Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are You Contemplating Suicide But Need That Final Push?

Then tighten your noose and read these:

Via AP: December Consumer Confidence Drops to All-Time Low
NEW YORK – Consumer confidence hit an all-time low in December, dropping unexpectedly in the face of layoffs and deteriorating markets for housing, stocks and other investments..."Deepening job insecurity and falling asset prices are outweighing any optimism consumers may have derived from falling gas prices," said Dana Saporta, U.S. economist at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort.
(To read the entire article, click here.)

Via Bloomberg.com: Holiday Sales Drop to Force Bankruptcies, Closings
Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. retailers face a wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers starting next month as holiday sales are shaping up to be the worst in 40 years. Retailers may close 73,000 stores in the first half of 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
(My, you really are hungry for the sweet smell of formaldehyde, aren't you? Go on, then. Click here for the whole thing.)

Book News, In Brief

2009 marks Edgar Allan Poe's bicentennial, and cities up and down the east coast are hosting celebrations in honor of the notoriously anti-social artist. To see what sorts of unintentionally ironic events are taking place in your area, click here.

The holidays are the busiest time of year for newspaper obituary writers, but ego-stroking technologies are beginning to lighten their workload. Inspired by Art Buchwald's "I'm Art Buchwald and I just died" video and Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, homemade, online obits are quickly becoming The Next Big Thing. Sandra Martin, obituarist for The Boston Globe, has written an article about these D.I.Y. R.I.P.s.

Barack Obama will use Abraham Lincoln's Bible for his swearing in. According to BlackVoices.com, this is big news, as "the Lincoln Inaugural Bible has not been used in any other inauguration. It is a powerful symbol of Lincoln's strength and wisdom during a time when the survival of the United States of America was at stake." But over at the U.S. News & World Report, Clark Evans of the Library of Congress takes a more Antiques Roadshow approach: "This Bible is not distinguished unto itself. It's not a rare-edition Bible. An 1853 Oxford Bible with no historical associations would get $30 or $40 today. But by association, it becomes priceless. There is no way to put a dollar sign on it." (Thanks to RareBookNews.com for the links!)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review: The Kiss Murder

Rambling, One Sentence Pitch: A thriller by genre, a character piece at heart, Mehmet Murat Somer's The Kiss Murder is a week in the life of an unnamed drag queen who looks like Audrey Hepburn and kickboxes like Tony Ja.
A Second Rambling Sentence, This One Attempting To Act As Plot Summation: When one of the girls at 'Audrey's' nightclub goes missing, our hero/ine finds him/herself thrust into a mystery involving right wing politicians, bored housewives, catty co-workers and lustful cabbies.
More Rambling, Only Now It's Being Used To Try And Convince You To Buy This Book Instead Of The Millions Of Others Vying For Your Recession Era Dollars: There's murder, of course. And sex. These are the stock and trade of mysteries, after all. But where The Kiss Murder subverts the genre is in its exploration of the Cinderella-like lives of the club queens who must make it home before sunrise lest their facial hair grow too thick. Somer has created a diverse community of outlandish outcasts who, when not fighting against their repressive society, are cat-fighting mercilessly amongst themselves. So bitchy are these bitches that even the sudden disappearance of their cross-dressing co-worker fails to unite them. In fact, it makes things worse. Old rivalries re-arise, dead drama is resurrected, and what might have been a simple whodunit becomes a labyrinthine journey through the backstreets and bachelor pads of Istanbul.
In Closing: In Turkey, Somer's anonymous, Audrey Hepburn lookalike is already the star of her own series of books. Reading The Kiss Murder, it's easy to see why. Not only is she the classic, accidental action hero, but she's got enough emotional baggage and quirky acquaintances to fill a dozen novels. And then there's the cross-over appeal. Beneath 'Audrey's' fantastic facade of witty one liners and stylish ensembles, she's all of us, male and female.

Book News, In Brief

Why does this New England resident regularly read The Sydney Morning Herald's Books section? Because The Boston Globe would never open an article on poet Robert Burns with a line like this: His love might have been like a red, red rose but it turns out that Robert Burns may have been suffering from a rather nasty STD, according to a collection of explicit writing apparently by Scotland's national bard, due to go on sale in January. (To read the entire article, click here.)

Semi-related (in that it mentions a poem by Burns) is The Guardian UK's piece on the various New Year's traditions that have been immortalized in verse. Everything from leaving a lump of coal at your neighbors' doors to feeding an ear of corn to your horse is included.

The NYTimes blames the buying and selling of used books online for the the deaths of neighborhood bookstores, publisher's backlists and author's paychecks. (Yet this doesn't stop the article's author from making repeated plugs for the wonderful world of one cent books. Weird.)

Last but not least, a killer time killer: Links to hundreds of audio recordings of authors reading their own works.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Killer Kwanzaa! Freakin' Awesome Festivus, Etc., Etc...

We've gone into holiday hibernation and won't be posting again until Monday the 29th. In the interim, feel free to fill the comments section of this "post" with random thoughts, deliberated diatribes, and ways you think we could improve our bookstore's blog.
Happy Everything Involving Presents, Friends & Family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book News, In Brief

O...M...G. The next generation of hard SF writers is honing their craft the old fashioned way: In the pages of Teen Ink Magazine.

A new study finds that of the 13 million songs available for purchase on iTunes, 10 million weren't downloaded once. Needless to say, this doesn't bode well for publishers hoping e-books will breathe new life into niche titles.

Then again, perhaps "niche titles" weren't what Apple was planning on pimping. At least not "niche titles" with "objectionable content." Via iLounge: Apple recently rejected an iPhone-based version of a book because it contained foul language. Citing a clause in the iPhone SDK that states “applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement (sic) may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users. For something so wordy, it sure is vague.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Inkwell Michelle's 30 Second Book Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The charm and grace of this debut novel decisively made it my favorite recommendation of the summer. Set just after the end of World War II, English writer Juliet Ashton is fretfully seeking a topic for her next book. When she receives a mysterious letter from a stranger who found her name in a book by Charles Lamb, not only does it solve her writer's block, it introduces her to the quirky inhabitants of the island of Guernsey. Juliet finds solace in the stories of the inhabitants of Guernsey which was occupied for five years by the Germans during WWII. The novel is strikingly told through letters between the characters, and each voice is distinct and amusing. Guernsey is a loving ode to the transformative power of literature which can reveal hidden truths and help us through the darkest days.

Go, Look!

RocketBomber.com (their unofficial motto: “We Read Boring Corporate Reports SEC Filings so you don’t have to!“) has put up an extensive analysis of what went wrong with Borders in the past few years, and what the teetering giant is currently doing to try and right itself. It's an interesting, informative read, and the author does a nice job of reflecting the fears of those inside the company -- from the boardroom fat cats all the way down to the "kids in college working nights and weekends for beer-and-comic-book money."

(Thanks to Journalista! for the link.)

Book News, In Brief

Obama chose poet Elizabeth Alexander to speak at his inauguration. Clinton chose Maya Angelou, then Miller Williams. JFK apparently kicked the whole trend off when he picked Robert Frost to recite The Gift Outright. Oh, and George W. Bush didn't have a poet at either of his inaugurations. So what does a president's pick of poets say about them? The Guardian UK speculates.

It's time to move your steamy Gavroche/Jean Valjean fanfic off of Slashfic.org and onto Xlibris Print On Demand. A French court court ruled Friday that unauthorized sequels to Victor Hugo's Les Miserables are legal. (Note to local authors: Don't even think about it...)

Authorities have accused a 43-year-old woman of embezzling $350,000 from a Raleigh, NC independent bookstore between 2001 and 2008. $350K? In seven years?! We wish our bookstore was successful enough to make such crimes possible.

Ah, here's something more a bit more realistic: A what-to-do-with-your-books-when-your-bookstore-goes-out-of-business-article. (Thanks to RareBookNews.com for the link!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book News, In Brief

It's perhaps the grimmest Top 5 List you'll read this year, but it's also a fitting tribute to some good writers. Via USA Today: The publishing world lost five celebrated writers in 2008. Their books will live after them...
(Click here to see who.)

Nothing succeeds like success...and graphically detailed autopsies. Via CNN.com: When Patricia Cornwell began writing thriller novels, she ruled the world of forensic science...Now the author is bombarded with CSI-like information from every side -- from Bones to Forensic Files to, well, CSI.
(Click here for the grisly details.)

Remember the day after the election, when the media claimed that the USA was now a post-racial society? And then do you remember the day after that, when they had to try and find a way to spin the Springfield, MA church burning and the white-on-black violence that occurred the night of the election? Well, it took seven weeks, but the papers are finally beginning to return to their senses. Via TheWashingtonPost.com: In all likelihood, prejudice, intolerance and nationalism will...be with us always. But what, you ask, does any of this have to do with books? Read on, my friends, read on: And two new slim volumes -- both remarkably thoughtful and compressed, both by extraordinary writers, and both addressing the gaps between disparate cultures -- will just as likely continue to remain relevant and timely.
(To find out which "two slim volumes" they're referring to, click here.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clements, a.k.a. Li'l Twain

Go, Look: Corpus Libris

From the C.L. blog:
Corpus Libris began as a fun little photo essay on a Thursday night while working at Skylight Books in Los Angeles. As we kept going and going, I realized that many, many more people could enjoy and create similar photographs. The possibilities are practically endless! So, send me your Corpus Libris (body/book) photos, and perhaps I'll post them here.

(Well, what are you waiting for? Go, Look! And while you're there, see if you can't find this week's guest columnist, AutumnBottom. She's the one who tipped me off to this sweet site.)

Book News, In Brief

Booksellers: It's time to dig out the passwords to your old ebay seller accounts. BookFinder.com has posted the Top 10 Out-of-Print Books in America. There's gold in them thar stacks!

Trust me, I'm as sick of these year-end round-ups as the rest of you. But The Best News Corrections of 2008? That's something worth linking to. (Thanks to the Bookninja for the heads-up.)

Bilious b*tch Ann Coulter is autographing a limited number of copies of her new book, Guilty. All you have to do is order it via WorldNetDaily, and the Far Right's answer to Oprah will personalize it for you. I'm ordering a copy this afternoon, on the proviso that she make it out to 'All My Friends at Planned Parenthood.' I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time's 2008 Person of the Year? An Author.

Click here to find out who.

Book News, In Brief

A personal message to our valued customers: Try this, and we'll show you the door. Via Forbes.com: Haggling is no longer limited to used car lots...Retail prices are an artificial, arbitrary number. Ticket prices are not ordained by some almighty being. They are created by humans. Anything that results from a negotiation is negotiable.

Q: How is it that while book sales are down, poetry prospers? A: Filthy rich philanthropists. Via the AP: Poets & Writers, a nonprofit literary organization, has received a $2 million donation to support its Jackson Poetry Prize, a $50,000 award founded in 2007 for emerging American poets...The money comes from the Liana Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in N.J. and co-managed by poet Susan Jackson.

John Updike has written a promotional blurb for the first of a series of 500-word erotic e-book offerings. While Updike's 'elder statesman' status makes him an awkward choice, there's another, even less flattering reason he might want to refrain from putting his name on porn. Via The Guardian UK: What sets the story apart from other moby-lit offerings is the seal of approval from John Updike...Coincidentally or not, Updike last month won a lifetime award for Bad Sex in Fiction.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oy vey! Hanukkah is Only Five Days Away!

Hanukkah starts this Sunday at sundown. Have you bought your Jewish friends their gifts yet? We Chosen Ones don't want to wait 'til the 25th for our presents any more than you want to wait 'til the 29th* for yours. But you jolly Gentiles needn't despair. (Despair is our thing!) Books Etc. has put together a list of Hanukkah Gifts for Adults.** You use this, and you'll go from insensitive shmoiger to goen Goy -- instantly.

*The 29th is the last day of Hanukkah, y'all.
** Don't worry about our kids. They're easy. They want video games, just like the uncircumcised ones.

10 Tips from a Former Traveling Sales Rep
...Part 2!

If you missed the first half of AutumnBottom's epic, two part guest column, click here. And shame on you for arriving late to the party.

The Final Five

-Sales Pitch-
We reps think it's wonderful when buyers have looked at the catalogue before we come in and you already have an idea of the titles that interest you and the numbers you might want to order. It's amazingly, wonderful helpful. That said, stay flexible. Or at least give the appearance of flexibility. We've worked hard on our sales pitches and, chances are, the books that we actually HAVE a pitch for are important. It's just nice to have a receptive audience.

