It's true - I do not read just books. In fact, I can blame a great many of my uncompleted books on my online reading. There's nothing shocking in that statement, as it's probably true of a majority of my3books' readership. As the technology gets better and friendlier, it gets harder to ignore that siren call and go back to the books. I'm a diehard Google Reader user, and I frequently add longer online documents to my Instapaper queue for reading later on the iPhone.
For today, though, I'm going to embrace the online reading I've been doing and call out a few favorites. I have always subscribed to my share of book blogs, and the blogs from bookstores that I sell to and shop in, but I've noticed that since I started writing my3books, I'm paying closer attention to the bookstore blogs. I'm being more mindful of them. I'm paying closer attention to the ideas coming from my booksellers, and I'm more cognizant of the potential for sharing knowledge.
So here we go. Three really interesting blog posts from three smart blogging booksellers.
The Green Apple Core
- Looking at the art of shelftalkers
The stalwart San Francisco bookstore Green Apple Books was one of my favorite places to spend a weekend afternoon when Laura and I lived in the Bay Area. Since we don't live anywhere near SF at present, and my trips there are increasingly scarce, I've really been enjoying the posts from the various Green Apple booksellers who write for the blog. Besides helping me remember the flavor of a great bookstore, The Green Apple Core does a great job of covering both the books they love and the inside baseball kind of subjects about how they do their bookselling work.
A case in point is the ongoing series of posts about The Art of the Shelftalker (part 1, part 2, part 3). Why these shelftalkers? Who spends this much time writing and decorating such wonderful little cards? What alchemical magic made these books bestsellers at Green Apple? Read and find out.
Left Bank Books' co-owner Kris Kleindienst's blog
- Why booksellers should visit NY publishers on their own time.
As publishers' sales reps, we spend a lot of time with bookstore buyers and owners. Kris is one of those buyers that I love spending time with. Kris and her co-owners and booksellers at Left Bank Books work as hard as any booksellers that I've met, and they all seem to be in constant motion. They opened a second branch of Left Bank earlier in 2009, and now those booksellers are shuttling back and forth, staffing both stores!
Kris's post this week was about the trip she and LBB events coordinator Danielle took to New York to talk to publishers about the latest developments in the world of Left Bank Books. Many bookstores make trips like this, making sure that the publicists and marketing folks at the big publishing houses are aware of their existence, pitching their events capabilities, their local connections in the community, and their recent successes. For any store that wants to attract authors and put on a serious, sustained program of author visits, this post is a must-read.
And if you need any further inducement to visit Left Bank Books next time you're passing through St Louis, click here to say hello to the downtown shop's new store kitten, Olive.
Next Chapter's Reading Copy
- Another perspective on in-store displays
At first, this might seem to be excessively self-referential, because the above link will take you to a recent post on the Next Chapter Bookshop's blog that refers right back here to a my3books post about Paco Underhill's Why We Buy, among other books.
But Rebecca's post at Next Chapter's Reading Copy is a rebuttal to Underhill's case against overly elaborate in-store displays. The Next Chapter staff have arranged the center of the bookshop around a core of tasty book displays that beckon customers to examine the featured books more closely. Some of the displays are quite elaborate, while others keep it simple - a nicely curated selection of books that work together on a theme.
Not every bookstore staff has the resources to spare to put together Joseph Cornell-like constructs, of course, and all we can do is try to find the best balance every day. But if nothing else, read the post and take a look at their pictures of the different theme displays. Maybe you'll be inspired to try something new today?
Post your own suggestions for smart and useful bookstore bloggers in the comments.