Archive for the ‘loving books and loving sports are not mutually exclusive’ Category

Help us, fun, you’re our only hope

Last night at this event, I gave a short talk. The focus was optimism about publishing and so on. Below, I have posted said talk in its most recent incarnation (it has been altered several times, including 5 minutes before I was on stage, so it might change here again). The point of the sort of talk it was, namely Pecha Kucha, is to talk for exactly 7 minutes with 20 PowerPoint slides in the background advancing every 21 seconds. This should, in theory, lead to a number of visual jokes, but because I am more of the narrative sort, my slides were simply pictures of WORD’s basketball league. So I’ve posted a few in the text to give you the flavor of the thing.

ETA: There is also video available if you prefer listening to reading, which I will try not to judge you for.

Without further ado:

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Football and independent bookselling

As begun on Facebook after a fun conversation with my co-worker: what if independent bookselling were more like (or anything like) professional football?

Being Eagles-centric, I thought that if I were the McNabb of bookselling, I would forget the alphabet from 2-5pm everyday and thus be incapable of shelving or doing my job properly.

My co-worker, our events coordinator, would get a bonus every time she signed a bestselling author for an event.

No matter what new releases came in on Tuesday, there’d be twenty blog posts up by Wednesday morning on fan blogs talking about how we were idiots to only go with four of the new Pynchon,and wondering if that new book from Featherproof was really going to prove itself or if we had just been snookered.

Kelly then chimed in: “And we’d still get paid the big bucks for all sick days due to paper cuts and box cutting injuries.”

John Mutter of Shelf Awareness: “How about an annual draft of the top bookseller prospects eligible for full-time jobs? C-Span could televise it. The stores down the most the previous year would have the top picks and could trade them. The major choices would have press conferences with their store managers and owners wearing store T-shirts or caps. Oh,and booksellers would have agents!”

Laurie Halse Anderson: “I will look forward to the inquiries and scandals when the news leaks out that you were recruited by the deep-pockets world of bookselling when you were an innocent teen with an astounding ability to read fast and naive parents who didn’t realize what that meant for your future career. And then the coaches came calling… in the dark….”

My boss: “So I guess I’m like the Jerry Maguire of bookselling. SHOW ME THE BOOK SALES!!!!!!”

Terra Elan McVoy, author of PURE and manager of Little Shop of Stories: “You’d want a quarterback who had more than one handsell in her–not always going to the same Audrey Niffeneger handoff: one who could stay in the pocket and not panic but still dole out some Andrea Barrett, a little Zadie Smith, maybe fake with some Chuck Klosterman, but who could also fire off one or two big, beautiful hail marys like selling that copy of Drood you’ve been hoping to get rid of before it comes out in PB next month.”

This is a game that had to be extended to the greater world, naturally. Post your best ideas about how to make indie bookselling more like the NFL while I try to get Roger Goodell on the phone.