Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Here's a little picture of the set-up at Merchandise Mart in Chicago. I try to get there for a trade show once a year, even though it is gruelling, and there aren't too many vendors that are small bookstore appropriate.

The 8th floor is the fun one...temporary vendors. Hundreds of suppliers from around the world set up booths showing their new merchandise. I get so overwhelmed with all the colors, flashing lights, friendly faces, and store owners who appear to have an endless stream of money. I was making my one purchase for the day...a couple cases of "Elf on the Shelf" along with several units of the new video that accompanies the book, when a pushy (and that's a kind term!) store owner budged in, tossed her card at the sales rep, and said, "I'm going to make this easy, send me 30 cases." Then she walked away.

On floors 13 and 14, you'll find the permanent showrooms. These are the high volume suppliers. The pace is slower, and most showrooms treat buyers quite nicely. It's party time all day on those floors. Margaritas, chocolate martinis, pizza...you name it. They want us to stay long and spend big. Other than the Elf stuff, I didn't order anything. I fear impulse buying, and buyers' remorse. Instead, I grabbed tons of catalogues, made some appointments with reps to come in and see me...and we'll see what develops from there. I did come up with a few new lines, that I consider risk lines for us...but I'm going to give them a shot anyway.

Chicago was nasty, nasty hot; something in the air had me sneezing, and gave me watery eyes. I drove home through New Glaris - beautiful part of Wisconsin - and intended to give Brendo a surprise call in Madison. But, did she really want me...sweaty, tired, gooey eyed - dropping in on her at work? I decided to spare her the embarrassment.

Book stuff? I have plenty to say about The Help, but will leave that till next time. Just started This Glittering World, by my email friend, T. Greenwood. Tammy wrote a book called Two Rivers. After reading it, I emailed and begged her to come here on the flimsy TR connection....and the fact that there is an Italian restaurant in her book named Luigi's. She politely declined, saying that California authors seldom make a Midwest loop. but, since then, she emails periodically, and sends me hard copies of her newest releases. Fun!

Most authors have websites, and many of them will answer emails...and maybe even send you a little surprise. Try it.

*****Check out this bit of news..... Little, Brown publishers sent an e-mail to buyers announcing a mysterious, last-minute addition to its fall lineup. Untitled by Anonymous is described as a 320-page, nonfiction, hardcover book with photos that will retail at $26.99. Order the book now, the publisher said, to ensure delivery by its November release date." The e-mail called this book 'the inside story of life with one of the most controversial figures of our time.' "

So, what's your guess? Bernie Madoff? That seems the most likely candidate, but I would be disappointed if LB had cut a deal with Casey Anthony. It's only a matter of time before someone does. And that will be a sad, sad day.

Gotta go soak my still tired feet!

Stop by next week.