Monthly Archives: June 2017

Write an Essay, Win a Bookstore!

28 June 2017

From Shelf Awareness:

After more than a decade of running From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro, Pa., co-owners Kevin and Kasey Coolidge are “ready to move on to new pursuits. But they’re not selling their bookstore using a traditional method. They’re offering one person the chance to win a bookstore for $75,” according to the shop’s blog.

The contest is straightforward: pay a $75 entry fee and write a 250-word essay about why a bookstore is important to a community. Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2018. If 4,000 people enter the contest, the Coolidges will select the top 20, then a panel of impartial judges will choose a winner. If 4,000 entries are not received, all entry fees will be returned, and the couple will continue to run the bookstore.

“My husband and I grew up here, and Wellsboro deserves a bookstore,” said Kasey. “Kevin thought it would be nice to be able to pay it forward and give someone else the opportunity, especially since starting a business is hard.”

“For $75 and an essay, someone could win their own bookstore,” Kevin added: “We need to at least 4,000 entries in our contest to cover our current inventory, shelves, signage and six months of paid rent.” At least 4,000 entries at $75 each would yield $300,000.

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

Can You Really Have a Book Club for Eight Million People?

28 June 2017

From The Literary Hub:

In early January 2017, bright, colorful banners of grinning television personalities holding novels started popping up on the walls of New York City subway cars. The advertisements announced “One Book, One New York,” a joint venture between the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment and digital media company BuzzFeed. The campaign’s tagline, “Aiming to get all of New York on the same page—literally,” outlined its simple premise. “One Book” was to be the largest book club in history.

The idea is not as new, or as strange, as it sounds. Community reading programs are nearly two decades old. In 1998, Seattle introduced the concept, and four years later, Chicago followed. Since then, interest has exploded. Today, the Library of Congress estimates there are more than 400 programs across the country. In an interview with WNYC, Commissioner Julie Menin says Chicago’s program inspired her to bring One Book to NYC. The motivation was partly economic: “Other cities that have done One Book programs… have seen enormous spikes in sales of that particular book. Right now, we have about 65 independent bookstores in the city. The Bronx has no bookstore. Staten Island has one. These bookstores are under threat of closure, and one important economic reason we want to do this program is to… make sure that people visit their local bookstore.”

. . . .

Then the work—and reading—began in earnest. The Mayor’s office released a calendar of events taking place throughout spring and summer. Penguin Random House donated over 1,500 copies to the city’s libraries and developed a guide for book clubs. Digital subscription service Scribd made an audiobook available free for 90 days. But these were just resources. The question remained: would people participate? “Somebody recently described New York to me: it’s not one big city, it’s actually a ton of small towns, smushed right up against one another,” says Isaac Fitzgerald, BuzzFeed’s Books Editor.

If that’s true, then how, exactly, do you get eight million people on the same page?

. . . .

In the Bronx, it isn’t so easy, according to life-long resident Noëlle Santos. Santos is the entrepreneur behind crowdfunding project The Lit.Bar, the first independent bookstore in the Bronx in six years, and the only bookstore in the borough since Barnes and Noble shuttered its branch there in 2016.

Santos was invited to the launch party for One Book, but since then, she hasn’t seen much visibility for the program in the Bronx. The problem is, without bookstores, “There’s no space to bring readers together. I’m sure that people are participating, but I just haven’t seen it, because I’m the only one throwing literary events right now.” Calling the Bronx a “book desert,” Santos says residents must travel to other boroughs to participate in literary events. “We’re out here, and there’s people reading Americanah, and we’re participating in One Book, One New York. But we’re going to other places to share. That’s why I’m not seeing it.”

. . . .

In Brooklyn, where there are many “hubs,” it’s a different story. Author Emma Straub, who recently opened the Cobble Hill independent bookstore Books Are Magic, says they can hardly keep Americanah on shelves. “I think people like to buy novels they think have been deemed ‘great’ by several bodies of people—in this case, the book got great reviews AND was chosen for this city-wide reading project. So I think people are more inclined to take a chance on it that they might not otherwise.” She says Adichie is having a “moment.” “We sell so many copies of Dear Ijeawele and We Should All Be Feminists. She’s really striking a chord.”

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub

Amazon: This Is Why Wal-Mart Kept Me Up At Night

28 June 2017

From Seeking Alpha:

A perfect comparable doesn’t exist for Amazon, so I often compare it to Wal-Mart. While Wal-Mart and Amazon sell their products in different ways, the majority of each is still comprised of retail sales. In the future, each will also become more and more alike. Wal-Mart is expanding its e-commerce business, and Amazon is building physical stores and just bought Whole Foods. When all of the sexiness of Amazon is stripped away and the crazy ‘what if’ scenarios are removed, I think few people would buy Amazon over Wal-Mart at its current valuations.

Based on enterprise value, Amazon is currently valued 1.76x more than Wal-Mart, but Amazon produces significantly less revenue. Amazon’s 2016 sales were $136 billion; Wal-Mart’s were $485 billion. This equals a Price/Sales multiple of 3.27x for Amazon and 0.47x for Wal-Mart. Amazon does have better gross margins, which is mostly a result of Amazon Web Services, and they are growing much faster. There’s no doubt Amazon deserves a premium, but a Price/Sales multiple that’s 7.2x Wal-Mart’s just seems crazy to me.

. . . .

I also believe this is an optimistic scenario for Amazon. There is no guarantee that it can continue growing at 20% for the next eight years. Also, Amazon will likely have a difficult time turning 6% of its sales into free cash flow. (Wal-Mart turns 3-4% of its sales into free cash flow). Amazon Web Services will definitely help, but a lot of Amazon’s growth will come from expanding food sales, which will bring down margins.

Link to the rest at Seeking Alpha

We’re In This Together: How To Help Other Authors Succeed

28 June 2017

From Writers Helping Writers:

A common query Becca and I get is, “Why do you do what you do?” It’s a fair question, because in order for us to coach writers through our books, speaking, and our One Stop for Writers site, we’ve had to temporarily put our fiction-writing on hold. Not an easy decision. But the fact is we love to see dreams realized. This is why we do it. As writers ourselves, we know the power of THIS particular dream–a book in hand, our name paired with the title, and the knowledge that readers are losing themselves in a world we’ve created.

We celebrate each time someone we know achieves this dream–and how could we not? It’s so wonderful to see all that hard work pay off! Today, we are celebrating because our friend Kristen Lamb has just released her first mystery thriller, The Devil’s Dance.

. . . .

When an author releases a book, it’s all smiles and excitement…on the outside. What we don’t see is the anxiety going on within: will this book find its readers? Will it become lost in the glut of fiction available? If I share my excitement too freely, will people see it as unwanted promotion?

These worries are universal among authors. And, with the saturation of promotion these days, it’s important we don’t push a book too hard ourselves. Inside, we hope others will step up and help.

. . . .

1: Ask your local library to bring the book in. Many libraries have an online form and they often pay attention to requests. Click here to find a library near you…and why not request Kristen’s book while you’re at it?  If it is an ebook release, first encourage your author friend to make the ebook available to a service like OverDrive.

2: Leave a review. This is the clear obvious one, but often people stop at only submitting it to Goodreads or Amazon. Please cut and paste the review to all the main sites the book is being sold (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and if it applies, Smashwords.) For example, you can review The Devil’s Dance on Amazon and Goodreads. It wasn’t at LibraryThing, so I added it (if you’ve read this book, please give it some review love?)

3: Place the book on appropriate lists. If you loved reading the book, help others find it. Goodreads has many great lists you can add books to, or start your own. Using Kristen as an example, you’ll see her reviews are excellent. Think of how much it will help her if reviewers add The Devil’s Dance to some of the “best” lists so others also find it.

Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers and thanks to Julie for the tip.

Indie Pub Two Dollar Radio to Open Bookstore

27 June 2017

From Publishers Weekly:

Two Dollar Radio, the Columbus, Ohio-based small press, is opening a bookstore where it will sell its own titles, alongside a carefully-curated selection of books published by other independent literary presses.

In September, Two Dollar Radio will move into its new headquarters in the city’s South Side neighborhood. Aside from an office to house its publishing operations, the building will also feature a bookstore, café, and a bar. The press’ expansion is following a trend set by other small literary presses: in 2016, Milkweed Editions opened a bookstore in the Open Book literary center near downtown Minneapolis, followed a few months later by Curbside Splendor Publishing, which opened a bookstore in Chicago’s Revival Food Hall in the National building.

An 1,800-square foot space in the front of the building that has been leased and is being built-out this summer will house the bookstore, café, and bar. The company’s publishing operation will be located in the 1,100-square-foot back area, which also includes enough space for storage. The entire enterprise will operate under the business name, Two Dollar Radio Headquarters.

The publisher’s bookstore will emphasize the offerings of independent publishers, and the café will be vegan, serving only plant-based items, as well as locally-roasted coffee and tea.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG doesn’t want to be insensitive in matters of literature and culture, but a bookstore in Columbus, Ohio, might want to sell Ohio State sweatshirts in addition to vegan dishes.

Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life

27 June 2017

From Medium:

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.” — J.M. Barrie

You know exactly what you want in life. But you can’t seem to get there. You have all these resolves.

You’re going to get healthy.

You’re going to write that book.

You’re going to be more present with your loved ones.

You’re going to start that home-based business.

You’re going to learn another language.

You’re going to be more patient and happy.

You’re going to get out of debt.

You’re going to be more organized.

You’re going to be a better friend.

You’re going to overcome bad habits.

But the problem is: Doing these is really hard. And it gets harder every day. Some days, it seems more realistic to just give up entirely. The whole taking one step forward and one or two steps backward pattern is getting old.

. . . .

“Keeping a personal journal a daily in-depth analysis and evaluation of your experiences is a high-leverage activity that increases self-awareness and enhances all the endowments and the synergy among them.” — Stephen R.Covey

Journaling daily is the most potent and powerful keystone habit you can acquire. If done correctly, you will show up better in every area of your life — every area! Without question, journaling has by far been the number one factor to everything I’ve done well in my life.

The problem is, most people have tried and failed at journaling several times. It’s something you know you should do, but can never seem to pin down.

. . . .

Most people live their lives on other people’s terms. Their days are spent achieving other people’s goals and submitting to other people’s agendas.

Their lives have not been consciously organized in such a way that they command every waking, and sleeping, moment of their life. Instead, they relentlessly react at every chance they get.

For example, most people wake up and immediately check their phone or email. In spare seconds, we hop on Facebook and check the newsfeed. We’ve become addicted to input. Or in other words, we’ve become addicted to reactively being guided by other people’s agendas.

On the other hand, Josh Waitzkin, author of The Art of Learning, wakes up and immediately writes in his journal for 30 minutes.

He does this because while he’s been sleeping, his subconscious mind has been brewing, scheming, problem-solving, and learning. So when Josh wakes up, he rushes to a quiet place and engages in a bust of intellectual and creative flow.

I recently wrote about the importance of morning routines. If I were to re-write that post now, I’d include my journal. I’ve been doing this the past few weeks and its reframed my entire approach to life. Additionally, I’ve never before had so many creative ideas crystallize.

Link to the rest at Medium

Each generation

27 June 2017

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

George Orwell

Our 16 Favorite ‘Harry Potter’ Moments

27 June 2017

From The Ringer:

Twenty years ago, Bloomsbury published J.K. Rowling’s debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first installment in a saga that would span seven Potter books, eight Potter movies, and numerous spinoffs and extensions, in the process becoming one of the defining stories of a generation. Since Dumbledore isn’t here to help us pull any celebratory crackers, we’re marking the occasion by toasting Rowling’s magical creation — and the two decades of euphoria that it’s brought us.

. . . .

“The Prince’s Tale”

Zach Kram: “The Prince’s Tale,” Deathly Hallows’s 33rd chapter, is a writing masterpiece independent of its connection to the rest of the series. Young versions of Snape, Lily, and Petunia form with defined personality and motivation in mere sentences; relationships blossom and wither over the course of a concisely illustrated arc; the memory vignettes build atop one another with a clear exposition, climax, and emotional denouement.

But of course, “The Prince’s Tale” is not disconnected from the rest of the series. It solves perhaps the books’ greatest mystery and gives a richly complex character the firm definition around which he’d skirted for the previous six and a half books. The one-line callbacks to previous events — “Keep an eye on Quirrell, won’t you?”, Fleur and Roger post–Yule Ball — ground the memories Harry observes in familiar territory, while the new revelations pack a fierce emotive punch. In the most compelling scene, Dumbledore displays shades of cruelty while Snape counters with a gentle, sympathetic approach — a twist that still tracks from a narrative perspective. Rowling plays every note perfectly, and any reader can’t help but cry.
.

. . . .

Shopping in Diagon Alley

Kate Knibbs: As a middle schooler discovering Harry Potter, I cherished the scenes in Diagon Alley where Harry, flush with magical orphan gold, has his pick of the finest broomsticks, robes, and assorted wizard paraphernalia. Going on a school-supply shopping spree with unlimited funds in an enchanted British alley sounded like heaven, and the gulf between my reality (rifling through college-ruled notebooks) and the “barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon” that Harry encounters sums up the wish-fulfilling appeal of the franchise, which offers a more exciting, dangerous parallel school life tucked just beyond Muggle sight.

Link to the rest at The Ringer

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