Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Few Bookish Links For Your Morning.

Here is some breathtaking book art that is surreptitiously popping up in various libraries in Scotland.  I cannot imagine having the patience to painstakingly create the magical works of art, although I admire the artist for giving them away, and his/her love of the written word.

Here are 5 Books from 2001 that stick with you.  As the year winds down, there are many best of lists floating around the Internet, and what are the best books, if not those that leave an indelible mark on your soul?  We haven't read any of these yet, have you?

According to this article, via GalleyCat, over 3 billion words were written during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November.  Be honest, did you try to write a book this year?  How did it turn out?

And the works of William Faulkner are coming to HBO.  I admit that As I Lay Dying, is one of my favorite books, but I'm not sure how stream of consciousness will translate into TV.  Faulkner's books are sometimes best understood by reading them aloud.  Has anyone tried to tackle Faulkner?  I will admit to multiple failed attempts at The Sound and the Fury.  How do you think Faulkner will adapt to TV?

That's all for now, please leave any responses in the comments.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Small Business Saturday is November 26th

We thought we'd start to spread the word about Small Business Saturday on November 26th.  Small Business Saturday is in its second year, and we'd like to take the opportunity to invite you all to join us, and support the small businesses in our communities.  Big businesses have Black Friday, online businesses have Cyber Monday, and now Small Businesses have Small Business Saturday.  So we urge you to go here  and pledge to support the small businesses in our community on November 26th.

More than anything else, business owners say they need more people coming into their
shops and buying their goods and services.  
Here’s how you can help:
• Learn more about this effort by visiting the  Join the 1.5 million people who
“like” Small Business Saturday on Facebook.  You can also give a shout-out for
your favorite local shops and restaurants and encourage those in your social
networks to shop at small businesses on November 26.

• Most of all, I encourage you to do some of your holiday and everyday shopping
at small businesses, especially on Small Business Saturday.
More than 200 partners are working together to build on the success of last year’s
inaugural event that drove millions of dollars to small businesses.

 Please join us in participating in the second annual Small Business Saturday.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned books and more

Hey, it's banned book week. Why are you reading our blog instead of celebrating your right to choose what you can read?

Oh, it's because you adore us and decided to give us a few minutes of your time to see what's going on at the shop.

That's super kind of you. Thanks! We have such great customers, you guys are too cool.

Mostly we're getting the shop prettied up. We had a couple of weeks where we got a ton of books in and we couldn't shelve them fast enough. We are almost caught up now, which is a relief.

Other than house keeping, we're all about Banned Book Week. That's the ALA's celebration of books that have been banned at some point in time. Some of them are for super silly reasons. I surely don't want to be "protected" from literature for any reason.  I have chosen to celebrate by reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. It would be a bit more fun if someone where reading it with me so I could dialog about it, but life goes on.

We also got more super awesome new books in. The new Howie Carr is now available by popular demand. We also got the George Washington biography Washington, The Night Circus and The Secret History of the MI-6.

That's it for now.

Go read banned books!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Listen to My Minion

Which is not a derogatory term, especially since she insists on being referred to as such.

I have tried to write this blog post many times.  I have started writing about my experiences at Borders, some of the wonderful people I met working there, some of the wonderful events I worked, my first day on the job, and a myriad of other Borders related tidbits.  I deleted most of that, and decided what I most wished to communicate was that a world with Borders in it, is far superior to a world without it.  Due to the lack of foresight of a select few of others, who were given a viable thriving company, and chose to mismanage it into the ground, all the while milking it for every last drop of money that could be had, we no longer have Borders.  But this isn't about laying blame either.  It's about loss.

So what I mourn for, is not the hulking behemoth that finally breathed it's last breath on September 19, 2011, but what was.  When the company believed in a preached things that it has long since lost, like the Service Profit Chain.  In case you missed it:

Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers. The service-profit chain is also defined by a special kind of leadership that emphasizes the importance of each employee and customer (shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia, with citation below-1)

That was my Borders, and it has been dead for many years.  I can't get over the profound feeling of loss.  I left Borders three and a half years ago, and I don't feel like I have ever truly left it behind.  Some of my best friends in the world are people I met while working there, and these have been some of the defining relationships of my life.  I was introduced to some of my favorite artists, and writers by these truly magical wonderful people.  I can't help but think for one brief shining moment we made a difference in people's lives.  We introduced people to the authors and artists that made their lives better, legitimately changing people's lives for the better.  For one brief moment we lived up to the words in our mission statement:  

"To be the best-loved provider of books, music, movies, and other entertainment and informational products and services. To be the world leader in selection, service, innovation, ambiance, community involvement, and shareholder value. We recognize people to be the cornerstone of the Borders experience by building internal and external relationships, one person at a time."

So what I strive for every day, is to bring just a little bit of that magic to you, my loyal customers.  And believe you me, when it worked, it was nothing short of magic.

1. Heskett, James L., Jones, Thomas O., Loveman, Gary W., Sasser, W. Earl, and Schelsinger, Leonard A. "Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work", Harvard Business Review, (March-April 1994) 164-174

Posted by Vickie regardless of what the footer says

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dawn of a Bordersless world

My first night as a bookseller was the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I wasn't really working but my almost manager thought it would be fun for me to be able to join in with the event and meet my soon to be minions in a more casual environment. It was a zoo inside the Peabody Borders and it was wonderful. Nothing is better than kids excited for a new book. The staff was totally into too. I was terrified that I wouldn't fit in because these were good people, I wanted to be a part of what they had going on.