Everyone loves to complain. I'd say it's the "great unifier" because nothing brings people together like kvetching. The company I worked for had a very...unique catalogue. It was about 16 inches tall, 10 inches wide, and 200 pages of flimsy newsprint. Putting a positive spin on it, I'd say something like, "It certainly is easy to spot!" But really, it was just a gigantic pain in the ass, and my buyers never hesitated to let me know.
Chances are, if you have to say to your rep, "I don't know if anyone has ever complained about this..." they have heard it a million, billion, trillion times over. At every single meeting I got a complaint about the catalogue. No, wait, I lie. There was one meeting with a design store in Beverly Hills where the buyer loved our catalogue. Silly Californians.
I'm sorry, where was I going? Oh yes. Complain about the catalogue to me all you want. Complain about having to pay freight or how we print our company's name on the cover of every book, but please, don't punish me for it. As a lowly rep I simply do not have the power to change these things. My buyers telling me that they wouldn't order books until we changed the catalogue just made me think they were jerks. But don't tell them I said that.

-Keep Your Appointments-
I toyed with the idea of making this heading "Keep your *fucking* appointments" to drive home the importance of this topic. As a traveling rep I cannot even begin to describe how annoying it is to take the time and effort to fly somewhere 1,000 miles from home and have the person you were supposed to meet cancel on you when you show up at their store. I completely understand cases of sickness or other emergencies, but when it's simply because you forgot to tell the babysitter that you needed her until 4 pm.... I had one guy in LA who would cancel on me almost every time and it was always because he'd already gone home and didn't want to fight traffic to come back "so maybe we can meet next time you're in LA". Gah!!!!

-Pass Along the Kind Words-
There is almost nothing better than praise. I loved, reveled really, in being told by my customers that they loved meeting with me. I loved that they felt taken care of by me and that I cared about them and their businesses. It was even better when I heard from my boss that one of my bookstores had taken the time to call New York to let her know that I was doing a good job. Something like that goes a long way in assuring job security and letting the muckity-mucks know that the people in the field are taking care of the customers.

-Always Use a GPS-
So this one has no bearing on you, the bookstore, whatsoever. But should a new traveling sales rep happen upon this list, this is the most important thing ever. Buy a GPS and take it with you wherever you go. Expense it, write it off on your taxes, or just eat the cost of it, but it is the most valuable tool in your arsenal.
The first three or four trips I went on, I printed out a veritable encyclopedia of MapQuest Maps and spent all my time in the rental car with my head buried in those print-outs and a map provided by the rental car company. I didn't see any of LA, Calgary, or Portland. But on a fateful trip to Denver I was offered a GPS unit at the rental counter and my life changed. I was able to drive around the city admiring the buildings and the mountains and avoiding pedestrians while a pleasant Englishwoman fed me turn by turn directions. I stopped at Best Buy on my way home from the airport and picked up one to take with me wherever I went.
It made my travels so much easier knowing that when I stepped off an airplane in a strange city I could just plug in my little friend (God that sounds dirty) and I could navigate the city like a native. My greatest fear while traveling was not that the planes would crash and burn or my buyers would block the doorways of their stores (that did happen to a fellow rep of mine) but that I would forget my GPS at home and be completely, utterly lost. See what technology hath wrought?! Anyway. GPS is a gift from God. Go buy one.

Again, if you dug what Autumn wrote,
PLEASE CHECK OUT HER LIVEJOURNAL! Homegirl is mad funny and she posts regularly. Oh, and if you work in a bookstore, make sure you print this out and show it to your travelling sales reps. It'll make them feel loved.

Book News, In Brief

Local city makes good. Boston has been named one of The 3 Best Cities for Bookworms. MSNBC explains why.

Bottomless Belly Button author/artist Dash Shaw has been crowned one of The Top 100 People of 2008 by USA Today. Pop Candy's Whitney Matheson has the accompanying interview.

Dorothy Sterling, author of perennial classroom favorite, Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman, died December 1st at her home in Welfleet, MA. The self-described "accidental historian" was 95.

The Washington Post pulls no punches with this one: Most Textbooks Should Just Stay On the Shelf. This is a follow-up to an article they did about the $8 billion-a-year textbook industry's unwillingness to include any science breakthroughs post-Einstein.

Monday, December 15, 2008

10 Tips from a Former Traveling Sales Rep

Ah, a guest column. These are always fun. Fun for me, the blogger, because I get to slack off in my duties. Fun for you, the reader, because my shtick is getting stale and y'all have been craving something better...you ungrateful bastards. Anyway, today's column was written by former traveling sales rep and current bookseller AutumnBottom. (That's her LiveJournal name, anyway. Witness Protection rules prohibit us from divulging her true identity.) If you like what you read here, make sure to check out her LJ. She's funny as f*ck and a brand new mom. Oh, and she's got cool hair, too. The trifecta!

