Since we announced our closing to our bookstore family about 36 hours ago, and then to the world at large, my head has been spinning. I spent the day on the floor of our Downer Avenue store, and then headed over in the evening to spend some time at Shorewood and hear Janice Y. K. Lee read from and talk about The Piano Teacher.
40 people attended, very respectable for a first novel, albeit a very good one, and we sold books to almost half the attendees. In the world of tours, if you can get that plus some publicity at each stop, plus some momentum that helps the book sell in the future, even well into the paperback, well that's a good start. As I mentioned, the book's only out for a week. We didn't have that many more people for David Wroblewski when he toured for The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. That was also a very early event.
Note to author and publishers, we'd love for him to come back to Milwaukee anytime.
When I wasn't talking to customers (and thank you for all your kind words and hope for the future, mixed with grieving and sadness for what we are losing), I was on the phone with publishers, both sales reps and folks in New York, talking about the transition from Schwartz Bookshops to Boswell Book Company (my store in Milwaukee) and Next Chapter (Lanora's in Mequon). Sorry about the long sentence there.
Most publishers assured me that events scheduled would continue to be held. We expect some changes, but if you ask me, I wouldn't be surprised if event attendance improved over the next month. We certainly saw a lot of old friends in the shops whom we hadn't seen in a while.
I even spoke to a few authors, and at least one has promised to organize her visit for her new book around Boswell's grand opening. Hurray, an event booking! Sort of.
I'm off to talk to more folks today. Meanwhile, go watch the inauguration.
Chris Barton talks with Anne Bustard
14 hours ago