Sorry, I'm already getting in the Halloween mood, so that was my Transylvanian impression. Today is full of interesting links, though.
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After L.A., BEA is gonna change. The Publishers Weekly article here catalogs some of the discontent and/or desire for progress. And show director (and stellar human being) Lance Fensterman talks about being on the inside of those changes here. I love how he describes meeting with disgruntled publishers:
"The conversations have been frank, straightforward conversations - the kind you have with your parents when you are 17, came in an hour after curfew and clearly have vomit on your shoe."
Personally, I'm looking forward to the revamped education roster. It's always interesting to see what happens when a longstanding institution gets re-imagined from top to bottom.
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Other changes: some publishers are giving away books for free. Michael at Books On The Nightstand talks about Concord Free Press's intriguing book giveaway initiative. Not sure how I feel about that -- I'm more a fan of the "give away a digital version, then let them buy the print edition" model -- but I'm curious how this will play out for Concord.
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The always thoughtful bookseller Arsen Kashkashian finishes out Banned Books Week with a discussion of bookstore buyers as "book banners": about the decisions we make to carry/not carry a book. It's also an appreciation of the relative freedom from censorship we do enjoy.
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My aspiration is to be the kind of bookseller who gets songs written about them. The ALP directed me to a track by the band Secret Crush Society called "That Benn Ray", about Benn Ray, the proprietor of Atomic Books in Baltimore: apparently a powerful enough community figure that he figures in popular mythology. According to the song, Benn is quite tall, something of a joker, fights for the indies of Baltimore, and runs the favorite bookstore of SCS. Way to go, Atomic Books -- you are my hero once again!
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In the meantime, I will make do with dressing up as one of the few literary characters to have an irresistible song about them. And I wish to invite you, one and all, to join me at McNally Jackson's Second Annual Literary Halloween Party, which is shaping up to be quite a bash. In addition to the Literary Costume Contest, projections from horror comics, and some awesome holiday-appropriate author readings, we're adding something new: a Scary Story Slam, in which you the partygoer have three minutes to present your best scary story (original or literary). And there are some great prizes from supporting publishers for costumes and slam stories. The party runs 6:30 to 8:30 on Friday the 31st (and there's some great bookish spooky stuff for the younger kids from 4 to 6). So make your plans now for a bookish Halloween. I vant to zee you zhere...
Auckland Writers Festival 16-21 May
3 hours ago