It’s come to the attention of many independent booksellers that certain large publishing houses are placing ads on social media featuring links to buy their titles on Amazon. To be clear, I’m talking about “sponsored” (i.e. paid) posts, not free content. Not just regular posts saying “Buy our book” and pointing to Amazon instead of one or more of their other customers (say, Barnes and Noble, Target, or maybe the hundreds of independent booksellers on Indiebound.org) or even posts pointing to the publisher’s own title page, where several buying options are usually displayed in a line, sometimes including the option of bypassing retailers altogether and letting the consumer buy directly from the publisher. Nope. Continue reading
We run bookfairs for a growing number of local schools around town, the majority of which take place onsite at the schools. However, like many bookstores around the country, we offer an in-store bookfair program as well. Like any bookfair, the success of instore bookfairs varies wildly and really depends on the community engagement each school is able to generate to support their fundraiser. This week we hosted the annual instore bookfair for Casis Elementary, a school that always hits it out of the park. Their Family Night event at the store attracts hundreds and hundreds of people every year (our clicker count for the store logged over 800 people during their event on Tuesday) and creates an amazing energy that truly makes our store feel like theirs for a few magical, slightly chaotic hours.
One of the many things I love about YA literature is the responsibility the author has to her audience. This responsibility is nuanced and variable, but it is nonetheless real. Chuck Palahniuk doesn’t need to worry about it. Angie Thomas does. It entails empathy and caring for the reader’s experience, providing both truthfulness, understanding and hope in some form and measure. Mistakes are an opportunity, not a fatality. Effort has meaning, even if it is not a linear meaning. A given character may be evil, even unredeemable, but a reader’s humanity is understood as a given. A character may be given over to despair or sacrifice something in vain, but the reader will always find portals leading to a constructive understanding of the narrative left open to them.
Welcome to Nuremberg, Germany, and the 2019 Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair! This year I was thrilled to be invited to join a group of colleagues from the American Specialty Toy Association in an “exchange visit” of sorts to the world’s largest Toy Fair — some 12 FULL HALLS of toys, games and the magical stuff of play. If you have visited the Javits Center (and back in the day, the Fifth Ave. Toy Building) for New York Toy Fair, you know how enormous and overwhelming that show can be. The Nuremberg event, held from Jan 30 to Feb 3, hosted 70,000 visitors from 130 countries, with exhibitors grouped into 12 product categories ranging from infant play to high technology, from trains to dolls, games and building sets. The sheer size and scope of the event is both inspiring and exhausting, and while we walked for what seemed like miles of aisles each day, I am very sure that we only sampled a portion of the event. I thought I would share a few photos, to entice you all to join me next year!
Flying Pig co-founder Josie Leavitt may be retired from bookselling (though she takes substitute shifts now and then), but she still loves books and indie bookstores. Recently, she was in NYC and visited Book Culture on the Upper West Side. She found herself intrigued by their display of ‘mystery date’ books: books wrapped in brown paper with no title, author, or publisher noted, just a few enticing clues to make readers want to take a chance on a blind date with the hidden title.
Josie and her partner took a chance on four of these unknown books and were delighted with their choices. They’ve read three of the four so far and all, Josie reported, “were right on target.” One was a short story collection her partner said she wouldn’t have picked up on her own, and she LOVED it.
When I was growing up, my parents were active members of the Art Institute of Chicago, and I remember following them through many a family weekend outing. It’s wonderful to have those memories anchoring my connection to museums. The thing is, though, that I don’t remember feeling terribly engaged as my family moved from room to room, quietly contemplating the art—and I don’t think I’m the only kid who has ever felt that way. That’s why I am so inspired by the Blanton Museum of Art’s K–12 education program, which centers around dialogue, creativity, and interaction. And that’s why I’ve loved collaborating on the Art of the Book program with them. Designed to use the work of extraordinary illustrators as a jumping off point for art, the Art of the Book is one of my very favorite programs—partly because I feel like I get as much out of it as the kids do.
We’ve been trying to coordinate at least one event per school year, and I’ve previously shared posts about the fun we had with Javaka Steptoe and Armand Baltazar. This month, we were lucky enough to welcome M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin to talk about The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge with 200 seventh graders from area middle schools. Continue reading