Autumn's caveat: I was only a sales rep for 1.5 years with one smallish publisher, so I can't say for sure if this list would apply to a seasoned veteran of Random House or Simon & Schuster. Besides, I wasn't a particularly successful rep having had a bit too much empathy to push hard for the big sales. But anyway....

- Sales Numbers-
As reps, we're the low-man on the sales chain totem pole which means that we report to sales managers who, in turn, report to points higher on. I was constantly struggling with trying to please my bosses whose sales mantra was "Don't take no for an answer," and trying to maintain my trusting relationships with my bookstores. I guess what I'm trying to say is when your rep is trying to convince you to take a display with 20 copies of a $50 book and seems to keep circling back around to it after you thought you'd moved on, it's because of the pressure from "on high" and not because your rep is an asshole.

Ask your rep for sample copies. Always. It never hurts to ask and, more often than not, they can get it for you. And, as was often the case with me, remind your rep about your request after a couple of weeks if you still haven't seen your freebie. It's totally not that we don't like you. It's just that we're busy people and things sometimes slip through the cracks.

Being a traveling sales rep is a lonely, lonely experience. It only took one week of business travel for the luster to wear off. Sitting in a restaurant by yourself is fun on occasion but when you do it for two to three weeks out of every month.... I was eternally grateful for the few buyers that I became friends with and could count on socializing outside of a business context with when away from home. If you like your rep, and you're willing, invite them out for a beer after work. They'll love you for it and be even more willing to go the extra mile for you.

-High Heels and Weak Arms-
I am all of 4 feet 11 inches tall. For my job I carted around a suitcase filled with 60 lbs of art and architecture books. By the time I finished hauling it out of the trunk of my rental car, dragging it through the gravel of the parking lot, and bouncing over the sidewalk into a store, the last thing I wanted to do was carry it up three flights to the buying office. If you are a brawny buyer and your rep happens to be wearing high heels or shops in the petite department please, please, please, offer to carry their suitcase.

-Free Lunches-
One of the major perks of being a buyer is having your rep take you out to lunch. There is nothing like free food in the middle of your day! However, if you've only bought three books out of the catalogue, for the love of Pete, don't order the lobster in truffle sauce. I'm not saying you need to satisfy yourself with the bar nuts, but try to order according to...well...your order.

Oh, come now. You didn't think I was going to give you all of Autumn's awesomeness in one fell swoop, did you? And rob myself of a second day of slacking off? Not a chance. If you want to read The Final Five Tips from a Former Traveling Sales Rep, your punk asses are gonna have to come back here tomorrow. Until then, you can visit Autumn here.

Added on 12/16: Link to part 2

Book News, In Brief
(now with editor's notes!)

Dear Bobby Brown: Don't be cruel. Yes, it's your prerogative, but after building a buzz with those juicy, leaked portions of your autobiography, do you really think that anyone's going to buy a re-written, scandal-free edition?
(Editor's note: Wait, where's the Humpin' Around reference I asked for? That song is the bomb, yo.)

It's like the snake eating its tail...or something like that. For those who like to read about reading, USA Today has five recommendations for books about books.
(Editor's note: And don't forget about Inkwell Michelle's positive review of Shelf Life by Suzanne Strempek Shea. It's a book about bookselling, so technically its a case of 'the snake eating the snake handler'...or something like that.)

Enraged by the fact that "in 2007, one of every fifteen hardcover novels sold was a James Patterson title," Cleveland.com decided to "dig beyond the lists of what's selling the best to find what's best to read." Okay, so it's actually just another Best Of list, but at least they're honest about their superiority complex.
(Editor's note: Cleveland.com?! What, was TheMiddleOfNowhere.org down for repairs? The NYTimes just posted their official, year-end Best Of book list. You might've mentioned this instead.)

Yesterday's Telegraph UK had an interesting article about the mass library closings currently taking place in England. My fiscally-conscious first reaction was, "Those lucky British bookstores..." Then it hit me, with no libraries around to infect kids with the reading virus, there will be far fewer book buyers in the years to come. Now my fiscally conscious conscience is afraid. Very afraid.
(Editor's note: My first reaction was a selfless, "Oh, the inhumanity!" But maybe that's because I'm a better person than you.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Book News, In Brief

The pompous PR pitch: "Book retailing giant Waterstone's will be offering personal shoppers to help you find just the right book for everyone on your gift list." The sad reality: This used to be referred to as basic customer service.

