Calling all Indie Booksellers! Feel like you have a knack for making customers stop and gather around your dazzling book displays? Send in your pics of the BTBA fiction and poetry finalists on display, get as creative as possible, and you and your bookstore could become the official bookstore of the Best Translated Book Award until we claim a new winner next year. It’s like being Miss America without the sexism! The winning bookseller(s) and bookstore will be announced at BEA at the BTBA ceremony on May 27th and will be the official indie bookstore of the BTBA which includes placement on our blog and featured mentions in promos throughout the year. Show your world lit pride! Submit pictures of displays via twitter @BTBA_.
The other week I was talking with Paul Kozlowski of Other Press about studies that have been done on what gets a reader to actually purchase a book. As we all cynically assume, when it comes to purchasing a physical book from a brick-and-mortar store, reviews hardly matter at all—it’s all about the cover and the placement. This is obvious, sort of distressing (see previous post about the doom and gloom that tends to taint the covers of a lot of works of international literature), but also emphasizes the impact that a great display can have on getting certain books into the hands of readers.
So to that end—and to help promote at least one awesome bookstore that are helping promote the Best Translated Book Award—I thought I’d post this pictures of a display that Boswell Book Company put together in honor of the BTBAs. (If you’re not familiar with Boswell, it took over the former Harry W. Schwartz store that was on Downer Ave. in Milwaukee. It’s owned by Daniel Goldin—an amazing bookseller who shocked me with his intimate knowledge of Rochester when I first moved here.)
(Special thanks to Stacie Willilams for sending these along!)
We’re a couple days behind, but this month’s featured bookstore is The Booksmith in San Francisco’s historic Haight Ashbury neighborhood. The store opened in 1976 by Gary Frank, who recently sold the store to Christin Evans and Praveen Madan.
The Booksmith has a long history of hosting great events, and looking at the upcoming schedule, this is definitely still the case. Tomorrow Douglas Rushkoff will be speaking about Life Inc., and more relevant to this website, on Thursday, June 25th, the next meeting of “Found in Translation,” The Booksmith’s reading group, will meet to discuss Yoko Tawada’s The Naked Eye.
Later this month we’ll post an interview with Julie Boyer (who is from Italy and started the Found in Translation book club) and some other special Booksmith features . . . But for now, all of the books referenced in our posts will link to The Booksmith’s online catalog, making it easy to purchase titles directy from one of California’s great indie bookstores.
During her time at Three Lives, McNally Robinson, and now the wholesaler BookStream, Jessica has become one of the most knowledgeable booksellers out there. She’s the posterchild for the American Booksellers Association’s Emerging Leaders Program (which exists to “retain, develop, and support the industry’s future innovators and leaders” withing bookselling) and has always had plans of opening her own bookstore in Brooklyn.
Well, last week she won the PowerUP! Business Plan Competition sponsored by Citigroup Foundation and the Brooklyn Public Library’s Business Library, receiving $15,000 to go towards her goal of opening a store.
She has a complete write-up of the ceremony at her blog, including some info on her future plans:
There will be a lot of details to work through — where and how to receive and deposit the money, how to use this as leverage to get additional grants and loans. To be fair, it’s less than a tenth of what I’ve calculated I’ll need. But it’s fifteen thousand dollars more than I had before, not to mention the $5,000 in in-kind gifts: consulting services, marketing services, a Chamber of Commerce membership, even a gift certificate to Bogota. And perhaps more importantly, the experts of the Brooklyn Business Library think my plan is viable — is the MOST viable, out of all the ones they’ve seen. Kathleen, the Citibank rep responsible for creating the contest and the head judge, told me that it was my presentation that made the difference — that the judges were skeptical about the wisdom of opening an independent bookstore given all they’d heard, but I sold them on the idea with my data and my passion.
Not to get too sentimental, but Jessica’s pretty awesome—if for nothing else than what she did to promote Mark Binelli’s Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die!—and I really hope she’s able to parlay this into all the funding necessary to launch her own store. If there’s anyone out there who’s taken all the right steps, done all the right research to ensuring a break-even business like a bookstore will work, it’s Jessica.
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .