300 Seconds: April Showers…

300 Seconds: April Showers…

If you’ve glanced at the national weather radar and forecast lately, chances are you’ve seen a lot of green. Now that April is upon us, so are the correlated showers. Great for the garden; not so great for bookstore floors.

Take 300 Seconds to prepare for your next rainy day. Here are some things to think about and gather:

  • Mops, rugs or towels. You can keep them near your front door or easily accessible to clean up puddles or to offer customers an opportunity to wipe their feet.
  • Umbrella storage. You could offer plastic bags to prevent dripping all over the store, or perhaps hooks or a coat rack in the foyer.
  • Extra umbrellas. Check your “Found Items” box. Are there any spare umbrellas you can offer to customers caught in a downpour?
  • Or do you sell umbrellas? Move them front and center to make sure they are visible to customers.
  • “Caution: Wet Floor” sign. (This is the same sign used during floor cleanings.) Even though you try to keep up with the puddles brought in by wet feet, it’s a good idea to prop up this sign during rainy weather. Some spills can’t be prevented, but signage might discourage customers from walking with so much purpose.

Review: ‘A River’ by Marc Martin

A River_9781452154237_71c07Guided by a river outside her bedroom window, the child in A River by Marc Martin embarks in a tiny silver boat that carries her on a budding adventure. The story begins in her bedroom, adorned with carefully drawn posters, knick-knacks and toys. As she travels downstream, the textures and scenery of each spread invite the reader to join in her journey of discovery. (It is worth noting, I think, that the gender of the main character in A River is never mentioned. My only deciding factor was the hairstyle, but that honestly means nothing. I like that Martin doesn’t limit the audience, and, whether intentionally or not, opens up the sense of wonder to everyone.)

Readers will no doubt end up spending more time carefully looking at the images than reading the words. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. The adventure in this book doesn’t exist just in the writing or just in the illustrations—but in the combination of the two. I found myself running my hands over the pages, wanting to feel each object.

Martin uses cool blues and quiet greens that blend softly together. The color palette is natural, and while objects are defined, there aren’t harsh lines to separate one concept from another. In my favorite section, animals are seen only as tiny eyes in a nighttime jungle…until you look a little bit closer. You won’t find bright flashes of color directing your attention, but that kind of device is not necessary.

A River introduces the concept of interconnectedness; the same river outside your window could carry you to faraway places: under distant bridges, beside factories with plumes of smoke rising into the sky, beyond fields, through a jungle and eventually to the ocean—but only if you dare to go. Even if it’s just in your imagination.


A River by Marc Martin (Chronicle Books | 9781452154237 | March 7, 2017)

Twitter Update: 140 Character Replies

Twitter announced another update today. In an effort to simply conversations, when you reply to someone or a group, those @usernames won’t count toward your 140 characters limit. According to the Twitter blog, the changes you’ll see are:

  • Who you are replying to will appear above the Tweet text rather than within the Tweet text itself, so you have more characters to have conversations.
  • You can tap on “Replying to…” to easily see and control who’s part of your conversation.
  • When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a Tweet.

Review: ‘You and Me, Me and You’

Me and You You and Me 9781452144863_b80ccI find that the most successful children’s books appeal to adults who read them aloud to youngsters. You and Me, Me and You by Miguel Tanco is a picture book written with adults in mindnot necessarily for subtle adult humor, but more as a message for adults with a pleasurable story for children included.

You and Me, Me and You features the story of a man and his son, told from the son’s perspective. Each page presents a situation whereeven though the father is clearly a loving dadthe son is teaching the father a life lesson. Whether it’s on public transit—“I show you how to talk to strangers…”—or watching the progress of ants—“…and how to slow down”— or a bat and ball turned accident—“I teach you to play… and to forgive.”—these little vignettes are a beautiful reminder of how our actions as adults influence and form young minds. Some of the messages made me cringe, but that’s only a sign that we should be taking the message to heart.

I absolutely love the art and illustration in juvenile picture books. The technique, the hidden breadcrumbs, the imagery—the most beautifully illustrated books do not even need words.The illustrations in You and Me, Me and You are spare, but effective. It’s the words—and the message—that are the best part of this little gem.


You and Me, Me and You by Miguel Tanco (Chronicle Books | 9781452144863 | April 11, 2017)

Q & D Responses: Do you host rep presentations?

RepPresentation032417In last week’s Quick & Dirty Survey, I asked booksellers if their stores host publisher rep presentations. It was close, but 53% of respondents said NO and 47% of respondents hold some sort of rep presentation.

Of the 47% that said yes, 25% indicated that the rep presentations were for customers only, 37% said that they were for buyers only, and the rest indicated that the presentations were for all staff.

Here are some of the comments, with all details other than location removed: