Notes: Bookstore Map; Vertigo Alert; Candidates' Book Faves
Congratulations to the New England Children's Bookselling Advisory group at the New England Independent Booksellers Association, which has completed the Interactive Author Touring Map. The map, part of the NEIBA website, is a resource for people visiting or researching New England bookstores with strong children's specialties. Stores are indicated with initials on the map; clicking on the initials brings up store websites.
"It's been a thoroughgoingly crappy year for local booksellers--first Karibu, then Olsson's," observed Washington City Paper in its report that Vertigo Books
had posted a request on its website for customers to "vote with your
dollars now if you value our local economy and this store."
Bridget Warren, Vertigo's co-owner, told Washington City Paper that, "as far as cost savings . . . 'anything we can cut has pretty much been cut.' So she and co-owner Todd Stewart will look to see how the Christmas sales season pans out. And though she doesn't anticipate Vertigo closing its doors, the store's blog post was intended to deal clearly with people about how dire the stakes are."
"There was a sense of disappointment and dismay at the way Karibu and Olsson's closed down," she said. "I wanted people to be on alert."
We offer a hearty welcome back (after a two-year hiatus) to Dennis Johnson's legendary MobyLives, one of the original, and best, literary blogs in the book world. "That whale is still out there, man!" and it's living at the new website for Melville House Publishing.
CBS News anchor Katie Couric asked both John McCain and Barack Obama to name their favorite books--a formidable question for any of us. The Christian Science Monitor reported that their "choices are illuminating--and yet at the same time completely unsurprising. Both candidates stuck with American classics, although of different generations. McCain says his favorite book is Ernest Hemingway's 1940 Spanish civil war novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. Barack Obama's favorite is Toni Morrison's 1977 novel Song of Solomon."
The Guardian showcased some of the repackaged titles that readers of George Murray's Bookninja blog sent in response to this challenge: "Are top novelists being rebranded to meet the purchasing habits of an embiggened sector of stupid readers? I propose we hold a contest here. It's been a while. And you probably all have Photoshop by now. So take your favourite literary novelist and 'rebrand' one of their titles to appeal to more popular sectors: chicklit, thriller, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, celebrity kids' book, etc."
"Stephen King, the most famous writer in the world, picked up my book because he didn't like the cover," said Mischa Berlinski in a USA Today piece recounting the moment last year when King, while browsing in a bookstore, happened to see "Berlinski's debut, Fieldwork, a murder mystery set in Thailand. King hated the jacket but loved the book; he praised it in Entertainment Weekly. Then it became a 2007 National Book Award finalist. Wednesday, Berlinski, 35, was among 10 promising writers awarded $50,000 by the Whiting Foundation. (See more about the Whiting Awards below.)
Effective January 1, George Carroll of Redsides Publishing Services is adding the University of Chicago Press, Northwestern University Press and the University of Hawaii Press to his current representation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. He has represented all three presses for many years in the Pacific Northwest and has worked with the University of Chicago Press since he started as an independent book rep 25 years ago. Carroll has recently shifted his focus from general trade publishers to academic, environmental and university presses. "I'd rather not be remembered as the guy who sold the book on different ways to make toast or stuff to paste on your cat's head," he said.