Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When my Mother Starts Talking About a Book, You Know Something is Up--On Large Print, Steve Martin and Julie Orringer

Greetings from Brookline, or should I say Bookline? I'm sure I'm the first person in recorded history to use that pun. My job, besides cooking oatmeal, was to bring my mom some books as a gift for a friend, large print please. Does she know how hard that is? It's one of the reasons, frankly, that the new news is that older customers are moving to ebook readers faster than expected. The selection of large print titles has deteriorated, and there is very little published that is beyond genre thrillers. HarperCollins aggressively publises Luxe titles into midlist, but Random House and Hachette are very selective. And Macmillan, Simon, and Penguin sell off to Gale, which usually means high prices, short discounts, and ugly covers. Let's just say we aren't their target customer.

No offense to anyone metioned here. If you feel otherwise, let me know.

So Mom gave me one request, and the other book was open for suggestion. I browsed the shelf of Brookline Booksmith and found a gem, the large-print edition of Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty. The book looks great, and Grand Central even included the color plates that are in the regular edition. It was one of our hits of the fall season, and my Mom (and likely her friend) are amenable to a little artiness. If you didn't read Mary Louise Schumacher's essay on the novel in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, you should now.

For her request, she told me that friends are beginning to talk about The Invisible Bridge. I was so excited that I started shaking. "Your friends want to read one of my favorite books of 2010?" I was ready to go out and buy five copies.

I got a little panicky as the book's paperback release is today (1/25) so maybe there wouldn't be hardcover still available. Since I know there is no large print edition of this book (it's already come up twice in the bookstore), I expected that the hardcover would be larger print than the paperback. Sure enough, when I got there, it had a staff rec, and face-out quantity. Let's hope the print suffices.

So now I'm telling you that my mother's friends are recommending The Invisible Bridge. What more do you need? Perhaps that it was Jason's favorite novel of last year. Perhaps it's me running on at the mouth about how spectactular it is. Tolstoy, I am telling you, War and Peace! Am I going to get in trouble for that? Eh, I'm just a bookselling schmo. What do I know?

There's been some tweaking of our event with Orringer, already scheduled for, well, we just found out that the exact date is up in the air*. I asked the publicist if I could partner this event with my spring book club presentation. Not that I'm worried about the crowd, but I'm always a little worried, and I want whatever it takes to get this event to the next level. I've done this event twice (with Valerie Laken and Eric Puchner) and we've had respectable turnouts both times. The other side of my diabolical plan is that I know Orringer is a big fan of at least one other book on my spring list of picks. If you were clever, you'd figure out what it is. And I know you are clever.

You also look good with that new hat. Where'd you get it?
*No, you're not hallucinating. It used to say April 7th.

No comments: