Beth Golay

Video: ‘Blitzed’

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt just released this video for Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler, described as ‘a fast-paced narrative that discovers a surprising perspective on World War II: Nazi Germany’s all-consuming reliance on drugs.’

If you’d like to share the video, here’s the embed code:

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Video: Fantasy Novels & Fountain Pens

The information published with this video reads: “How to write a fantasy novel by hand in less than two minutes.”

The title of the video is: “How to write a fantasy novel with a fountain pen.”

The actual video is somewhere in the middle.

Jon Skovron’s second book in The Empire of Storms series–Bane and Shadowsgoes on sale next week. Skovron has more information on his website, and he is on Twitter @jonnyskov. If you’d like to share the video with other adventure fans (or fountain pen nerds), here’s the embed code:

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The Shelf Life of Shelf Talkers

The Shelf Life of Shelf Talkers

What is the purpose of the shelf talker? I think it allows the bookseller to have a voice for those times when one can’t attend to everyone in the store or when a customer prefers to “just browse” on their own. A well-placed shelf talker can draw attention to a gem of a read and point out to the browser that not only did you take the time to read this book, you also took time to pen your thoughts about it so others might read it, too.

Those amazing shelf talkers are beneficial to all. Until they’re not.

I believe shelf talkers have a shelf life. Well, maybe “shelf life” isn’t the right analogy. Perhaps “shelf space” would be better. There are only so many shelf talkers that will arrest my eye. Too many, and I do not see any — nor do I see the books they are supposed to highlight.

On a recent visit to Minneapolis, I found myself at DreamHaven Books. I think there was only one shelf talker in the entire store. It was printed on 8.5 x 11″ paper and was laminated. And it certainly captured my attention *and* my imagination. So much so that I took this picture of it.

Now, one shelf talker in the entire store is a bit extreme, but I actually prefer it to too many.

Today I recommend that you use your 300 marketing seconds to cull your talkers. Spread them out between the sections and let a variety of booksellers have a voice, but really give some thought to the books you’re highlighting. If a talker has been displayed for years and the employee doesn’t even work there anymore, it’s probably time to retire it to the file.

Video: ‘Rhino in the House’

In this new video, Daniel Kirk provides the background for his new biographical picture book, Rhino in the HouseIt’s about the true story of rhino champion Anna Merz and the black rhinoceros Samia. The release date is March 17, 2017, and a portion of the proceed will be donated to the Lewa Downs Conservancy.

For more information, Kirk has a pretty comprehensive website. And if you’d like to share the video, here’s the embed code:

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Cioran-uary at Seminary Co-op

Cioran-uary at Seminary Co-op

I love reading bookstore newsletters and discovering unique promotions that you create. One that recently piqued my interest is Seminary Co-op Bookstores “Cioran-uary” promotion, which features one quote from Emil Cioran every day throughout the month.

Marketing manager Alex Houston explained to me that this is in fact their third year of Aphoristic Januaries.

“With the expansion of our marketing department beginning in 2014, and in recognition of our customers’ (near and far) appreciation of quirky, esoteric, and unexpected things, we decided to try a ‘Lichtenberg Appreciation Month’ in January 2015,” she said.

Every day that month, one aphorism from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s Waste Books was posted across their social media accounts.

“Aphorisms fit nicely into the social media format, while also overcoming it. They’re brief in terms of character count, but contain a great deal of wisdom–often not the case on social media!” she said.

Both the book and the execution of the promotion were well received, so Houston said they turned it into an annual tradition, featuring an aphorist each year since.

“Last year we highlighted Joseph Joubert’s Notebooks (Joubertuary, we called it), and this year we’re doing Cioran’s whole oeuvre (Cioranuary),” she said.

They’ve used the same marketing formula each year: a quote in the weekly newsletter, social media posts, and in-store display; and Houston said that every year they gain more followers and subscribers.

“It’s actually one of several ‘traditions’ we’ve started over the last few years–in February, we highlight a major piece by Theodor Adorno (Adorno-a-Day) and in July we highlight the Library of America–and people seem to enjoy the continuity, focus, and daily bits of wisdom each one provides,” she said.