Author Archives: debooker

About debooker

A brief (and somewhat ambiguous) biography. One hundred words, more or less, about David Booker might include the following: though lost in the cosmos without a compass, he has nonetheless managed to find his way into middle age. As to what he will do now that he is there is still a matter of speculation. He often seeks guidance from his youthful daughter as he alternately approaches and retreats from the slow expansion of his waistline and the slow collapse of Western Civilization as he knows it. He hopes the two will reach a libration (or libation) point and he will creep into old age with some dignity and clothes intact.

Author turned bookseller

‘People are hungry for real bookstores’: Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving

At 78, the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop – and joining a business sector that’s flourishing again in the US

By Alison Flood

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/20/people-are-hungry-for-real-bookstores-judy-blume-on-why-us-indie-booksellers-are-thriving

She might be a beloved and bestselling author of classic children’s books from Forever to Blubber, but Judy Blume says she wakes up every day “and I look to the sky, and I say, ‘whoever’s up there, I thank you for not having to write today’.”

Blume doesn’t have to write because, at 78, she has embarked on a new career: she’s an independent bookseller. Together with her husband, George Cooper, she has opened a small, nonprofit bookshop in Key West, Florida, where she’s working almost every day. And she’s loving it. She had planned “to take a gap year” after she finished writing and promoting her last novel, In the Unlikely Event. “I was going to relax and read and have this whole time with no pressure. And then bingo – the chance comes along to open a bookshop, and there you go. I guess I like that in my life … To learn something new like this, at 78, makes it all the more exciting.”

Judy Blume (left), author turned bookseller.

Judy Blume (left), author turned bookseller.

Blume and Cooper had been urging Mitchell Kaplan, founder of independent book chain Books & Books, to open a bookshop in Key West for years. He told them that if they could find a space, he would partner with them. They found a corner store, part of a large deco building, and with help from Kaplan and his team, Books & Books @ the Studios of Key West opened in February.

“We’ve done better than anyone, including Mitch, thought we could do,” says Blume, down the line from Florida. “It has been a very satisfying experience … Writing In the Unlikely Event took five years – it was very long and difficult and complicated. This is just a great change for me, and I am enjoying it so much.”

Customers, she says, “sometimes” recognise her – an author who has sold more than 80m books around the world – “and they’re completely taken aback, especially if I’m sitting there dusting the shelves. I’m pretty good at recommendations – I’m good in the kids’ department for sure. I read all the picture books when they come in. And I can lead people to what they want, although I’ve not read as many of our books as some of our volunteers [the store has two paid employees, as well as Cooper, Blume and a series of volunteers]. I’m trying really hard to keep up. It’s like Christmas every day, working here.”

Business for independent bookstores in America in general, is “going well”, Blume believes. “I just think people are so hungry for a real bookstore again. So many people live in places where there isn’t one … It’s not just us doing well. A lot of independent booksellers are.”

The figures back her up. At BookExpo America last week, the American Booksellers Association announced that for the seventh year in a row, its bookstore membership has gone up, to 1,775 members operating in 2,311 locations, up from 1,401 members operating in 1,651 locations in 2009. The lion’s share of these are independents, says the ABA: in 2015, sales for independent booksellers were up just over 10%, and are remaining strong in 2016. In the UK by contrast, the Booksellers Association recorded 894 independent bookshops in 2015, a decrease of 3% from 2014. A decade ago, there were more than 1,500.

“Independent bookselling in the US is continuing not just to grow, but to thrive,” says ABA chief executive Oren Teicher, who attributes the growth to various factors: the localism movement, “which is exploding, and we are benefiting from that”; booksellers “getting smarter at using technology”; publishers’ increasing acknowledgment that “customers discover books in bricks and mortar locations [so] our colleagues in publishing have figured out that they need bricks and mortar stores as much as we need their books”; and the growing role of the bookseller as curator, in a world flooded with new titles.

The “resurgence of print” has also helped, says Teicher. A recent report in the UK revealed that in 2015, sales of printed books were up by 0.4% to £2.76bn, while ebook sales fell for the first time in the seven years the Publishers Association has tracked them, down 1.6% to £554m in 2015. In the US, the Association of American Publishers reported last month that while overall sales for consumer books were up 0.8% to $7.2bn (£4.9bn) in 2015, ebook sales declined, down 9.5% in adult books and 43.3% in children and young adult titles.

“Five years ago in the American book business, there was a widespread panic that somehow digital reading was going to replace physical books and they would be a relic of some other time and place. Fast forward to today, and I think digital reading has levelled off and calmed down slightly. It’s going to be a piece of our business, but print books aren’t going away. We’re living in a hybrid world,” says Teicher.

Added together, these ingredients make “the recipe for our success”, says Teicher. “But there is still a very modest margin in books, and people have to work really hard. We have significant challenges before us, clouds on the horizon that could interfere with our success.”

