Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Gift Post--I Shop for Cards at a Wonderful Book store

After Jim Higgins' kind words in the Journal Sentinel's Recommended Reading blog (much thanks!), I realized I better make sure that I do a gift post today.  That was a bit of a worry, since I have so many other things to write about.  We've got several great events coming up where I loved the book (Dean Bakopoulos, Danielle Sosin), plus I've been away for a week, so what can I say about gift items?

I did see some good stuff at the show. Several vendors we sell (Blue Orange, Out of Print) made their first showings at Book Expo this year, and several others (Folkmanis, Peter Pauper, Moleskine) had new product for bookstores to see.  The big news at Moleskine, by the way, is that red and sky blue volants are discontinued, replaced by yellow orange and two shades of green (darker than the old pastels that were discontinued last year).  Yes, I take this stuff seriously.

There are not too many card vendors that show at Book Expo, and I had missed the yumtastic New York stationery show by a few weeks.  In New York, however, it's easy to get ideas for new product--just walk into any cool store.  They aren't so happy when you write stuff down, but I tend to buy my samples, as I like a good card, and that seems like a win-win for everyone.

Having spent my last few shows wandering the New York bookstores, I asked Amie if she'd accompany me on the only substantial free block of time to see the quickly-turning-into-a-legend Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene.  I know there are other great stores that have opened (Word, Jenn!) but Greenlight is on the C line and our hotel was on the C line, and it really was kismet, especially when we got out of the subway at Lafayette and my stomach smelled New York style pizza.

Two slices of Sicilian from Not Ray's** later, we went into a brightly lit mini-temple of reading, with piles of paperbacks, solid staff recs, friendly booksellers (Angel, Pat) and bookcases that were eerily reminiscent of Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum. Oh, plus our old pal Alexis, new friend Rebecca, and a Norton rep. I had a very strong fondness for Greenlight already, partly because they started up just about when we did, and partly because I had been following Jessica (did get to see her on the convention floor!) and her business plan very closely. It was a great idea to share it with the public, and even greater that Greenlight was the result.

So I'd normally talk about books, but my eye was drawn to their great collection of cards. No pedestrian selection for them.  Lots of local lines (including Seltzer, which Ididn't know was borough born), letter press, postcards, all with a grace and whimsy that I love.  Rebecca, who buys the cards, offered me lots of great ideas, in addition to us oohing and ahhing over several of the designs. I am thinking of forming the Loyal Order of Bookseller Card Obsessives.  Details in another post, I guess.

So there I am running around, a bit loud, yapping about anything that catches my eye, picking up a signed copy of Alison Espach's said-to-be-scrumptious novel The Adults* (we started with one, and sold...way more than one...wish it got a full year in hardcover so I could hand-sell it at Christmas, but the paperback is in September) when Rebecca says something like "You should meet Jenny" so I turn around and yes, it's Jennifer Egan, in to sign some stock.

Scream, scream, scream***. Et cetera.  Ms. Egan remembered walking into the Iron Block (downtown) Schwartz to sign stock for The Invisible Circus.  On top of all her talent, a good memory.

Two signed hardcovers of A Visit from the Goon Squad (Amie got one too, it's also available in paperback) later, our cloth bags were full, and we headed back to the C train, but not before Rebecca led us to one last treat, a hole-in-the-wall French bakery in Clinton called Patisserie.  Maccarons too? For a side trip, this turned out to be a whole lotta highlight.  And it worked as a gift blog post.  Win win.

*Don't forget.  Many titles now available as Google ebooks at the same price as the competition.  You can download these titles from us at our website!  I know, I'm surprised too.

**The pizza was fine. But I'm sorry, that place tisn't "romantic", as claimed in the Yelp review.

***Too much caffeine. I was running a sleep deficit and made up the difference with many cups of black tea.

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