21 February 2012

book buyers are . . . people! who knew??

ahoy, dear readers

look at the picture to the left. do you recognize what that is? take a close look. what do you see? people? books? magazines? cash register? if you answered museum, you are . . . INCORRECT! if you answered brand new independent bookstore, give yourself a big attaboy or attagirl!

this short post is about a clip i just saw on the vaunted, celebrity-laden, funny and politically tuned "colbert report," (pronounced coal-bear re-pore) with stephen colbert.

yesterday, february 20th, 2012, colbert (pronounced cole-bare) had the author ann patchett (pronounced pa-chay-no, just kidding, it's patch-et) on his show. now, if you are reading THIS rag, i mean blog, then surely you know who ann patchett is. she is the author of such wonderful books as the award-winning bel canto, truth and beauty, and her latest, state of wonder.

but, she is also known as the woman who opened an independent book store, parnassus books, in nashville, tennessee when everyone knows the physical book is d-e-a-d, dead as a doornail, dead. why did she open an indie? well, the two bookstores in town, totaling 60,000 square feet) closed. both of them. around the same time. that left no bookstore in nashville. zero. zilch. nada. goose egg.

here's the interview from the colbert (pronounced, oh, never mind) report with ann patchett. enjoy.

and remember, soylent green is people.

actually, according to ann patchett, maybe bookstores are people? enjoy!!

thumbs up reading - the call by yannick murphy. hunker down in vermont with a large-animal vet and his family.

10 February 2012

OVERdrive UNDERperforms...

dear readers!!!

what the heck is going on in the world of libraries and ebook providers?? why i'll tell you what's going on...SHENANIGANS!

penguinUS, publisher of such well known titles as "with a bare bodkin" and "the strange case of miss annie spragg" and some lesser known titles such as "the satanic verses" and "the help," anyway... has terminated their contract with the company Overdrive. I'm sure you know that, currently, Overdrive is the main provider of e-books to libraries. even here in little 'ole greenville, south carolina, our county library is a customer of overdrive. heck the NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY uses overdrive to distribute their e-book content to their patrons. the NYPL - the holy grail of public libraries. patience & fortitude. which brings me to my next point...because that's exactly what you're going to need when dealing with this issue.

but, dear reader, in the interest of time (and, of course, your edification), i will give you a reading assignment. and, if i haven't told you before, which i don't think i have, paidcontent.org is an EXCELLENT way to keep up with this digital book experiment thing that everybody's talking about. here are some stories to get you on your way - a chronology of sorts

now if you will remember way back when, i reported on harper collins decision to limit the number of times an e-book could be loaned by a library, then said library would have to re-up each time they ran out of "loans." that was the beginning of the publisher pushback on library e-book lending.

but, wait, dear reader. just when you were about to lose all hope, random house, publisher of some little trilogy by some swedish guy about a girl and a tattoo, has decided that they will KEEP their e-books in library catalogs...but raise the price. maybe we need a third lion . . . benevolence?

as for overdrive . . . me thinks thou dost promise too much (sorry will shakespeare). the sticky wicket overdrive is caught in seemed to have started when they decided to work with amazon on having content available in kindle format (that exclusive of exclusive amazon format). in addition, links within the overdrive library interface sent users to amazon for possible purchasing of books they may have borrowed from or were interested in borrowing from the library. maybe there were 62 people in front of you when you decided to check out miss annie spragg's tawdry tale (okay, i haven't actually read it, so i can't really say her tale is tawdry). so you think, well, maybe i'll just pony up the $7.99 to purchase it. from amazon??!!! sacre bleu!! sacrilege!

i had a little internet run-in with a publisher on facebook a couple of months back regarding this very issue. he seemed to take offense to the library/amazon partnership and basically said librarians sh0uld be ashamed of themselves for promoting amazon i.e., allowing patrons to purchase from amazon through the interface. i countered with the fact that the librarian works for the patron, not the publisher. even as a retail bookseller in my previous life, i (and the company i worked for) would rather the customer get the book they needed, even if it meant we helped them go to another store. why? because we are there for the customer/patron.

so what's a library patron to do? do you still try to be a good citizen and incorporate your local library in your technological advancement? lots of people got e-reading devices for christmas and birthdays and when the gift card that inevitably came with it runs out, where can a patron turn? the other issue for libraries to consider is that when these things happen, the patron doesn't know the wizard behind the curtain. they only know the library isn't providing the service expected. so how many black eyes will a library endure until it says "no mas" and throws in the towel (or throws the towel at overdrive). we'll have to wait and see on that one.

happy reading...no matter the format.

what's good to read? a red herring without mustard by alan bradley (3rd in the flavia de luce series). that red herring link is to amazon. hah!