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Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Isn’t Here, But It’s On Its Way

This morning’s snow wasn’t what I’d been looking forward to. Did Sarah look a bit less than her usual exuberant self, too, or am I projecting my own dismay onto her? No matter. We got out in the woods for an afternoon romp (when the air had warmed up), I with smaller, lighter gloves on, Sarah with nose a-quiver.

I’ve been thinking about spring in the bookstore and on the blog. The vernal equinox is coming up fast, with spring 2011 officially beginning on Sunday, March 20, at 7:21 p.m. Eastern time. So here’s my first executive decision: the Winter Wednesday Postcard Promenade will only occur twice more this year, on March 9 and 16. After that there will no longer be winter Wednesdays! Winter will end on March 20!

The next thing to decide is the weekly bookstore schedule and hours. I’ll probably add Tuesdays to the days Dog Ears Books is open and extend the bookstore day to 4 p.m. beginning on March 22. Gotta say, though, I've enjoyed my "work" schedule this winter.

As Dog Ears bounds forward in its eighteenth year, the future for bookstores is very much up in the air. (Nothing new there. Booksellers in London back in the time of Dickens were hanging on by their fingernails.) July 4 will mark the 19th anniversary of Dog Ears Books, and in retrospect the time has flown (as is so often the feeling when one looks backward); on the other hand, some days it feels as if change is coming at us faster than we can tread water. What is the future for printed books? I like to think of them as “the luxury item anyone can afford.” If only my way of thinking would catch on: "Bound books on paper! Decadent self-indulgence! Buy them for you!"

Ah, well. Across the Atlantic, a bookseller in Ireland has dared to object to her trade body’s much-vaunted World Book Night, scheduled for this Saturday, a gigantic book give-away, as she says, “further reinforcing the notion that we’re all there to provide a public service and that authors, publishers and booksellers don’t deserve or need to make a living.” The link to her first post on the subject states her objections, the second marshals support from other nay-sayers, and the third offers her own very creative alternative. Even if you’re not in the business, you may find the behind-the-scenes debate an enlightening opportunity to walk in a bookseller’s shoes.

On the other hand, if you're not a bookseller, maybe you'd rather be leafing through a cookbook for inspiration or reading a good novel or dreaming over seed catalogs or plotting out some personal self-improvement program for the season ahead. I've got a few ideas for followup to Mardi Gras but will probably post them on the new blog for Monday. Oh, and don’t forget writing a letter and/or packaging up a book to put in the mail. I felt almost guilty today when this package arrived from my new friend in Australia and I added up the cost of the stamps. Kathy, I don’t deserve it! But I thank you for the books and the map of your neighborhood in New South Wales. It makes the other side of the world seem much closer.


Dawn said...

I still have to go back and read the booksellers argument...but I thought you should know I'm still mailing letters! I've decided Wednesday is my letter writing day (less stuff to do after work) and, yes it's only been two weeks, but still...two letters have now been received...well...the last one probably not rec'd till today. I've already got my next letter recipient in mind. And was thinking of just doing it this morning as Katie and I are up and it's 5:30. What the heck...maybe splurge and write TWO letters this week! :)

P. J. Grath said...

Writing your letters is undoubtedly more important than reading the bookseller's arguments, Dawn. And doesn't it give you a great feeling? It does me.

Kathy said...

Winter will end on March 20th! HURRAY! I like your kind of executive decision, Pamela.

P. J. Grath said...

Would you believe it, Kathy? I had to look back and remind myself what I'd decided. (No exclamation mark, please note.)

Kathy said...

You are not addicted. lol!

P. J. Grath said...

Shall we explain to the others, Kathy? Anyone who hasn't read the last Lake Superior Spirit post (go do it right away!) needs to be told that the addiction referenced is to exclamation marks. Kathy, I do have a definite weakness for them but am fighting it.