Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 1, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles

Quotation of the Day

Craig Popelars: 'Bookmarking Indie Bookstore Day'

"A few nights ago, I checked on my daughter Maddie while she slept. Beside her in bed was John Green's Paper Towns. The bookmark from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill was sticking out and the sight of it brought a wave of nostalgia over me. The adventure, the discovery, the possibilities, that sense of place and belonging that came with entering The Little Professor in Troy, Ohio so many years ago. Bookmarks indicate where we are, where we've been and what remains.

"Knowing that my childhood bookstore, my daughter's childhood bookstore and hundreds of other amazing independent bookstores continue to thrive brings an overwhelming sense of hope, gratitude, and the notion that just maybe, all is right with the world."

--Craig Popelars, Algonquin's director of sales and marketing, in a blog post titled "Bookmarking Indie Bookstore Day"

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!


Indie Bookstore Day: Derby Party; Eggers on Dating

Tomorrow, more than 400 independent bookstores across the U.S. will participate in the inaugural Independent Bookstore Day (inspired by last year's California Bookstore Day), while Canadian booksellers hold their first Authors for Indies Day. In addition to hosting parties, author appearances and events, booksellers will distribute exclusive merchandise (a video from Harvard Bookshop, Cambridge, Mass., offers a sneak peek) created for the occasion. All week, we are highlighting indie booksellers' creative plans for, and thoughts about, celebrating IBD 2015:

Burlingham Books, Perry, N.Y.: "I really wanted to do it, because I thought it was cool," said owner Ann Burlingham. "Sometimes it's hard to invite people to come celebrate the independent bookstore, to appreciate us for us and think about why they come here instead of going other places.... I'm treating it as a community event. We've invited people in from other businesses and organizations to connect with people who are coming." (via the Daily News)

Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.: "We’ll also have refreshments, a book-themed storytime led by Boswellian Jannis at 11 a.m., and a literary quiz game at 2 p.m., featuring local authors versus local critics."

Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.: "In True Brew Cafe: Marvel themed drink specials, because it's also Free Comic Book Day (we're doing that promotion in support of our neighbors at Double Midnight Comics)."

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ken.: Competing against the Kentucky Derby will be a challenge, but Carmichael's is hosting an "Old Fashioned Derby Party," where participants can "learn how to mix the famed bourbon-based cocktail. There will also be bourbon-smoked items from Bourbon Barrel Foods at the Frankfort Avenue store. And, of course, everyone will listen to the Derby at race time." (via Insider Louisville)

The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah: "Hour-long Seuss-a-thon Story time.... Chow Truck in parking lot.... Stilo Stream Mobile Clothing Boutique."

Lauren at Changing Hands shows off IBD tea towels

Barrington Books, Barrington, R.I.: "We are so excited to partner with another Barrington independent for our IBD line up! Stop by BB on Saturday from 11-1 as we kick off our Independent Bookstore Day festivities with complimentary samples from the wonderful folks at MEDICI GELATO!"

Books Inc. in the Castro, San Francisco, Calif.: Dave Eggers "will be on hand to help you realize your truest social media self: by editing your dating profile! Yes, Mr. Eggers is really good at words stuffs, which is, after all, what's most important on all those sites!"

Canadian Authors for Indies: Nancy Frater, owner of BookLore in Orangeville, Ontario, said authors "are aware of all the challenges in bookselling today, and they clearly support and love their indies by giving back. They just get it. They know that we provide a curated selection, discover new authors and champion local authors, but what's most important to them is the sense of community, the sense of connection that is the local bookstore.... Readers, authors and booksellers form the grand triumvirate in my life. We all need each other, we are all booklovers." (via the Citizen)

Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.: "The emphasis is on foot traffic and making a physical appearance in a bookstore--a symbol of how integral book-and-mortar stores are in this digital, online world," said bookseller Rachel Kaplan, who is coordinating IBD at Avid. "Bookstores provide space for experiences and not just books, and we want people across the nation to show appreciation for customer-service experiences and not just online (commerce). Like Record Store Day, we want to give back to people who take their time to come out and see us." (via the Banner-Herald)

Obama: $250 Million in Free E-Books for Low-Income Students

Yesterday, President Obama announced a pair of initiatives designed to "strengthen learning opportunities by improving access to digital content and to public libraries."

