chosen our store as a stop on its Summer Reading Road Trip. This genius promotion is a bevy of fun events all in one, with not one, but three local authors. The more I read about the help Scholastic is providing, the more excited about this event I become. Continue reading
The nature of our conversation about Amazon needs to change. It needs to become less about individual bookstore transactions and more about facing a common threat to our community’s well being. I knew that. But when a crisis involving my bookstore developed, when the earth began to open under my feet, I understood it with conviction and experience. I’ll share what happened and then offer a thought on two elements involved that I think are worth noting.
The school libraries in the greater Farmington area are among my most important customers. Our town is under considerable financial strain. The school budget necessarily faces significant cuts. The School Library book budget, for example, is slated to be cut in half in all seven schools. There is a robust local group called Support Our Schools, which has a closed online forum with more than 800 members. An active dialogue concerning the library book budget being cut in half developed on the Support Our Schools forum. The idea began to be discussed that, given the shrinking dollars it might be necessary to switch business away from DDG to Amazon and that Amazon Smile might be used as a fundraising source. I had never posted in the group before. The time had come. Here is my post.
Almost all bookstore use computers to keep track of their inventory and to sell books. We generally don’t think much about the computers until they stop working, and then we realize just how reliant we are on them. Last week I mistakenly updated my anti-virus software and found, almost immediately, that all three computers at the store had lost their network connectivity. Not being able to access the inventory or the cash register function of the computers certainly puts a crimp in the ability to sell books efficiently. I am known as the IT person for the store, so I set about to remedy the problem. Continue reading
It happens often in children’s publishing: suddenly, a topic no one’s written about in years (or ever) manages to surface in more than one book. Sometimes, there are enough coincidental titles they constitute a mini-trend. Last November, I wrote about The Year of the Yeti; a few years ago, it seemed every YA book cover trumpeted The Season of Windblown Hair, among other trends. And there was one year when I served on a book committee, and three or four MG and YA novels involved severed hands as major plot points.
Lately, I’ve noticed some modest two-book coincidences. Celestial-body home visits, club feet, and free-verse Tuskegee Airmen are just a few of the past several months’ coincidental releases.
If there is anything that calls upon even the most feckless of us to pause and reflect it is the 25th anniversary party for one’s bookstore. At least that’s what I found. We pour effort into our lives into particular vessels, and some hold the effort more than others.
A community-oriented bookstore is a particularly retentive vessel. It is in the knitting, I think. There are so many strands, friendships with customers, community partnerships, school partners, staff friendships, a cornucopia of joint efforts and gestalt rewards offer so many layers of interwoven meaning to strengthen the innate character of our enterprise which is, after all, sharing books, sharing vessels of meaning.
In 25 years you’ve had plenty of time to talk Russian literature with someone you once picked out board books for. You’ve helped pick out a get well card for a customer and then discover that the card is for someone who has become very dear to you over the years so that you pick one out for her yourself and send it along. It is little wonder that the bookstore captures the effort poured into it so well and so dynamically.
Hi, avid readers.
If you want to add your name to the book-a-day June challenge, go here: June Book Blast.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go here: E’s Invitation to Join the June Challenge
(I’ve also updated the post to include the rest of the books I read in May.)
Remember, you can bulk up on books some days and not read on other days. That’s how life is. And just for kicks, try zipping outside your usual genres once in a while to challenge yourself.
Happy June Reading!