Monthly Archives: May 2019

Hate Reading? Do It Anyway!

Meghan Dietsche Goel - May 10, 2019

Image by Sofía López Olalde from Pixabay

I’ve written a few times about my experience the last couple of years as a volunteer at a local school, reading to emerging readers who could use a little extra attention. Every week they read to me from a book from class and then I read to them from a book I bring with me. As a bookseller, this has proven a fascinating walk on the flip side of the reluctant reading journey. You know, the part that happens before, after, and in between visits to the bookstore. At the store, our job is to sell enthusiasm for reading by building fun experiences and conversations around books or offering tantalizing glimpses into the adventures lying within. It’s our job to hook kids with the promise of literary delight and keep offering ever more interesting options when they return. But we’re not typically on hand for the long, occasionally painful, slog as they try (and sometimes fail) to fall in love with the books they take home. Continue reading

An Interview with Summer

Kenny Brechner - May 9, 2019

As I entered the glade for my annual interview with Summer I was surprised to find a chorus of squirrels singing but no sign of Summer herself. The squirrels took note of me and ceased singing.
Kenny: Hi there, that was a lovely song, though I could not make out the words.
Squirrel Chorus: So we gather.
Kenny: I’m looking for Summer.
Squirrel Chorus: So we gather.
Kenny: Where is she?
(as I spoke that question the squirrels parted and Summer herself was standing in their midst)
Kenny: Hello Summer.
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Thirst for Knowledge

Cynthia Compton - May 8, 2019

We live in a parched society. Across the retail landscape, thirsty customers carry giant plastic and metal water bottles with engineered lids that are more complicated than my running shoes, extra large Big Gulps with straws so long that they don’t require even a dip of the chin to access, steaming lidded coffee beverages with cryptic codes written in sharpie marker on the side : dbl caf 2shot soy -whip, and the frappa-whoopie-doozie-syruped domed cups of every hue and flavor. All of these seem critical to have in hand AT ALL TIMES – when driving, when walking and when shopping at the bookstore. Ideally, these should be consumed while also TALKING ON THE PHONE, so that both hands are occupied while trying to extricate a credit card from the tightly wedged stack inside the Kate Spade wristlet or the teeny tiny zipper pocket at the top of yoga pants.
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And Then There Were None?

Elizabeth Bluemle - May 7, 2019

From Monopoly. © Richie Lomba |

Before I get to today’s topic, I have a check-in. Last Tuesday, I set a 100-book challenge for Children’s Book Week. Did anyone succeed? Did anyone almost succeed, and if so, do you need a few extra days to finish? Entries are still being accepted at e bluemle @ publishers weekly (no spaces, and the usual .com).
The bookselling community has been rattled this week by the news that Baker & Taylor, one of the nation’s two largest book wholesalers, has decided to stop selling to retailers and concentrate all of its efforts on the school and library market. The reverberations of this decision might not be immediately visible to the outside observer, but this is the latest body blow to the almost comically Sisyphean task of running a bricks-and-mortar bookstore.
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Bookseller Improv

Cynthia Compton - May 6, 2019

A truly hilarious thread developed this weekend on Facebook in a group maintained by indie booksellers. A certain wry sense of humor develops when one works in retail, and the added fodder of customer comments regarding ordering product online – while they are SHOPPING IN THE BOOKSTORE – is sometimes just too tempting to resist. I thought I would share the conversation with you as a “sneak peek” into the mind of your friendly local bookseller, as they direct you towards the self-help aisle. (And watch for some of these folks on the local comedy club circuit – or at least as potential “guest posters” on this blog – in the future!)
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A Point of View on ‘Point of View’

Kenny Brechner - May 2, 2019

Two ARC towers along with pedestrian traffic.

When I’m prepping for a sales call we pull all the ARCs for that list and set them up in piles like mini skyscrapers. I start at the roof and have a look through each floor of the continually shrinking building until we are back down to the foundation which, in an inspired architectural stroke, was crafted to resemble a wooden stool.
I was going through the Random House fall piles last week when a book in the pile brought me up short, Point of View by Patrick Bard. The tagline was “Addicted to Porn. Powerless to Stop. Until…”  My first thought was, “Wow, that was bold.” My second thought was twofold. Could I put this out in the store without incident? (We’ll return to that shortly.) Would school libraries bring it in? My third thought was “Is it good?” Which is the nub of the matter.
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Hello from Whoville!

Cynthia Compton - May 1, 2019

“Have you been here long?
“Eleven years in this location, sixteen overall.”
“I’ve never been in.”
“Welcome, we’re glad to see you.”
“So, do you think you’re going to make it? It seems like local stores don’t last long.”
This exchange at our register happened on Friday, the day before Independent Bookstore Day, which seemed particularly poignant, if not ironic. Our store was covered with IBD displays, the #HoosierBooktour totes were stuffed with tissue paper and lined up behind the counter, and the calendars of May events were stacked by the new release table. The store was loud and chaotic — the weekly Gymboree Art class had just let out from our event room, and preschoolers were zooming toward the train table, and emptying the contents of the impulse item bins into the toy shopping cart (that I forgot to put away in the stock room, again.)
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