Video from President Obama's field trip

Several major publishers will make more than $250 million in free e-books available to low-income students. Among the publishers participating in the initiative are Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Lee & Low and Cricket Media.

The New York Public Library is developing an e-reader app that will create a book collection for students ages 4-18 from low-income families. The Digital Public Library of America's network of librarians will volunteer with the NYPL to make sure popular books reach the most appropriate audience. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is investing $5 million to support the development of the app and tools and other services, and FirstBook will work with the NYPL and interested publishers to ensure e-books reach students in low-income families.

Complementing these efforts, the ConnectED Library Challenge is a commitment by more than 30 communities to put a library card into every student's hand so they will have access to the learning resources and books they can read for pleasure, all available in America's libraries.

In making the announcement during a visit to the Anacostia Library in southeast Washington, D.C., President Obama said, "We're going to provide millions of e-books online so that they're available for young people who maybe don't have as many books at home or don't always have access to a full stock of reading materials."

American Library Association president Courtney Young said she was encouraged by the president's announcement: "We support the initiative’s calls on public libraries, school administrators and government leaders to work collaboratively to create seamless learning opportunities for all of their students... We are appreciative that the Administration recognizes the role libraries play in meeting the daily educational and technological needs of many low-income American students.... ALA calls on school and public library leaders to work collaboratively with school administrators and civic leaders to ensure that each and every student has a public library card."

UConn Co-op's Suzy Staubach Retiring

Suzy Staubach

Congratulations to one of our favorite booksellers, Suzy Staubach, who is retiring this summer after serving as a bookseller, manager of the general books division and manager of the UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center, Storrs, Conn. She called it a difficult decision, writing, "It is a job I have dedicated myself to, and one that I have loved. My years at the bookstore have been filled with literary pleasures and wonderful friends. It is a job that has brought the most amazing and wonderful people into my life: fellow booksellers across the country, many of whom I have become very close to, publishers and publishers' reps who work so hard to bring us all good books, the many talented authors whom I’ve met over the years, the faculty and members of our local community who come through our doors, and of course the people I work with every day here in the bookstore. No one has had better fortune in friends than I have. I am so grateful."

Her decision, she continued, has been "precipitated by recent events in my family these past several months: the loss of my mother who lived to an old age, and the loss of my sister, who did not. In such times, it is impossible not to think about one's own mortality and wonder what time one has left. I have already been graced with two more years on earth than my sister."

Suzy will continue to be involved in the Connecticut Children's Book Fair for at least another year and is co-chair of the Curbstone Foundation. She has been an active bookseller: she's a former board member and vice-president of the ABA, a former president of the New England Booksellers Association as well as a former board member of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Independent Booksellers Consortium and Curbstone Press. She is also former president of the Connecticut Center for the Book and is a columnist for NACS's College Store magazine (her last column appears in the July/August issue).

An author and potter, too, she plans to finish a book on sunken gardens, do more pottery (she owns Willow Tree Pottery in Ashford, Conn.) and spend more time with friends and family.

Bob Smith, who worked at Curbstone Press for 13 years and joined the Co-op in 2012, will take over most of Suzy's responsibilities.

Changes at Buttonwood Books and Toys in Mass.

Arna Lewis, who bought Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, Mass., in 2013 with Katherine Detwiler, is moving to Denver, Colo., where her husband has been offered "a wonderful job opportunity," she said in a letter to New England Independent Booksellers Association members yesterday.

She is keeping her home in Scituate, near Cohasset, and will continue as an owner of the store as she and Detwiler "figure out how all of this will work out." But she will no longer be in charge of "the day-to-day operations of managing and buying and selling of books."

Katherine Detwiler and Arna Lewis at Buttonwood Books

She also said that Detwiler "will have more of a presence in the book industry and our store manager, Bill Grace, will be our new book manager. Bill, along with our long-time employees, Sarah Pease and Susan Buswell, will all share the tasks involved in book buying, meeting with reps and other aspects of the book industry. Kathleen 'Totsie' McGonagle will continue as our events coordinator managing all our author events."

