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Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Surprises of the Season
Weather can be counted on to surprise us. Monday morning began inauspiciously, with sneet. What else to call it? Not quite sleet but certainly not plain rain or pretty snow. It was kind of spitting when Sarah and I first went outdoors. Ugh!
As the morning went on, however, the sneet turned to snow, beautiful snow, and the snowflakes seemed to grow larger and fluffier by the minute, falling more and more thickly, filling the air and floating gently to earth. I accomplished my Leland, Lake Leelanau, and Suttons Bay errands at a leisurely pace, glad I didn’t have to race along at the speed limit on slippery roads or fight crowds of shoppers. The entire day had the peacefulness of a silent snow globe.
Tuesday morning in Northport began at the library, where I made copies of the poster for Saturday’s bookstore event with guests Jerry Dennis and Glenn Wolff. The writer and artist have recently turned publisher, with Gail Dennis as their Creative Director. An even bigger surprise is their brainchild, Indie Bookstore Editions. (Glenn designed the little red logo.) These Big Maple Press books will be available only in indies, not from the online behemoth and not in big box stores. Why would people just starting out in publishing impose such a limitation on their business venture? Not to set up what is most likely a false dilemma, but is this a market-driven decision or crazy, quixotic idealism?
I e-mailed my question to Jerry Dennis, and he, generous soul that he is, sent back a lengthy reply, but since much of it will appear in a blog on the Partners Book Distributing site shortly (it's there now) and a longer version in Jerry’s blog, I’ll just hit a few high points he presented:
Jerry Dennis and Glenn Wolff wanted some of their older books back in print but not in disappointing POD paperbacks. They wanted “editions that we were proud of and that booksellers would be pleased to have on their shelves.” They love books and wanted to experience every aspect of making them but also wanted to be able to stay small. They’ve seen small indie presses come and go, destroyed by huge orders and subsequent returns from large chains and distributors. And, Jerry wrote, “Because we don’t like bullies.”*
So there – or here, rather -- you have it: homegrown books, locally written, illustrated, produced, and offered through homegrown, one-of-a-kind, local bookstores. We are all counting on you!
Looking Ahead, Another Signing
Then, just when I thought Jerry and Glenn would be my last special guests of the year, along came another author opportunity for the holiday season. John Mitchell, whose award-winning Grand Traverse: The Civil War Era is still going strong, will be in Northport just two days before Christmas, on December 23, from noon to 2 p.m., at Dog Ears Books to sign copies of his book and include special inscriptions upon customer request.
(Did someone say there should be cookies then, too?)
And Still More Surprises to Come
I have a couple more announcements up my sleeve, having to do with the end of the year and plans for 2015, including bookstore events with authors, but they will keep for another day. In quiet moments today, I’m reading a paperback novel by adman-turned-author-turned-bookstore hero, James Patterson.
(“Describe yourself as a reader.” My reading is eclectic, catholic, adventurous, wide-ranging. How about yours?)
*P.S. from Jerry Dennis: “I forgot to add another very important reason: Because Glenn and I owe our careers to independent booksellers who championed our work from the beginning, back when the big chains wouldn’t bother with us. It seems only right at this stage of our careers that we should publish special editions that can be purchased only in indie stores.”
Thanks, Jerry and Glenn and Gail! We love you, too!