Thursday, September 6, 2007

mea culpa...kinda (DBF part 2)

Wow. First off, let me say, we had no idea that so many people were reading us - or cared. I mean three comments in less than 24 hours. Wow. I mean, we're no GalleyCat or Gawker (yet!), so that's kind of a big deal. For us. God, we're losers. But yeah, thanks for taking the time to read and to make comments.

That said, the stuff about Wordsmith was pure speculation (hence, when I mentioned that I "unearthed some speculation" in the original post) from other local book people that I met at the Festival. I'm sure the stores did still get a good crowd, and I didn't mean to say that because they weren't "present" at the festival, they didn't draw business from it. Darren Wang (see comments), as head of the Decatur Book Festival, would certainly know better than I, but several sources did tell me that Wordsmith's application was rejected, and that they "lost" the right to sell books for the Charles Frazier event to Tall Tales.

Also, I never meant to imply that I was confusing the AJC with the DBF. But, you have to admit that it's a bit ironic. The biggest sponsor of the Festival (so big, their name gets to modify it) is the paper that drew so much criticism from the book community this year. That petition to save Teresa Weaver popped up in my inbox at least seven times - and I certainly signed it, for all the good it did. All I'm saying is, maybe they donated a bit more this year because they were feeling guilty? But again, people, I don't WORK there. SPECULATION.

Darren did put me in my place with the B&N info - seriously, Ladytron totally missed seeing them. I was probably too busy eavesdropping on people's conversations. However, his comments seem to suggest that I indicated the DBF was not supportive of independents. I certainly meant to convey the opposite (For example, when I wrote "So right on, DBF peeps.") I was proud of the independents being represented there - from Charis to Outwrite to Eagle Eye. I met tons of great people and was thrilled at a chance to mingle with the people that so lovingly handsell books and keep people like me in a paying job. One cannot live on slunch alone, you know.

I LOVED the Decatur Book Festival and think it's a wonderful event, and hope one day to be invited to participate myself, rather than just be an observer. I also did make my way over to Wordsmith and enjoy it. And I wish more power to Zach and the gang because Atlanta needs more booksellers that truly care about books. But, as a slunch contributor, it's my job to bring you what the people are saying (right until proven wrong)…and that's what they're saying, y'all.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Psst, guess what... Southerners Just as Snarky as New Yorkers (DBF part 1)

I must say, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution went all out for the second annual Decatur Book Festival. It was almost as though they were trying to prove something (cough - no Teresa Weaver - cough - no book section. The Square itself reminded me of a good old New York street festival, complete with corn dog stands. All of the exhibitors had little white tents for visitors to browse, and there were a variety of stages where authors and other industry folk discussed their books and the biz. There was even a special participant room, stocked with food and drinks, where the "VIPs" could hang between events. Not too shabby. Maybe Book Expo should take notes for next year.

But aside from the panels, the southern charm, delicious food, and plenty of booze, there was some other interesting stuff at work behind the scenes. First of all, the exhibitor list . Notice any stores missing? Hmm, Barnes and Noble? Borders? Nowhere to be found. Apparently, the AJC favors the independents, and Ladytron says more power to them. I've been known to swing into a B&N in my day (ahem, Harry Potter), but for the most, part, I do try to support my local independent. So right on, DBF peeps.
The most glaring omission, however, was Wordsmith. I was especially interested in checking the store out, since I'd read so much about it in the past few months . Opened by a former Chapter 11 exec (previously the largest independent book chain in the ATL area), Wordsmith is located RIGHT OFF the Decatur Square and had been written about in PW, Shelf Awareness, Galleycat, etc. So, after being hailed as the next great independent, why weren't they represented at the Festival?

Ladytron used her connections (by which I mean, I chatted up some locals from other independents) and unearthed some speculation. One, Wordsmith opened in June, a mere two and a half months before the Book Festival. All of the other independents were well-established in the Atlanta area, while Wordsmith (despite publicity) hadn't had a chance to prove themselves. Two, owner Zach Steele might be a touch shady. I've never met the man personally, so truly, I don't know, but word on the street is that when he defected from Chapter 11, he took a number of authors with him, dealing a huge blow to the already struggling store. Also, Steele claims to not sell children's books due to an agreement with nearby children's book shop, Little Shop of Stories. Not true, my sources say. Zach just doesn't like kids and doesn't want them running around his shop. The folks at the AJC-DBF are pretty kid-friendly and were not down with this. Finally, I heard that Steele, an initial supporter of the "Save the Book Review" campaign that stormed Atlanta earlier this year, disassociated himself as opening day grew closer. Once the store was open, Wordsmith claimed they were always involved in the fight, angering some of the true supporters.

However, to Steele's credit, he has opened a beautiful bookstore, and I've heard he took in many of the former Chapter 11 employees who were left jobless when the stores closed. And, maybe, in this day and age, you need to bend the rules a bit to play with the big boys...
So there you go…turns out that New York's not the only place where book gossip reigns supreme. Those crazy independents are just as back-stabbing as us publishing folk anyday. Whew. I don't feel so bad about myself now.


David Duchovny, why don't you love me?

Don't know if you have showtime. If you work in publishing you probably can't afford the premium channels, but at least here at the Slunch offices we know we can write off cable at the end of the year. Anyways, you need to watch Californication on Showtime, new eps air every weds night at 9pm. Duchovny plays Hank, a misanthropic sex addicted former writer turned blogger (sounds familiar). A great game to play each episode is "count the boobs." Yes, there's that much sex, good times, literary angst and agency bullshit. Welcome to the writers world in LA.

we give it an A+++

The Slunch Editors

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

i stand corrected, they didn't do it

Well, as PW reported today and one of our intrepid readers informed us, it turns out B&N has changed its stance on If I Did It, which will be retitled I did It (OH! I see what you did there). Yes, what was once an altruistic stance against the abomination which is OJ's pseudo memoir of death has been reversed because they must serve Mamon, the green tooth-stained god of money. Guess that's why Beaufort Books went back to press, and speaking of the press, their coverage has made it #102 on Amazon right now. Way to renew my faith in the future of corporations and humanity as a whole. Way to go... (insert slow clap here)