She added: "Buttonwood Books and Toys is thriving and Kathy and I are proud of what we have accomplished in the last two years. We are both committed to seeing that the store continues to flourish and together, with our capable staff, we have no doubt that it will remain a hub for our local community."

She and Detwiler bought the store in 2013 from Detwiler's mother-in-law, Betsey Detwiler. Since then, Detwiler and Lewis, who had been a schoolteacher, have extensively remodeled and remade the store in striking ways.

BAM Closes One Alabama Store, Renovates Another

Books-A-Million plans to close its store in the Woodmere Crossing shopping center in Montgomery, Ala., May 9, the Advertiser reported, adding that BAM "is doubling down on its location in the Shoppes at Eastchase with a full renovation, including new carpet, paint, flooring, lighting and an updated cafe. That work will be finished by the time the East Boulevard store closes."

"We've really gone in and done a full refresh," said company spokesman Scott Kappler. A "re-grand opening" for the east Montgomery location is scheduled for mid-May.

Amazon Leases First Chicago Warehouse

Amazon has leased a 51,970-square-foot Goose Island warehouse "in what could be the first of several smaller deals in Chicago as the e-commerce giant maneuvers closer to urban customers seeking fast delivery," Crain's reported, adding that the online retailer, "which earlier this year began collecting state sales tax from Illinois customers for the first time, is believed to need a series of smaller industrial buildings within the city to keep up with the rising demand for same-day and next-day deliveries."


Photo Op: 'The Book that Changed Their Lives'

From the Facebook page of Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., on Tuesday: "We couldn't wait to start the fun on May 2, so we have now already begun asking Bookends & Beginnings customers to have their photo taken with the title of the book that changed their lives. As a thank you, every photographee is entered into a raffle to win one of three $25 gift certificates. We are not attaching names to any of the photos, but of course you will know who you are, and so will your friends and family. We are already finding it fascinating which books have been so important for which people! Here are several early entries, to help you get in the mood."

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins, Random House

Susan Katz is retiring as president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books. She joined HarperCollins in 1987 as publisher of the College Division. In 1993, she became group vice president of education, and since 1996 has been president of the Children's Division. She will stay on through the summer to facilitate the transition.

Effective May 20, Suzanne Murphy, v-p, publisher, Disney Book Group/Disney Publishing Worldwide, will succeed Katz. Earlier she was v-p, group publisher, Scholastic Trade Publishing, and worked in children's publishing at Simon & Schuster and Random House.

HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray said in a memo to staff that under Katz's leadership, "HarperCollins Children's Books has carefully and consistently published amazing authors and books that have found their way into the libraries and living rooms of millions of children, teens and adults. She has guided the division through one successful year after another, and has made an enormous contribution to the company's overall success--whether she's breathing new life into our timeless classics or launching new brands that engage the next generation of readers."


At Random House:

  • Melanie DeNardo has been named associate director of publicity. She formerly worked Little, Brown for Young Readers, Holt and the Crown Group.
  • Greg Kubie has been promoted to senior manager. He joined the Ballantine Bantam Dell publicity department five years ago and has worked closely with the Del Rey team on the Star Wars publishing program.
  • Alex Coumbis has been promoted to associate publicist.
  • Stasia Whalen has been promoted to associate with the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. She joined Random in 2013.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: David McCullough on The Wright Brothers

Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Morning Edition: Gary Cieradkowski, author of The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball's Forgotten Heroes (Touchstone, $25, 9781476775234).


Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning: David McCullough, author of The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476728742).


Sunday on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS: Robert D. Putnam, author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476769899).


Sunday on OWN's Super Soul Sunday: Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More (Atria, $15, 9781476709130).

TV: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Doctor Thorne

Paramount Television and Anonymous Content LLP are developing a dramatic series based on Caitlin Doughty's bestselling memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory. Evan Dunsky (Nurse Jackie) will be writer and showrunner. Anonymous Content's Kerry Kohansky-Roberts, Rosalie Swedlin and Alex Goldstone will serve as executive producers, with Doughty as a consulting producer.

