Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Washington Park Library Typos Leads to Lots of Customer Feedback, Plus a Preview of Today's Kathleen Dunn's Show on Wisconsin Public Radio Today.

To make sure I got out the email newsletter out yesterday, including Paul Geenen's event tonight (6:30 pm) at the Washington Park Library for Sherman Park: A Legacy of Diversity in Milwaukee, I wound up cutting corners on proofreading, only having two folks go through the newsletter after myself. And here's something I've learned about proofreading. Very few people (and I put myself at the top of the list here) want to check dates and details; everybody wants to tell you where to put commas. And of course whenever any of us are proofing (I proof things like the press release and event calendar for Stacie), we are juggling ten other tasks at minimum. That and my two fellow booksellers who did proof did find some major errors that we did fix. Oh, and another confession, I simply forgot to have Mel proof it, even though she was working yesterday. Oops!

Being that Tuesday morning was entirely booked, this newsletter would have either gone out last night, giving folks a full day to mark their calendar, or late this afternoon, leading to complaints from folks who didn't open their newsletter as soon as it arrived.

The problem is that after I've put eight hours or so into the newsletter (yes, that's about the minimum of how much they take to put together), my brain is too blurry to really do a good job of proofing. And because of the timeliness of the material, we simply can't depend on outsiders to look through it (thank you to the lovely folks that volunteer from time to time)*. It's really up to the folks I have working, and honestly, having caught typos and factual errors in the darndest places this year, I think that more and more, traditional media is looking more and more like a bunch of schmoes working in a bookstore.

That said, it's time to set the record straight on the Washington Park Library!
--The Finney Library, which Washington Park replaced, opened in 1953, not 2003. That was a typo pure and simple.
--All Milwaukee Public Libraries have computer stations. Washington Park is one of six libraries that have laptops for public use. In this case, it was a misunderstanding of the text, not a typo.

Thank you to Anne and Nancy and probably some folks in the future for noting the problems!

So for folks who don't get the email newsletter because:
1 You don't want it
2. You forgot to update your email address
3. Your server doesn't like our server
4. It's there, but in your Spam folder
Here's the link, but don't forget to read my corrections!

If you are reading this newsletter on the early side, I'm on Kathleen Dunn's show on Wisconsin Public Radio today, along with Hans Weyandt, bookseller/proprietor of Micawbers of St. Paul, and editor of  Read This!: Handpicked Favorites from America's Indie Bookstores.

If you haven't read the book yet or missed our event or have been hiding under a rock, Read This! collections all-time recommendations from indie bookstores around the country. Like many of us, we don't stand still. Emily Pullen is now at Word in Brooklyn instead of Skylight in Los Angeles. Neil Strandberg left Tattered Cover after many years to work for all of us at the American Booksellers Association home office.

But there are a lot of folks who've gone the other way too. Toby Cox left publishing (there are a lot of these kinds of folks floating around, including myself) to take over Three Lives in New York's Greenwich Village, which Hans touts as his favorite bookstore outside of his own. If you've been to both stores, you can see the collection. Both are small but incredibly both curated. Both have buckets of personality, and a little wit and whimsy mixed in with intellect.

And oh, Toby's list! A book that would be in my top 50, City of Your Final Destination, by Peter Cameron, is his #51. The books I haven't read are ones that make me pine to cut my bookselling hours by 3/4 and go read somewhere. And seeing Barbara Gowdy's Mister Sandman brought back surprisingly intense memories of love. I found a good quote for it on the Ingram bookseller website:

"One of the strangest--and most heartwarming--paeans to family ties you'll ever read. A+."
--Entertainment Weekly

I looked at the book, which we're not currently carrying, and thought maybe folks who liked Geek Love would go for this. And then I looked again and saw that Katherine Dunn must have written something for this edition, which came out in 2008. I really didn't see this when I had that thought. Well, maybe subconsciously...

And that's one of the reasons I never put together a top 50. As Chaka Khan once said, while hanging out with Rufus, "Once you get started, oh it's hard to stop." Not necessarily profound, but true. It's hard to remember and then it's hard to stop remembering. But it's still probably a good exercise. Do you have your top 50 of all time at hand?

Of course for this show, we'll be focusing on the top picks of 2012. But I know that callers will likely stretch the bounds a bit.

Hope you enjoy the show Here's a link to the Kathleen Dunn archives! Apologies for the typos in advance, of course.

*I should note that of course we could move up the deadlines substantially to get newsletters out with more complete proofing, which I think is more of how things go at larger bookstores, but it's probably not going to happen in the near future.

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