Friday, December 5, 2008

Black Wednesday, yet another post

On one hand, publishers and booksellers understand that books are a great value, and as in previous economic slowdowns, books make particularly great gifts in tough economic times. New initiatives from Random House, Penguin, and the American Booksellers Association drive home the message.

On the other hand, a lot of our friends in publishing have lost their jobs this week, and we all expect more to follow, both in publishing and bookselling. I'm part sad for everyone caught up on this, part panicky over the whole thing for others as well as myself, and it's sometimes hard to go out on the selling floor and boot myself into bookseller mode.

Then I work at the Mequon Schwartz bookshop for the day, and I talk to a lovely reader who just finished the new Michael Connelly, The Brass Verdict, and wanted the last book featuring that guy who drives around in big cars. After finding The Lincoln Lawyer, we started discussing her love of legal thrillers and the odd situation where Schwartz puts half of them in fiction and the other half in mystery. It's part tradition, part publisher labeling, and part whether there's a dead body and does the reader know who did it beforehand. We move them around periodically and someday we'll have them arranged perfectly.

Names flew about--Steve Martini, John Lescroart, Lisa Scottoline and more, but she was voracious and had tackled all I could suggest. Finally I think we hit the jackpot--John Mortimer's Rumpole series. She ended up with a copy of Rumpole and the Reign of Terror, and I told her that if she liked this one, there were more than twenty others to devour.

I know she did not need to talk to me to make this discovery. I know she didn't have to come into the shop. But she did, and we had a good time together, and it made both our days.

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