Norton has acquired two new books by Doughty. The first, set for a fall 2016 release, "will question the idea that there are universal 'dignified' and 'respectful' ways to care for the dead," according to the publisher, while the second "will describe becoming an involved practitioner--not to mention an independent businesswoman in an industry dominated by men and corporations--and will present a powerful message about the way we approach death as a society."


Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) will adapt Anthony Trollope's Doctor Thorne for ITV as a three-part drama. reported that, in addition to the final season of Downton Abbey, Fellowes "also has The Gilded Age to come, NBC's long-gestating fictional take of the millionaire titans of New York City in the 1880s. ITV has not yet officially confirmed an air date for Doctor Thorne, but it's expected the series will air next year."

Books & Authors

Awards: Edgar Winners; Ridenhour Book

Here are the winners of the 2015 Edgar Awards, who were honored Wednesday night at the Mystery Writers of America banquet in New York City:

Best novel: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Scribner)
Best first novel: Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (Norton)
Best paperback original: The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani (Penguin)
Best critical/biographical: Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (Countryman Press)
Best fact crime: Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (Harper)
Best short story: "What Do You Do?"--Rogues by Gillian Flynn (Bantam)
Best young adult: The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
Best juvenile: Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Best TV episode teleplay: "Episode 1" of Happy Valley, teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)
Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: "Getaway Girl"--Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Zoë Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)
Mary Higgins Clark Award: The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
Grand Master: Lois Duncan; James Ellroy
Raven Awards: Ruth & Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine; Kathryn Kennison, Magna Cum Murder
Ellery Queen Award: Charles Ardai, editor & founder of Hard Case Crime


Anand Gopal won the $10,000 Ridenhour Book Prize, sponsored by the Nation Institute and the Fertel Foundation and honoring "an outstanding work of social significance," for No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes.

The book awards committee said, "Even a decade and a half after we dispatched weapons, soldiers, and treasure to Afghanistan, most of us still don't have a real sense for what has happened there and the extent of the impact our intervention has had. And we never will until we come to see the conflict and its aftermath through the eyes of the Afghan people. Anand Gopal's achievement in No Good Men Among the Living is to accomplish just that. Through a blend of intrepid reporting and clear-eyed--even beautiful prose--we see and can begin to truly understand the violence and tragedy of our longest war."

Book Brahmin: Kim Michele Richardson

photo: Andrew Eccles

Kim Michele Richardson resides in the rolling hills of Kentucky, where she is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence. She is also the author of the memoir The Unbreakable Child and a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her debut novel, Liar's Bench, was just published by Kensington.

On your nightstand now:

Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.

Favorite book when you were a child:

E.B. White's Charlotte's Web is a masterpiece that tapped into my love for nature and animals. And every time I read it, I learned something new. It has this wonderful Hitchcockian first line: "Where is papa going with that axe?" and is infused with magical verses of dewy spider webs, "Some Pig" miracles and unconditional friendship. Some Book!

Your top five authors:

It's hard for me to name a top-five anything, because I'm not wired this way, and it changes monthly, but a few of my favorites recently were by Rick Campbell, Diane Chamberlain, Amy Conner, Charles Frazier, Ann Hite and Daniel Woodrell. I'm also a fan of any writer about anything Abe Lincoln, and love collecting children's picture books.

Book you've faked reading:

I haven't! I'm okay with saying I couldn't finish something.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Love & Ordinary Creatures by Gwyn Hyman Rubio. A novel that tells of the powerful and often surprising human animal connections, transcending species, and explores the way we connect with our environment, its creatures and one another. It changed the way I think and live. And, Barbara Kingsolver's evocative Flight Behavior wowed me for the very same reasons.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I once bought Pauline's by Pauline Tabor because, who wouldn't?!--memoirs of a Kentucky madam slipped between a crushed red velvet cover! I love collecting old books for the stitching, fabric and the lovely inscriptions and notes hidden within.

There is something magical about holding an 1867 copy of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Other Pieces by Charles Dickens, and wondering what the owner of the book--Miss Ida Thorton, who is inscribed inside--thought of the passages, and if our thoughts may have paralleled while reading.

