Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rep Night #2, Part One: The Reps Strike Back (Simon and Hachette, Fall 2010).

Our second rep night was last Sunday, October 24th. Instead of two weeks, I am reporting on it in only one. What a breakthrough!

In addition to booksellers from Next Chapter, we also hosted seven booksellers from Books and Company in Oconomowoc, including Kathy, our ex-coworker from the Brookfield Schwartz. The rep night showed she is still seemingly reading every kids book that comes out, which was reassuring. Because there were a lot of new faces, we used name tags, and conveniently enough, I had bought some particularly nice ones from Girl of All Work.

The other first for this rep night is that not every store saw the same rep for the publishers presented. In the case of Simon and Schuster, we see Leah, but the other two stores were called on by telemarketing reps (and for some reason which was surprising to me, not the same one). At Schwartz, many of the reps were not known to the booksellers anyway, and I have certainly listened to presentations from reps at regionals I didn't previously know.

The Boswellians were familiar with at least two books being talked up by Leah, as we are selling books at upcoming events. Mike Birbiglia is a quirky comic who has been featured on This American Life and various Comedy Central shows. He's at the Pabst Theater on Saturday, November 13th, at 8 PM. Tickets are $29.50 and you can buy them here. These tix do not include the book, but you can say hi to us in the lobby. The book, Sleepwalk with Me, is a collection in the Sedaris style, meaning they translate well to paper, but it helps to have Birbiglia's distinctive delivery in your head.

I could spend an entire post talking about Buddy Valastro's Cake Boss, and probably will. Let's just say that we're having a signing (no talk, no talk) on Thursday, November 11th, at 12 Noon, and this is ticketed, meaning you have to buy at least one book from us. Contact us for details. The Cake-Boss-stravaganza is Thursday, November 11th, at the Riverside. Tickets in this case range from $25.50 to $45.50 (no book) and they are available here. Oh, and there's also a Little Italy pre-theater Cake Boss dinner, and those tix are available here.

Rep night? Oh, yes, Leah's a big fan and coming to our event. You don't know what a big deal that is, unlike year's past when reps came from Chicago, Minneapolis, and even Milwaukee, our reps this week were from Indiana, Kentucky, Colorado, and New York. Such is the changing territories of reps. It says something that all the reps got permission to travel, though fortunately several were able to coordinate winter sales calls at the same time.

Having read Carlos Eire's award-winning and book-club-approved Waiting for Snow in Havana, I was interested in hearing more about his new memoir, Learning to Die in Miami. It turns out that it's not easy to adjust. If you read his other book, you know what a great writer he is.

I was just talking to one of my customers about the various updates to the Joy of Cooking. He was asking me which basic cookbooks our customers buy these days. One of the books we tend to sell is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, but perhaps his new book, The Food Matters Cookbook, will also find a seat at the basics table with its eco spin. I might go make some lentil caviar and beet tartare today, as I'm hoping not to come into the store today (Yikes!)

For kids books, I am always interested in finding out what new post-apocalyptic children's books were out there. What else could go wrong? Of the two presented, I found The Limit's premise more appealing. Families have to give up their children when they reach a certain level of debt and yes, Matt's family goes over the limit.

Randy presented books from Hachette, which for folks who don't know corporate parents, that publishers Little, Brown, and Grand Central, plus various imprints like Twelve. Randy was just in town hosting a bookseller pre-publication dinner for Benjamin Hale and The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, but that gets its own post later (I hope!)

Like Simon, several of the books presented were familiar to us from events. We had just sold books at the Riverside for David Sedaris and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, while Next Chapter is sponsoring Simple Times with Amy Sedaris at the Turner Ballroom on Sunday, November 21st, at 7:30 PM.

Randy presented just before Keith Richards' Life went on sale, and so now my presentation is mixed up with all the other things I read about this very hot book. For kids, there were new entries from Cornelia Funke (Reckless), Pseudonymous Bosch (This Isn't What it Looks Like), and Kami Garcia/Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Darkness).

I think our favorite kids book presented was Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, by Laban Carrick Hill with illustrations by Bryan Collier. This beautiful homage to a little-known South Carolina slave with a great talent was recently short-listed for the National Book Award.

That went much a bit longer than last time. I had originally said I would only talk about three titles from each presenter. I fear I am procrastinating working on the email newsletter. What think you?

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