Hello from Hollywood!

We arrived at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood in the wee hours Thursday morning. I started reading my book group’s latest pick, Loving Frank, on the plane. Carrie finished Anne Lamott’s book, Grace, Eventually. We only brought one book each because we anticipate being loaded down with Advance Reading Copies here at the Book Expo.

When we awoke, a very few hours later, I raised the blinds and was so surprised and pleased to see the iconic Hollywood sign on the hill nearby. We hustled off to the Day of Education sponsored by the American Bookseller’s Association. I learned so much in the sessions I attended about new sidelines and planning and hosting wonderful events for the community. I am so FULL of ideas that were shared by other independent booksellers around the country. I can’t wait to implement some new programs when I get home.
At the evening’s Celebration of Bookselling, we enjoyed watching awards given for Bookseller of the Year sponsored by Publisher’s Weekly. Another highlight of this event is to watch the awards ceremony for Booksense Book of the Year. This is always a very gratifying experience because the author’s inevitably humbly acknowledge the independent bookseller as being integral to the success of their books. Here is a little recap of that event from the American Bookseller’s Association website.
“Accepting his Book Sense Book of the Year Award in the Fiction category for A Thousand Splendid Suns (Riverhead/Penguin), Khaled Hosseini, said, “Thank you so much for this show of faith in my writing … support that came long before the publication of [The Kite Runner], and then for handselling…my books.” Sharing his memories of biking to his neighborhood bookstore in Kabul as a boy, he described a growing love of literature fostered by the reading suggestions and encouragement from the store’s owner. “I fell in love with books in that store,” Hosseini said, “and you can’t become a writer of books if you’re not a lover of books.” Saluting the assembled independent booksellers at the Celebration, he said, “Those of you who chose to make a living in this craft [of bookselling] are cultural ambassadors in the communities you have chosen to serve…. Without that very unique brand of word-of-mouth … [many writers’] careers would not have taken off.”
Also present to receive his award was Children’s Literature winner Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Scholastic Press), and accepting via videos were Barbara Kingsolver and family for Book Sense Book of the Year Nonfiction winner Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (HarperCollins) and Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Hyperion Books for Children) in the Children’s Literature category.’
A major announcement was made at the end of the Celebration. The American Bookseller’s Association rolled out the highly anticipated new program called IndieBound. I am so excited about this new program, or “revolution” as they are calling it. It is basically an initiative that will help booksellers and other local independent retailers educate their customers about the benefits of buying local and develop an even greater trust in putting the best books available into their hands. Stay tuned. You will hear a lot more about this soon.
Today was spent orienting ourselves to the layout of the immense trade floor at the Los Angeles Exhibition Center. It is HUGE. Carrie shook hands with Henry Winkler (remember Fonzie?) who is now writing children’s books, Sherman Alexie, author of many books, the latest of which is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Garth Stein. Garth has visited our store before and will come again in October. His new book, told from the perspective of a dog is called The Art of Racing in the Rain. We ate lunch with Jennifer Haigh, author of Mrs. Kimble, Baker Towers and her new book, The Condition.
What an amazing opportunity it is for us to be here. To meet authors whose work we are excited about and to bring home our excitement to our dear customers is so exciting! There is simply not enough time to get to all the autograph sessions that I want to attend, but I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for Barbara Walters, Robert Kennedy, Jr, Ernest Borgnine, Leonard Nimoy, Jan Brett, Robert Sabuda, Gary Chapman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ray Bradbury, Louis Sacher, Dionne Warwick, Brian McClaren and Garrison Keillor.
My eyes are drooping, my feet hurt and morning comes early. See you tomorrow.

Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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