Once, I found a precious 1800s book in a stack of others put out to the trash. I don't recall the title because I gave it to a teacher who begged for it. But I clearly remember the book was inscribed to George from Tillie. I own a few of George's other books, too--Open Sesame (Ginn & Company, 1890). I know from George's penciled notes on the pages that he was an older student, an athlete and that he had a crush on a certain "lovely" lady. All his sighs were sprinkled sweetly throughout, along with his football plays from a rivalry game. You could see his notes were obviously influenced by the book's prose.

I also have this gorgeous small leather book, The Sidewalks of New York by Bernardine Kielty, which was given to Men from Lowden, Christmas, 1925. A very worn book that is rife with history and reminds you to feel the city's inspiration. I can lose hours looking at old books with their antique passages and lovely bindings, regardless if I intend to read or not.

Book that changed your life:

So many wonderful books have lived with me forever, but a few that jump out: Anita Diamant's The Red Tent. That a mere nod in history can evolve into a mesmerizing tale of primeval womanhood gets me every time. Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action takes my breath. And last year I discovered Walter Tevis's The Queen's Gambit--being an orphan myself, the novel hit home and I found it to be a truly beautifully written testament of human condition and survival. Alice Walker's The Color Purple is courageous and powerful.

Favorite line from a book:

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." --Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone. An incredibly short, brutal read that haunts with its grim, glorious and breathtaking prose.

Book Review

Review: The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects

The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects by Deborah Lutz (W.W. Norton, $27.95 hardcover, 9780393240085, May 11, 2015)

Deborah Lutz's (Pleasure Bound) fresh and novel The Brontë Cabinet examines in detail the private lives of nine objects owned and used by the Brontës--Emily, Charlotte and Anne--in order to reveal the "secret existence" the possessions held for them and how they influenced the sisters' writings: "New corners and even rooms of these Victorian women's lives light up for us." Lutz places each object "in its cultural setting and in the moments of the everyday lives of the Brontës."

The intriguingly titled chapter "The Alchemy of Desks" is about the sisters' portable writing desks, covered with ink stains. Emily called hers a desk box, and inside it were pieces of chalk, fragments of lace, an empty cardboard box marked with her initials, EJB. Each leftover, "no matter how enigmatic and insignificant, seems to shine out with meaning." In "Tiny Books," Lutz discusses the books the sisters created as teenagers by folding down pieces of paper and sewing them together to form "a rudimentary booklet of 16 pages, about the size of a matchbook," that they filled with words written in the tiniest of scripts. In addition to numerous household duties they were expected to perform, the sisters spent hours dealing with the "swatches and cloth fragments they stitched, turned and hemmed." Lutz sees their products as "physical monuments to the business of their days," during which they could mentally compose their poems and novels. She's very good at drawing upon passages from their writings to illuminate better the significance of these objects: "In [Anne Brontë's] Agnes Grey the sisters Agnes and Mary pass many happy hours 'sitting at our [needle]work by the fire.' "

All members of the Brontë family were serious walkers; examining their brother Branwell's walking stick, Lutz reflects upon how much Emily loved to walk the moors of Haworth, just as much as Wuthering Heights's Catherine Earnshaw did. Dog collars, the family's hair samples ("death made material"), memory albums and "migrant relics" or mementos associated with the Brontë family and its environs are some other things Lutz discusses. "Whether or not they are authentic," Lutz observes, "they represent the deep attention the Brontë story still elicits."

She reiterates that Parson Brontë was not a wealthy man and the family did everything they could to scrimp and save. She recounts with sadness the deaths of each sister and other Brontë relatives, and then the selling off of their meager items in local auctions; how lucky it is that even these few items survived. Reading this sensitive inquiry into the Brontë's objects, and the family members who were so very close to them, allows the many who love the sisters' writings to partake, even if from afar, in the special lives of these fascinating and brilliant women. It's literary archeology par excellence. Sylvia Plath, after a visit to the Brontë home, where she saw Emily's death couch, wrote: "They touched this, wore that, wrote here in a house redolent with ghosts." --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: Delve deeply into the world of the Brontë sisters as illuminated by some of their personal possessions.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Interdependent Bookstore Day... Citywide

"We are proudly independent, but over these dozen-plus years, we've learned how much small businesses like ours also rely on connections," Steve Costa and Kate Levinson, co-owners of Point Reyes Books, observed this week in sharing their Independent Bookstore Day "Declaration of Interdependence."

The rapid evolution of California Bookstore Day into IBD (and, in Canada, Authors for Indies Day) is another indicator of the resilience and creativity indie booksellers continue to exhibit in their collaborative efforts on both a national and local scale. We've been highlighting some of the many IBD partnerships booksellers have forged with other local businesses--bakeries, cafes, craft stores, bike shops and more. I just wanted to offer a reminder that booksellers in several U.S. cities have also found imaginative ways to showcase their interdependence tomorrow:

In the Seattle area, 17 bookstores teamed up to create the Indie Bookstore Challenge, with the winning customers receiving year-long 25% discounts at all participating stores--plus the title of Indie Bookstore Champ. The Stranger noted "one of the benefits of the project is the sense of solidarity among the participants."

"We feel a bond with other indies," said Open Books co-owner John Marshall. "Heck, Amazon has even made Barnes & Noble seem like a relative--what dark magic does that? We are pleased to celebrate shared DNA with our sibling stores."

"I love what Seattle is doing," said Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books in San Francisco and a driving force behind the first California Bookstore Day last year. "Stores that would normally be competing with each other are cooperating. I can't think of anything else like it. I don't think, for example, coffee shops get together and share their best techniques."

Many booksellers in the San Francisco region are honoring the Bay Area Bookstore Passport as a way to inspire informal bookshop crawls. Customers who make a purchase at three or more bookstores tomorrow can ask for a stamp in their passports. Each time they reach three new stamps, they qualify for a prize.

Sign at Main Street Books, St. Charles, Mo.

"We're looking at it as a customer appreciation day," Stephanie Hochschild, owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, told the Tribune regarding Chicago Independent Bookstore Day, in which 12 indies are banding together to celebrate. "They're the reason we flourish and it's a way to thank them. We hope to remind people of the importance of shopping local, not just at the Book Stall, but for everyone."

For Independent Bookstore Day NYC, two dozen Big Apple indies teamed up to collectively publicize IBD's citywide events, which will culminate with a Bookstore Day NYC afterparty at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. "Show your local bookstores some love this weekend," DNAInfo New York advised.

"I think that in many neighborhoods a bookstore is an inherent part of the community," Lexi Beach, owner of Astoria Bookshop in Queens, noted. "Having that kind of space where people can come together and collectively form a community around their love of books--I think is something that is still really important."

"Of course, we have to do things differently in New Orleans," said Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books, which will team up with Garden District Book Shop and Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop to celebrate IBD next Saturday, May 9, in order to avoid conflicting with the legendary Jazz Fest, at which NOLA indies work together to operate the book tent. Among the special activities planned for their delayed version of IBD is the chance to win $75 in gift certificates for book lovers who visit all three participating bookstores as part of a scavenger hunt. 

For some of us who've been observing the book business over the past couple of decades, the notion of such a large-scale Independent Bookstore Day is still a little, well, stunning.

Trying on some of the exclusive IBD merchandise at Harvard Book Store.

Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, told Berkleyside: "Five years ago, we couldn't have done this event because the bookstores wouldn't have been involved. They would have said, 'There's too much going on and we're just trying to get by.' The idea of organizing this big thing would have sounded too overwhelming."

Landon's comment reminded me of a blog post I wrote in 2006, when the outlook for indies seemed much bleaker than it does today. "Independence and dependence are not unlike Yin and Yang, dual forces that make the world work only when they are in harmony," I noted then. "Indies are dependent. Indies depend upon their communities to value and sustain them. Their claims to independence are a meaningless whimper without the support of local residents and businesses.... Indies depend upon other bookstores, through personal friendships as well as regional and national organizations, to give them a sense that they are not fighting this battle alone and that the war is not lost."

Nine years later, I like the Point Reyes Books word much better. Here's to a brilliantly successful Interdependent Bookstore Day tomorrow for everyone. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

Powered by: Xtenit