Monthly Archives: September 2018

A Different Kind of Comfort Read

Elizabeth Bluemle - September 11, 2018

Seventeen years ago, when the horrific events of September 11 unfolded in front of us, we were at first speechless. We gathered loved ones close and tried to make sense of what had just happened. In the weeks following that tremendous tragedy and loss, people came to the bookstore looking for comfort. They weren’t even necessarily seeking a book; they simply wanted to be surrounded by books, by calm, quiet, familiar and beloved books depicting a world they thought they understood. Parents asked us for recommendations for books to help them talk with their children, and children found comfort in returning to happy, safe, gentle books like Ramona the Pest and Ginger Pye and Understood Betsy.
Today, our nation is in a very different place than it was nearly two decades ago, and yet our national stress levels are at another high. People are once again seeking refuge in bookstores. This time, their comfort reading—though it really can’t be called that—is entirely different.
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Mid-Term Musings

lhawkins - September 10, 2018

It’s only 57 days until our country’s mid-term election. Now is a good time to put out a display to encourage voting, both for our youngest customers who are future voters and for their parents and other family members who are eligible now. Maybe some of us have ongoing displays encouraging civic engagement for all ages and maybe some of us only trot out the election books and voting booth decor during presidential election season.  Continue reading

Books on the Brain: A Bookseller’s Literary Scramble

Meghan Dietsche Goel - September 7, 2018

Last year’s BookPeople catalog proofs.

The BookPeople holiday catalog is a big production. Every year, booksellers compete to have their essays featured along with themed photo shoots to accompany the buyers’ curated holiday gift guide. It’s not exactly a strict best of the year overview, though there’s certainly a lot of crossover with our end of year lists. It’s more designed to express our personality as a store as we offer our own gift picks for every type of reader, across age, style, and genre. The catalog really drives sales for us in November and December, so it’s worth putting in the time to make it as good as we can. It’s a fun but slightly overwhelming task. Continue reading

Autumn’s Pivotal Book Picks

Kenny Brechner - September 6, 2018

MadonnaPietradegliScrovigniAs red leaves begin to appear beside their green neighbors, and cool nights draw the warmth from area lakes, it was clearly time to make my annual visit to Autumn in the hopes of getting some insight into which books published this Fall will be most worthy of our attention.
Kenny: Thank you for setting aside some time for us, Autumn.
Autumn: Certainly.
Kenny: Well, straight to it then. Perhaps you can share your top picks of the Fall season?
Autumn: Why are you speaking in generalities? Are you not aware that this is a pivotal Autumn?
Kenny: I am not. Pivotal in what way?
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Fall Festival Season at the Bookstore

Cynthia Compton - September 5, 2018

Fall festival season has begun in Indiana, in which local towns celebrate sunny, parade-filled weekends with gala celebrations like “Sunflower Fest” and “Holler on the Hill Festival” and my personal favorite, “Irish Fest,” for the best brew consumed while watching dancers and sheep herding exhibitions. My family attended “Old Fashion Days”  in neighboring North Salem, Indiana, over Labor Day weekend, and we were treated to both hand-dipped ice cream and pork tenderloin sandwiches washed down with Lemon Shake Ups, as well as Main Street Bed Races and a tractor parade.  Driving back home, stomach full and thumbing through my just purchased spiral-bound church cookbook (I’m a sucker for recipes with Jello and sour cream), I thought about the fall fests that occur in the aisles of our stores this season, as likeminded folk gather to browse and (sometimes) buy books. I’m sure your stores all host the following, too:
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The Case of the Confusing Pub Date

Elizabeth Bluemle - September 4, 2018

For major holidays, publishers release books on a reasonable timeline; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Independence Day books arrive roughly when we expect them to start being in demand. Sure, we get some Halloween books in July and Christmas books in August, which is much earlier than I like to face the holidays, but on the whole, books ship on a schedule that makes sense. But for less specific seasonal offerings, release dates often stump booksellers.
Every year, we encounter books published mysteriously out of season: camping stories that come out in September, for instance, missing an entire summer’s worth of heightened sales. Or books perfect for summer beach reading rolling out in February, or late August, just too early or late for their optimal readership. It’s not that the books go unread, but their prime selling season seems to be lost, unnecessarily so.
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