List-making and sh*t-talking are the meat and potatoes of the blogosphere. So how brilliant was it of Entertainment Weekly to mix the two, making a Shepherd's Pie they dubbed The 23 Most Disappointing Movie Adaptations? Answer: mildly brilliant.

Just in time for the holidays! Bonhams US is holding a rare books auction. Items up for bid include a first issue of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird which includes a photograph of the author credited to Truman Capote (est. $6/9,000), first editions of the various Winnie the Pooh books with hand drawn illustrations by E.H. Shepard (est. $6/12,000), and a first edition copy of Moby Dick in what is being described as "exceptionally fine condition" ($60/80,000).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog-Jacking: io9

Science Fiction Novelists Reveal Their Daily Writing Routines
Originally posted by Lauren Davis on 12/10/08
Isaac Asimov awoke each morning 6 AM and worked well into the night, sometimes churning out entire books in a matter of days. Kingsley Amis’ writing binges were fueled by nicotine, alcohol, and numerous cups of tea, while surrealist Haruki Murakami claims to work himself into a routine-induced trance. Take a gander at how some of science fiction’s most famous writers have organized their days and kept their creative juices flowing.
To read the rest, click here.

Book News, In Brief

This should come as a surprise to no one but newborn babies and recently lapsed Amish: JK Rowling's latest offering, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, has broken all records to become the fastest selling book of 2008.

Abdulkarim Soroush must have a death wish, a fatal disease, or both. Why else would "Iran's leading public intellectual" publicly challenge the divinity of the Koran? Didn't he learn anything from those Danish dudes and their inflammatory (as in: houses catching fire, cars exploding, etc.) cartoons?

A graduation speech that David Foster Wallace gave in 2005 is going to be published posthumously as a book next year. The speech, which Wallace delivered to the graduating class at Kenyon College, Ohio, runs approximately 150 pages and will be titled, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered On a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life. (No jokes on this one. I loved dude.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
Michael Pollan @ Google HQ

The author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals talks with his mouth full.

Book News, In Brief

It's a scientific fact that even the Religious Right won't refute: Famous people's opinions are more interesting than non-famous people's. That's why Salon.com has asked a slew of A-list authors -- Chuck Klosterman, Daniel Handler and Michael Pollan, among others -- to list their favorite books of '08. Regular people can pretend to participate in the comments section.

Having just dropped $125 million dollars to keep their Book Search up and running, Google is ready to move on to magazines. Not counting the time that The Walt Disney Corporation bought the rights to The Muppets, this is the first time I've agreed with a publicly traded company about anything. After all, if you've ever worked in a bookstore, you know that this is where the average 'customer' does the bulk of their browsing.

We warned our fellow booksellers about this growing menace, but they wouldn't listen. Via E-Commerce.com: Gary Bacon II had bargain-hunting on the brain when he visited his local Barnes & Noble...but he didn't make any purchases. Instead, the Web designer whipped out his smartphone, snapped a few photos, and headed for the exit. Bacon was using a new feature, released by Amazon.com, that lets users take photos of items they want to buy, store them in an online shopping cart, and purchase them whenever they want -- typically at a discount -- via the online retailer. Our only hope now? Treat these Twitterers like the paparazzi and punch the cell phones out of their hands.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blog-Jacking: The Guardian UK

The Digested Read: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Originally posted by John Crace on 12/9/8
'There was once a not very good writer who got lucky. In the beginning, she realised her limitations, but then she began to take herself very seriously indeed.'
To read Crace's crushing critique in its entirety, click here.

Book News, In Brief

And the recession continues: Last week, the media was buzzing about a $126,000 Michelangelo book. This week, it's a $700 coffee table book on the making of The Godfather. At this rate, they'll be back to talking about $5 paperbacks in...three days!

What is a book dedication? The ultimate expression of an author's gratitude? A private venue for a public display of affection? The one part of a book that pretty much everybody reads? According to The Wilton Villager, it's all of these and more.

Remember the good ol' days, when brick and mortar bookstores only had to fear Amazon and the Kindle? Well, there's a new threat on the horizon, and it's-- BRRRRRRRRRRRRING! Oh, no. BRRRRRRRRRRRRING! Oh, god, no! BRRRRRRRRRRRRING! I'm too late! It's already--BRRRRRRRRRRRRING!