Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Travel Day to DC, Finding a Venue for a Very Special Event with Kate Atkinson, Helping Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine.

I got up at 5:30 for the second day in a row, but this time it was to get ready for a plane trip to Washington DC. Yesterday the cause was a photo shoot at the store. I'm not giving any details yet, but it it should be very exciting.

I'm still reading Kate Atkinson's Life After Life--it is over 500 pages, after all. Just learned from Craig Poplears' Algonquin newsletter that the ABA had their first tie at #1 for April, with both Life After Life novels sharing the honors, the other one being from Jill McCorkle. I wondered how that would be resolved--there are many books with the same title, but it is unusual for said books to come out the same month.

Speaking of Indie Bound, we just got our March flyers. We continue to highlight the brochures with shout outs regarding upcoming author events. Authors featured in the March Indie Bound Flyer that have events at Boswell were Mohsin Hamid (March 8) and Jess Walter (May 8). It came out better than it looks below. We give away over 100 flyers a month. I think if I did not have authors appearing, I might do a sticker with a rec from one of my booksellers for a book we wanted to sell more of. It's a relatively cheap marketing idea. And I'm glad to say that Mel has gamely taken over making our Indie Bound shelf talkers and is just as interested as I am as to what color card stock we use each month.
I've been continuing to book spring events, and in addition to that, dealing with logistics for some of our more complicated programs. Brooke at the Milwaukee Public Library and I have been trying to find just the right venue for our "fill the shelves" fundraiser, featuring the very same Ms. Aktinson. I think we've got it ready--we'll certainly let you know. Hope you're looking for something to do in April, as I think we're closing in on 25 events for the month. 

I'm hoping we get to do some bookstore browsing this weekend. I'm pretty sure I will get my Politics and Prose fix at one point, and we're actually staying not too far from Kramerbooks. I continue to be surprised at how few indie bookstores there are in this metro area.  I suspect part of the issue is that DC is still recovering from the loss of both Olsson's and Borders, both of which had strong presences here. I also remember working with the chain of African American interest stores, which I think was called Karibu. And then there was Chapters. I know there is Busboys and Poets, but I'm curious what's in the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs and are any accessible by Metro?

Speaking of indie bookstores, our friends at Longfellow Books in Portland, had severe damage from the recent storm that blanketed the northeast. They are said to have opened today after several days, and worse than that, about half their stock was destroyed.

I've visited Longfellow a couple of times, but more than that, I've bonded with them over the years, because we both were asset purchases of one location of a larger store (Schwartz in our case, Bookland of Maine in theirs). We have shared a lot of the ups and downs of transitioning from being a cog in a large operation to running the show in a small one. It's been a great help to me to have folks who had similar experiences.

Longfellow is having a series of fundraisers over the next few weeks, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance also offers ways you can help. You can donate directly, but of course it always seems like the best way is to support the store with purchases. I just bought some autographed copies of their upcoming authors (Monica Wood, Richard Russo, Ron Currie, Jr., Bill Roorbach) to give as gifts.  Sorry about destroying the surprise, Merrill.

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