Sunday, November 29, 2009

RIP Robert Holdstock :)

SF Signal is reporting that Robert Holdstock, author of the Mythago Wood trilogy, passed on this morning. Our sympathies to his family and his fans. :(


Friday, November 27, 2009

Market Days + Live Music Saturday Night!

Main Street Reisterstown will be holding sales and munchies all weekend.
Unchain yourself and buy local!
Reisterstown local musician Nathan Rabe will be playing in the bookstore Saturday 6-9pm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Writers v. Harlequin - or What Makes a Real Publisher?

John Scalzi is hosting an interesting discussion on Harlequin's decision to start what is basically a vanity publishing arm, and the reactions from the Romance Writers of America, the Mystery Writers of America and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The writers are Not Happy with blend of Big Publisher brand with the reality of having to pay to get your book published.

Speaking as a bookseller (so you're sure of my perspective and agenda), I see the following: authors are much better off with real publishers, not print-on-demand publishers, not vanity publishers. What an author gets with a real publisher is a distribution network --- it's getting the book/isbn on iPage and TitleSource and in Bowker, etc, so when your family and friends call their local library and bookstore, those folks can LOOK UP the book to order.

Both I and my bookstore have been burned by certain vanity publishers (requiring certain minimum numbers and not allowing returns, even for book signings). These are the companies I won't deal with any more. If a local author approaches me for a signing and they're with that company, I tell them that they (the author) must provide the books. I will sign a check to them, not their publisher...I am at least sure the author gets paid that way. Some of you may find this offensive but I'm trying to stay in business alongside the likes of the big chains --- so I can host more local authors.

If you are an author who has self-published, you have a VERY hard road to, distribution, travel, advertising is ALL YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

So to get to Harlequin's decision: they're huge, and unlike other genres, romance is making money hand over fist. They shouldn't NEED to open a vanity arm. I wonder if this is a 'loss leader' for them? I don't think we'll know for awhile. It is absolutely bad for the writer community and possibly the publishing community as a whole. I applaud RWA, SFWA and MWA for taking a stand.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baltimore Free Writers TODAY in the bookstore at 6pm

Our local writing group meets in the bookstore at 6pm today.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Free Music from Steve Haug, aka Maugorn, aka Maugie, aka that folk singer at the bookstore

Steve now has a website at

in which you can play free music, or buy CDs, or check when next he plays with us. Yep, that guy - the one with the huge playlist!!! Some of his CD tracks were even recorded here in the shop.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Veteran's Day - America's White Table

The White Table is set in many mess halls as a symbol for and remembrance to service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit.

In America's White Table, Marget Theis Raven and Mike Benny bring to life the story of a young family that put together their own White Table for their Uncle John.

Tea with the Author Saturday 3-5pm

Join Sarah Davis, author of the children’s books “Always Tell a Grown-Up” and “Don’t Be Afraid to Shout No!” and the biography “I Can’t Stop Now!” Sarah is a tireless advocate for the prevention of child abuse. Cookies and Tea/Coffee will be available.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Girl Scout Cookies + National Bookstore Day!!!

10% off everything inside the shop - the girl scouts are outside on the porch selling cookies.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Readers as Collateral Damage in the Bestseller Price Wars?

ComicsPRO to join the ABA in letters to the DOJ regarding the Bestseller Price War

Many of you are already aware that the American Booksellers Association (ABA) submitted a letter to the US Department of Justice, requesting that they investigate the possibly illegal predatory pricing practises going on between Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target as they heavily discount certain hardback bestsellers. On November 2nd, ComicsPRO also sent a letter to the DOJ indicating similar concerns. ComicsPRO is a trade organisation that represents direct-market comic book retailers.

In addition to agreeing with the ABA that "the practices of,, and to offer bestselling hardcover books for sale at prices well below the wholesale cost renders independent booksellers unable to compete and devalues the books in the eyes of consumers." ComicsPRO believes that the practices will affect comic books "as substantially as it affects the traditional book trade, and extends to the sale of graphic novels."

The ABA letter has been discussed a great deal in the media - for those of you interested in the details, a copy can be found here.

My personal opinion as a bookseller is that this price war is not sustainable and will eventually shrink the pool of available publishers and authors. Publishers pay attention to what sells - and if all that is selling are the 5-10 different $8.99-priced titles, they won't accept or print the new authors. They can't afford to. So we get a reduction in titles, a reduction in authors, and
eventually a reduction in publishers.

I ALREADY have issues obtaining copies of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series for his loyal Baltimore-area fans. Princess of Mars seems to be the only title that gets re-printed...the rest are either older 'new' books or only available as 'used' books. I cannot imagine how much worse this could get if the book of new titles shrinks. I can see readers trying to find their favorite authors - and not finding them at anything resembling less than a mortgage payment.

I hope this situation gets sorted out before too much damage is done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wine Tasting this Friday 6-9pm

Join us for Wine and munchies. Live music will be provided by the old-time/bluegrass/folk duo Strings on Wings. Coffee and Tea will also be available.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Bookstore Day!

Saturday Nov 7 is National Bookstore Day!
Celebrate by visiting a local independent bookstore near you -

Or come visit US if you're near NW Baltimore. :)