Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio will be the featured keynote speaker at the PubWest Conference November 3-5 in Henderson, Nev., next to Las Vegas. PubWest called Riggio "a visionary and brilliant marketer and entrepreneur for his lifetime of work building Barnes & Noble from a single store to the world's leading bookseller with over 1,300 retail locations.... Riggio will discuss his 50 years in business, his thoughts on the future of bookselling, and his predictions for the future of reading from print to screen."
"Over the past three years at our conference, we've explored the impact of e-books, the best ways to make digital content, and new techniques for making and selling print books," PubWest president Derek Lawrence said. "The cards may seem stacked against book publishers, but we will focus on making a return on both traditional books and new publishing formats. In today's economy, how can publishers make money making books? The PubWest Conference 2011 will ask the top innovators in publishing for their insights into new ways to succeed in publishing."
For more information and to register, go to pubwest.org/conference.
Cool idea of the day: The book industry has long shown the ability to take a punch, but a new promotion in Minneapolis/St. Paul proves it can deliver a punch as well. The Star Tribune reported that the Twin Cities Literary Punch Card will be launched September 14. The premise is simple: "Attend a literary event, get a punch. Buy a book at an event, get a second punch. Fill your card--12 punches--get a prize, a $15 gift card to use at any participating bookstore."
The catalyst for this idea was the sometimes anemic attendance figures in an area that is "awash in literary events almost every day of every week of every month--readings, signings, book clubs, launch parties. So the folks from Milkweed, Graywolf Press, Coffee House Press, Rain Taxi Review of Books and the Loft Literary Center got together to figure out how to attract larger crowds," the Star Tribune wrote.
Thus far, three bookstores are on board: Magers & Quinn, Common Good Books and Micawber's.
"We're doing four to five a week pretty consistently, and co-sponsoring other ones in other parts of the city--at the Loft, the library, Westminster," said Magers & Quinn manager Jay Peterson. "We bring in some cutting-edge young authors, but for whatever reason, attendance at some of those events is less than I'd expect. I'm hoping more than anything that [the punch card] helps our exposure."
Not every literary event will earn a punch. To qualify, events must be free, include a visit from an author and be hosted by one of the sponsoring organizations or bookstores.
"This isn't to draw crowds away from other events," said Ethan Rutherford of Milkweed Editions. "But we were seeing some of these smaller, independent events without a whole lot of marketing money behind them. An author coming through on tour who doesn't have a lot of friends here or marketing oomph behind him might read to, say, four people. So we're just trying to help spotlight events that might be sort of overlooked."
The Herald-News asked several Chicago-area booksellers what has become the question of the moment: "So how can independent booksellers compete in the market if Borders must shut its doors?"
Judi Brownfield, owner of Books at Sunset, said, "It is about a theme. Each independent bookstore has a theme.... I wanted to sell books that people would settle in with--not necessarily a coffee table book or a tome, but a book that they could nestle in with on a good comfortable chair and that will take you away from the trauma of your day."
Candy Purdom, publicity coordinator for Anderson's Bookshops, noted that the store has "been able to change with the times. We are nimble enough to see what the trends are and continue to satisfy the needs.... With the help of Google e-books, people can purchase e-books through our website. We show people how to browse and buy through our website and Google e-books. That was a great demonstration of how this old bookstore can keep up with current trends and the climate of the industry.... We are convinced that physical books and e-books will be with us for quite awhile in the future and we need to learn to coexist."
David Hunt, co-owner of Town House Books (in photo), cited his cafe, which is adjacent to the bookstore, as one key to success. "We are off the beaten path, so the cafe is an important part of the business."
John Locke, the first self-published author to crack the Kindle Million Club, has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster, which will handle sales and distribution of physical editions of his Donovan Creed novels. The titles will be published by John Locke Books and will be available beginning next February. To date, there have been eight novels in the Creed series, all of which will be available under the distribution agreement, with more titles to follow.
"There are many paths from author to reader," Locke said, "and any path that puts the reader first will be successful. This agreement represents an exciting departure from the norm, and I applaud Simon & Schuster’s incredible vision, and their willingness to provide a vehicle that allows all readers traditional access to my books."
The Girl with the Temporary Tattoo. Less than a month after the late Stieg Larsson's longtime companion, Eva Gabrielsson, described his unfinished manuscript as something that "probably doesn't hang together" (Shelf Awareness, August 3, 2011), Kurdo Baksi disagreed to an extent.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival about his memoir, Stieg Larsson, My Friend, Baksi claimed he was shown the manuscript for a sequel to the Millennium Trilogy that "is 70% complete, strongly features Camilla Salander, the twin of the series' protagonist Lisbeth, and is set 'between Ireland, Sweden and the U.S.,' " the Guardian reported. He also said it would "make the perfect Hollywood film," though he advised against an attempt to complete the novel posthumously because ghost writers "would not respect Stieg Larsson's style."
In a photo slide show, the Daily Beast made its case for Columbia Heights as "America's most literary street," noting that it "is the closest street to the water in the quiet, leafy Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, and the authors who have lived there, if they were lucky, enjoyed commanding views of Manhattan's skyline across the East River."
"Book clubs aren't just about reading" was the headline for a Toledo Blade column by Cherie Spino about the Old Orchard Moms' Group Book Club, which began because the members "had three things in common: We all lived in the same West Toledo neighborhood, we were all moms, and we loved to read.... A decade later, some of us have moved from the 'hood and our kids are no longer babies. But one thing remains constant--book club."
Spino observed that staying on topic is as important as straying from it: "Sure, we get off course. Sometimes our meetings are more about catching up than about the book. But always, at our core, is what brought us together in the first place: books. When we were putting together a list of the books we'd read in our 11 years, we were struck by how many of our choices were testaments to the power of words in the characters' lives."
Celebrities who are also readers have a slight advantage over the rest of us, in that they "often making tens of thousands of dollars for just showing up somewhere, have no such financial restraints and may indulge themselves with those epic home libraries the rest of us can only dream about." Presented as evidence by AccreditedOnlineColleges.com are "20 celebrities with stunning home libraries."
Words in, words out.
While the Oxford English Dictionary has added several new words to its pages--mankini, retweet, sexting, cyberbullying and jeggings, according to the Daily Mirror--lexicographers at Collins have been equally busy creating an endangered words list that includes aerodrome, wittol, charabanc, drysalter, alienism, cyclogiro and stauroscope, the Guardian reported.
Janice Harayda's One-Minute Book Reviews collects "40 Publishing Buzzwords, Cliches and Euphemisms Decoded" contributed via Twitter (more at #pubcode) by people in the industry. One of our favorites: Free Press associate director of publicity Larry Hughes's definition of memoir: "nonfiction until proven otherwise."
Book trailer of the day: The Apothecary by Maile Meloy (Penguin Young Readers), which will be published October 4.