Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On the Show Floor at the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Convention

It turns out that we could not get late checkout at the Radisson because there was a lot of turnover at the hotel. I hoped it would help that there was a mix-up in our reservation (not our fault to my knowledge) and we had several problems with our key cards not working, but no deal. Taylor Swift was playing across the street that night--our parking garage also warned us that the rate would increase from $5 to $20 if we stayed longer. We didn't. But as sort of a celebration, we heard Swift's "You Belong with Me" about a dozen times on the trip.

Convention show floor time--I like being a conventioneer. In my typical way, I spend way too much time at the first booths I come to and then speed through the rest. First up, John Mesjak (he of the blog "My Three Books" only I think it's "3") who shows me several things I hadn't yet seen. I go off on this speech about this particular slot on our impulse table for an inexpensive photography book with a twist--basically I want the next Little People in the City (we're going to hit 50 copies of this book before the end of the year). He shows me one that I think might work (it's historical photos of immersion baptism) and one that I think won't (it's a very sophisticated take on maps, but I have trouble seeing the maps in a good number of them and I think it will go over too many heads to sell more than a few). I'll let you know whether I can convince Jason to try this, and whether I can continue to keep it on the table if it sells well.

At the Wisconsin Historical Society Press booth, I spoke to Melanie, who came to the store for our Flavors of Wisconsin event, and recently helped us put together an event for Brian Leahy Doyle for Encore: The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses. You may have heard him last week on Wisconsin Public Radio; his event at Boswell is on Friday, October 23rd, at 7 PM. We discussed a few other books, and Melanie's boss (boy, I hope her name is Kathy. Where the heck are my notes?) showed me the cookbook Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe, which is selling quite well.

This is a low-key affair, and that's good. Keep it cheap and there's less to cut when publishers are balancing the budget. There's a selection of books on proppers (you're not supposed to take these) and some piles of readers' copies (you're allowed to take one, but if you take one of everything, to me it looks a little grabby). Here's a little bit of the Simon display. We've been selling Nicolson Baker's novel The Anthologist quite well. I also picked up Amy Sohn's Prospect Park West, noting that now that all the writers have moved to Brooklyn, that's where all the novels seem to be set, rather unabashedly, I might add.

I wound up at the Macmillan book, where I said hello to my friends Anne and Ken. I had been eyeing Jason's copy of Andre Aciman's novel Eight White Nights. I had so enjoyed Call Me by Your Name that I was willing to dig into it right away, especially after I packed up David Rhodes' Driftless in a rather inaccessible pocket of my luggage. In the end, I had to return to Rhodes for my in-store book club, so I was stranded between night number one and two.

Oh, and I can't forget the Great Lakes Reader. Almost immediately upon entering the floor, Deb Covey of Joseph-Beth eased a copy into my hands. This is a regional version of State by State, edited by HarperCollins' Carl Lennertz, though the book is published by their distributed line Delphinium (which recently pusblished Susan Engerberg's Above the Houses.) Oh, and Deb has an essay in the book, "Ohio Nights". Read more here.

Let me just say that this is a very minor portion of the trade show. I missed the rep-around lunch, the kids' breakfast, and many, many workshops. Next year I will be better, I promise, though it may be at MBA, depending on the wedding schedule.

1 comment:

Andre said...

And? Did you at least get to look at the first paragraph?