Thursday, October 04, 2012

Adventures in Books

photos courtesy of
I spent this morning at the annual gathering of the New England Independent Bookseller's Association  (I think that's my turquoise elbow there on the right side of this picture).  It was my second time at the show, and I am delighted to report that I came home with a bag full of books covering a head-spinning array of genre & subject matter. Expect some fab book blogs in the next few months!

Aside from the wonderful new additions to my TBR shelf (yes, it's a shelf now... to keep so many pages in a pile would be architecturally unwise) this morning's event was also an interesting peek into the changing world of publishing.

The show was smaller this year.  Publishing houses that last year had four tables of new titles this year had only two.  And perhaps most telling was this: Last year, when I asked representatives "What titles are you most excited about?" they pressed countless books into my hands with impassioned descriptions that caused me read all sorts of stories I'd never have selected on my own.

This year, I started off with the same question.  A couple of reps answered with enthusiasm.  But they only had one title they were excited about, and perhaps another they'd mail me if I'd leave my address (and they meant it: to a one, they were gracious enough to write down the information, which was fantastic).  But there were also times when my question--and even my presence--was met with little more than a blank stare, followed by a firm head shake if my hand reached for a title that was only for show (the line between the books you're allowed to take and those you can't touch is always a bit fuzzy).

I'm still thinking over what this means, and where the encouraging news is in the midst of all this change.  (I'm determined to find the fabled boy who comes upon a barn full of poop and declares, "There's GOT to be a pony in here somewhere!")  I love publishers, authors, bookstores...the whole shebang, so it's tough to see this downturn in such undeniable terms. But I don't think this story is over yet.

Especially if this guy (who handed me a soda that would both poison me and save me from the zombie apocalypse) has anything to say about it!

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