These range from pressure on wages and rents, he says, to the “1,000lb gorilla” – the continued growth of online shopping. “But independents are extraordinarily resilient,” he says. “If I had a penny for every time we’ve been counted out, I’d be a pretty rich guy today.”

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Filed under 2016, author, bookstore

Photo finish Friday: “Mirror, mirror….”

The world, beheld in a mirror.

The world, beheld in a mirror.

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Filed under 2016, Photo by Lauren Booker, Photo Finish Friday

Haiku to you Thursday: “Hum”

Hum and chirp: dawn song. /

Bang and warble: midday refrain. /

Sigh and buzz: dusk coda.

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Filed under 2016, Haiku to You Thursday, poetry by author

Writing tip Wednesday: “Agent to consider”

New Literary Agent Alert: Amanda Jain of Inklings Literary

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/new-literary-agent-alert-amanda-jain-of-inklings-literary?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=wds-csa-nl-160421&utm_content=838292_GLA160421&utm_medium=email

Amanda Jain

Amanda Jain

About Amanda: After earning a BA in English, Amanda worked in the trade department at W.W. Norton for seven years before leaving to pursue graduate studies. She graduated in 2011 with a MA in the history of decorative arts. Amanda then joined Inklings Literary in 2014, first as Michelle’s assistant. She is now building her client list. Find her on Twitter.

She is seeking: historical fiction (in all genres), women’s / book club / upmarket fiction, romance (particularly historical, suspenseful, or with a comedic bent), mysteries (particularly historical or cozy, or historical cozies), and narrative nonfiction in the areas of social history, archaeology, art history, material culture, etc. She is also interested in select young adult and middle grade projects with unique hooks and a strong voice.

In all cases, what Amanda is most looking for is a story that completely immerses the reader in the world of the book. She wants to feel the sun on her shoulders, smell the smoke of the battlefield, and hear the horses galloping in the distance. Amanda is NOT the agent to query with picture books, memoirs, self-help, poetry, erotica, science fiction and fantasy, horror, or inspirational fiction.

How to submit: To e-query, type “Query (Agent Name): (Book Title)” in the subject line to query(at)inklingsliterary(dot)com. No attachments. In the body of the email, send a query letter that includes :the title, genre, and word count of your project, a brief blurb about the story, a brief bio including any publishing credits, the first 10 pages of your manuscript, and a brief synopsis (1-2 pages). “Our response time varies for queries, but the general response time is within 3 months for queries, and 4 months for manuscripts. If you have not received an answer for your query after 3 months,” the agency is not interested in the project.

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cARtOONSdAY: “cASE lOGIC 8: cOMMA-tOSE”

Even the sunrise looked like a comma to the folks of Run-On.

Even the sunrise looked like a comma to the folks of Run-On.

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Filed under 2016, cartoon by author, CarToonsday

Monday morning writing joke: “Written up”

Three candidates for a position in a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing were sitting on a bench, each looking at the comments made on his writing sample used as part of the application.

First student: “Mine says I would be better suited to writing user’s manuals for consumer products than creative writing.”

Second student: “Mine says, ‘The convolution of your writing is such that one can only assume that you would better suited for a position at the bar than in the MFA program.”

First student: “I hope they meant law school.”

They both chuckled then turned to the third student. Finally, the second student asked: “What did you yours say?”

Third student: Mine says that ‘from your writing sample we can only assume that English must be your second language and that you have only taken it up recently.’”

“Wow!” said the first and second students in unison.

“Yeah,” said the third student, “and to think I plagiarized from Nabokov.”

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Computer science script for $15,000

Google & The Black List offer $15,000 for scripts focused on Computer Science

http://deadline.com/2016/04/google-the-black-list-script-grants-computer-science-1201740858/
and
http://www.projectcasting.com/jobs/google-black-list?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare

google-logo

Google, the online giant, is partnering with The Black List to offer financial grants in support of developing scripts centered on changing the image of computer science and computer scientists in pop culture. The submission process begins today and runs through July 15.

Beginning in the fall, the script site will grant up to $15K to three screenwriters — one feature and two episodic pilots — as they work to craft their scripts over a six-month period. At the end, each writer will present their work to Google and address how the grant was used to advance the projects. Writers will retain all rights to the work. Writers with scripts on The Black List site are also eligible.

This project is part of an initiative from Google’s Computer Science Education in Media program to encourage and inspire young people, especially girls and minorities — who historically have been underrepresented in the field — to not only use technology but also to create it.

Google would like to see if there were more movies about computer sciences that weren’t the stereotypical nerd movie. Are you an aspiring screenwriter? Do you want to work for Google? If so, Google will actually pay you to write a movie script.

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Filed under 2016, computer, contest