300 Seconds: No #backwardsbooks, please.

300 Seconds: No #backwardsbooks, please.

The #backwardsbooks design trend on Twitter and Instagram might be dividing the internet, but I’m fairly sure I can guess on which side of the debate most booksellers would side.

You know how much thought goes into cover design–and by extension–spine design.They’re meant to attract and intrigue. Covers and spines are meant to be seen. 

Take 300 seconds today and look around your store. Do you see colorful covers and spines? Or do you see stacks of white pages on shelf and table tops? To make full use of the design, rotate those stacks of books so the spines are visible to those approaching the display.

Do you have extra room on your shelves? Fill that space by turning a few books face-out.

These covers and spines are designed to sell. Let’s make sure they can be seen.

Review (Plus): ‘American Heart’ by Laura Moriarty

America’s Bookshelf Blurb:

TSA has regulations in place because of our nation’s threatened security from 9-11—imagine a world where we place our human threats in internment camps to ensure our safety. Sarah-Mary finds she is helping a wanted Muslim escape safely to Canada despite her own political views and know how.

America’s Review:

Sarah-Mary of Hannibal, Missouri finds herself having to uphold a promise to her brother to help an estranged Muslim find safety and shelter outside the walls of the United States. In Laura Moriarty’s new book, American Heart, she explores the depth found within the walls of our hearts and shatters the illusion of safety.

Sarah-Mary and her brother have been repeatedly abandoned by their mother, so they live with their religious, overzealous aunt. Sarah-Mary is forced to go to a private Christian school where the administration enforces a strict dress-code and moral judgments upon everyone who doesn’t think and believe as they do. The outer world and the news around Sarah-Mary doesn’t concern her until the moment her brother makes her promise to help Sadaf: a wanted Muslim woman. Sarah-Mary is a disappointment to many, but to her brother she is his world. She would move mountains for that little man, and in promising to help her brother, she opens her heart to help a Muslim.

This story is told by Sarah-Mary as she makes her way from small town, white majority, Midwest USA to the borders of Canada. Sarah-Mary uses her street smarts and her wits to help the ladies hitchhike across the Midwest while they encounter both unsavory characters and kind-hearted individuals who show Sarah-Mary and Sadaf evil and kindness can lurk in the most unsuspecting places.

Those unsuspecting places and people are what truly made me enjoy this book which offered a perspective on human nature I haven’t seen through the eyes of a teenage girl in this dystopian world of Muslim haters. Sarah-Mary was sheltered and naïve to the racism and bigotry that exist in the world. Through the glimpses of people encountered along the way, not only is Sarah-Mary’s perspective broadened but also the perspective of the reader who will turn the pages of this hitch-hiking adventure.

Books like American Heart offer readers a perspective of what could come to pass if we do not change our mindsets and those around us. Sarah-Mary offered her heart at the risk of losing her life to jail time or to murder from the nasty minds of individuals who would rather turn her in than help her save a life.

In the Classroom: Research Paper & Report by poster board

Have your students pick a nationality. See if they can interview someone from there. Write the five paragraph paper with a Works Cited page including facts about their culture, religion and customs. The main part of this assignment is the visual. Have your students create a 3D poster board, share their new found knowledge and display them on your classroom walls. Stay late one day after school and create a Scavenger Hunt worksheet based on the information your students have shared on their poster boards. Then have your students complete your worksheets while learning about their peer’s research. Like Plato and Aristotle, you want your students to become wiser than the teacher.

American Heart by Laura Moriarty (HarperTeen | 9780062694102 | January 30, 2018)

Quick & Dirty: Store Hours

Quick & Dirty: Store Hours

This photo of Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe in Washington, D.C., taken by Associated Press photographer Pablo Martinez Monsivais, accomplished what it set out to do. Alert the customer that books were sold out. But then my second thought was, “Holy cow. They’re open until 3:00 a.m.?”

I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this Quick & Dirty question before: What are your hours? And since analytics show that you like browsing image galleries, I’d also love to see a photo of how your hours are posted. You can reply with hours/images by clicking here, or it’s really easy to text it to 316-208-3438.


Video: The Digger and the Flower

Each day, the big trucks go to work. They scoop and hoist and push. But when Digger discovers something growing in the rubble, he sets in motion a series of events that will change him, and the city, forever.

The Digger and the Flower is a new book with a powerful message about the environment from Joseph Kuefler, the author/artist of Beyond the Pond and Rulers of the Playground. This video would be good to share with your story time audience, or teachers of younger classrooms.

Kuefler has an impressive website at josephkuefler.com and is active on Twitter @josephkuefler.

Postage Rates to Increase

Last year, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved a proposal by the United States Postal Service to increase rates. On Sunday, January 21, 2018, be prepared for these changes:

  • First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) rates will increase from $0.49 to $0.50. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
  • The discounted “Metered Mail” category for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will increase from $0.46 to $0.47. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
  • First Class Mail Flats (1 oz.) will increase from $0.98 to $1.00. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
  • Postcard rates will increase one cent to $0.35.
  • Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First Class Package Service, and Media Mail will all see an average rate increase of 3.9%. Media Mail rates will start at $2.66 (previously $2.63) and Library Mail will start at $2.53 (previously $2.50).

If you need to make any changes to the shipping component of your eCommerce site, you should plan on performing an update on Saturday evening, January 20. And if you’re a Forever® Stamp kind of epistolarian, you have about a week to stock up.