Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Ex-President, an Ex-Book Reader (Non E), and Two Ex-Spouses of Well-Known People. Sadly,this Blog is not a Great Source for Gossip.

Last night Stacie and I went to sell books at Bacchus for the David Tanis dinner and Heart of the Artichoke (we have signed copies). Mr. Tanis was very charming, and Stacie took a poll of attendees to see which course they liked best. It turned out to be the mushrooms, which were surprisingly delightful. The pork with hominy also got a lot of raves; one diner (well, Stacie) said it tasted akin to brisket.

My mushroom surprise was running into my once bookselling colleague Anne L., who was attending with her husband, and I also got to meet her daughter. We keep in second-degree touch, as a number of the booksellers I worked with at Mequon in the nineties are still close, but it was very nice to be able to chat in person. It made my evening!

In the course of running around the store (I was also gathering up a box of Chanukah and other Jewish-themed and Jewish-penned books for a table of kids books at Thursday's JCC event with Laurel Snyder, who wrote Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher), and realized that it was Tuesday, and there were some high-profile books out. Here are just short takes on a few.

As I read my print New York Times, I couldn't help noticing the big ad for Full Dark, No Stars, the new collection of novellas from Stephen King. He's a strong early adapter to e-readers, which is not too surprising. It's also posited that authors who sell well at the mass merchandise channel might have stronger movement towards e-readers. At least for his last book, we had a slightly stronger sale than some bestselling writers, partly because we have King readers on staff. And it's not that indies can't sell spec stuff--I trade bestseller lists with a handful of other indies around the country, and we all had Towers of Midnight, the new Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan book at #1. Jason is hoping these new readers will convert to Sanderson's wonderful books, but I don't remember which one I'm supposed to recommend.
Here's Stephen King's recent interview in the Wall Street Journal on format issues.

One odd thing about George W. Bush's Decision Points--if you search by his name, it doesn't easily come up in our database. Conspiracy? Don't blame us. We just buy a service. A lot of people write to me and complain about the wrong cover or other issues when they search our website. We not only don't control the search enginge, we can't (at least at this time) add anything to it. I checked our wholesaler database, and it does come up 12th, just after some anti-Bush, analyzing Bush, relative of Bush books, plus the limited edition and the floor display of his new book. Very odd, I'm sure that will right itself eventually. So yes, we're carrying the book.

We already got a blowup for Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing, and yes, that pulled someone into the store asking about it. One would have to follow up I Feel Bad About my Neck--the legions of readers on that book probably demand more. Anyone who complains about email is alight in my book. Now I'm waiting for an essay, "Email brightens my day--I wish I got more."

And finally (no, not the last book coming out, but honestly, I have other stuff to do today) there is Luka and the Fires of Life, Salman Rushdie's sort of bookend to Haroun and the Sea of Stories (all these selections are sort of bookends, including Bush's, as his is perhaps to Ms. Bush's earlier release). Rushdie wrote the earlier book for his ten-year-old son. I suppose this was written for another child, as Luka is the said younger brother of Haroun.

I wish we were selling more bookends, but I can only hope that the next few weeks of sale will make me happy on that front.

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