Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Notebook

It’s not the world’s biggest surprise, but we’ve had exactly zero responses to last Sunday’s request for suggestions for the top five American novels. You may recall we’ve been asked to participate in an American Booksellers Association survey for an upcoming PBS documentary on the subject. We’d love to have your thoughts. Go here for the questions. Sorry, though, we have no responses to share with you this week as we had promised.

Sundays we try to talk about something other than specific books. BookExpo America is coming up May 30 through June 4. If any of you would be interested in representing us at this annual convention of the publishing and bookselling world, please contact us right away. We can credential you and give you some rudimentary prep, but we can’t pay your way. By the way, historian/author and two-time National Book Award-winner David McCullough will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday, May 30 in advance of a series of walking tours by Brooklyn authors.

The U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books will be doing a promotion with independent booksellers across the country called “Independent Muggles for Harry Potter.” Beginning on April 17, Scholastic will release the first of seven questions for debate. The final question comes July 7, with the book releasing two weeks later at midnight on July 21. There’s still time to reserve your first-day copy. Call us. Our price is $19.01 ($34.99 list), and we have a limited number of the deluxe ($65) editions on a first-come, first-served basis. Still no word on the audio release. First printing of the book? Just 12 million copies.

Are you a blogger yourself? If you aren’t, you could be. We’re planning a workshop on blogging for this spring. Registration is limited to ten for this first workshop. We’re working with at least two bloggers to turn their online ouvre into a perfect-bound book, in association with Flood Crest Press. It’s a great way to write fiction or nonfiction. Call or e-mail the store if you’d be interested in the workshop.

A.H. – As we work on your “guru” book, I think we should blog chapters before we go to press. Then we’ll submit the book as an entry in the Blooker Prize competition. (A “blook” is a book that results from a successful blog.)

Hey, you’re online already. Take a minute to discover my friend Ruthanne Wolfe’s niece as she goes on casting calls in Hollywood this season. Go to and type in “Traci Ann Wolfe” into the search window. Learn more about this stunning actress and follow her career. Ruthanne and husband John Gonder are great friends of the store and I thank her for alerting us to her relative’s success.

Retail sales at bookstores were down in January for the seventh straight month. Compared to January of 2006, this year’s sales were down about 1 percent.

Colleague Arlene Lynes of Woodstock, Ill., reports that her bookshop was cited as one of the notable features that enabled that city to be named one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations of 2007 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Lynes told Bookselling This Week that she regards the town council’s recent decision to allocate $64,000 to promote tourism in the downtown business area as a reason to feel tremendous optimism for the future of Woodstock’s local businesses. Woodstock is 45 miles from Chicago. Arlene’s store, Read Between the Lynes, has been in business for 20 months, slightly fewer than our own.

Book Sense is a joint marketing program for the independent bookstores in the American Booksellers Association. In addition to the Book Sense Bestseller List, which now appears in The Tribune and The Evening News, we publish a series of specific genre bestseller lists. You can take a look at these here. We are a reporting store, of course, and typically we carry almost all of those books.

Previously on the marquee!
Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel ISBN 9780743284974
Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle In American Politics by Earl Black and Merle Black ISBN 9780743262064
Dog Years: A Memoir by Mark Doty ISBN 9780061171000
The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes ISBN 9780061146077
God & Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now by John Dominic Crossan ISBN 9780060843236
The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho ISBN 9780916291525

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