All the 20 somethings went to Denny's after Peter (The Big Boss, even if he thought the title lacked professionalism) deemed the store presentable enough to allow us to leave. I was invited to join said 20 somethings because they'd seen me hanging about all night and assumed I was one of the other booksellers friends. Mike (the almost manager) had, it seemed, neglected to tell the inventory team that the new supervisor was visiting.

So 15 of us show up at Denny's at 3am (which is the only time it's acceptable to be at Denny's) and all these kids where gossiping wildly about one of the only things they all had in common..... the bookstore. I learned the Phil was EVIL, Linda was causing more drama, Clem had said something insane beyond his usual insanity earlier in the day, Nate was loving his new job but the inventory team wished he'd come back and really hoped the new supervisor didn't suck (no pressure, right?) all before any one thought to ask me who I was friends with that caused me to be out with them.

"I'm the new inventory supervisor...." I replied sheepishly.

"ummm....hi. Errrr.... well... It's not that bad. Actually it's great... super great even"
"And Phil's not Evil he's ummmm...... Yeah."
"We do like Nate. He's awesome"

Things got a bit more docile after that while the booksellers interrogated me over bad coffee and worse mozzarella sticks.

So began four years of a love/hate relationship with Borders. Mostly love. Except when I in the Cafe, that was a source of many three martini nights.

Mostly I loved it. I gleefully worked all but two days between Thanksgiving and Christmas my first winter at Borders (one of them was not Thanksgiving). I loved my minions (I don't care when Peter and Heidi say. Minion is not a derogatory term when used in the sentence "my most adored minions, could you please make this pallet disappear today").

I will never have a job ever again where I can walk in at 2 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon and tell my boss "I can't come in tomorrow, I have to go to a book signing in Toronto Friday nigh, but i can be back for my shift at 6 AM on Saturday. Not a problem" and not get fired.

My inventory team ordered D20 pizzas. What, you ask, is a D20 pizza? Let me enlighten you. In order to order a D20 pizza you need to have a list of 20 toppings and a 20 sided die. You then each take a turn rolling the dice and adding the topping that corresponds to the number rolled to the order. Buffalo chicken, anchovies and extra cheese is not a pizza I would advise eating.

The Cafe was the source of my Borders dark days. Won't say much about them except that I got Carrie and Steffles and my regulars were the only reason I didn't quit my job. John (who sometimes brought brother-in-law Bob, Jay, Jason(who was actually a Jay, but I learned his name from his credit card) , Bruce, Silvia and Jane (who sometimes brought Sara) and Carrie (Red head Carrie, not barista Carrie) are the only reason I did not quit during the dark days.

When finally the dark days ended I made all the displays and tables. Despite a some what rocky start that involved a resistance to shelf talkers and a willful refusal to mark the charts (if i saw fit to put them in the upper left hand corner to begin with) I thrived. An awesome mentor turned friend might have had something to do with it, but she also taught me to take credit for my work instead of giving others credit ("when some one higher than you complements your work say "Thank you, I'm Amazing" was one days lesson).

Nikki and I made a killer team of booksellers that really exemplified what Borders was all about both initially (we had some awesome eccentrics at the end) and what the New Borders wanted which involved booksellers who were... a little more aggressive.

Every one of us wanted to make our customers happy though and we loved our jobs.

Today is the first day in forty years without Borders Books and I mourn for the place that was home away from home for four years of my life. I will miss the place where I found wonderful friends, both in the staff and the patrons. I mourn the loss of a place to share stories and music (although the open mic nights turned out more bad than good) and maybe a session or two of  Dungeons and Dragons. I will miss the book clubs, the knitting ladies, even the summer reading moms who 'don't read' so they let me pick out summer reading books for their kids because they set foot in the bookstore once a year. I worry about what Zoey is going to read now that I'm not around to help her mom pick out books for her. I really think she'd dig Eyes Like Stars, it's right up her alley.

I'm grateful, though, to have a place to keep doing what I love. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Demolition at the bookstore!

 This week at Broken In Books we broke things. Actually it was just one shelf, but that's okay. Vickie had lots of fun and we finally got the really nice bookshelves installed.

Vickie looking thoughtfully at the case. Perhaps delivering it's last rites?

 The crowbar is Fat Max. Vickie is seen here pretending to be safe by wearing her sunglasses while breaking things. I'm a fan of here geeky Harry Potter shirt.

This was my sole appearance during the process. Consulting the mysterious wire growing out of the floor. I decided to stick to writing the news letter and leave the destruction to Vickie and Erica (she's wielding the camera, so you'll never see her in the blog. You'll just have to come in all the time and see if you can catch her.)

The end results are kind of awesome. What with the moving in of the real bookshelf with the adjustable shelves which will hold art books way better than the other contraption ever dreamed of.

The (mostly) finished product! Isn't it wonderful? It looks even better with shelves and books, but I don't have a picture of that.

I was planning on writing more, but we just got 9 boxes of books in and we're running out of floor space. So... I'm going to go and do my job instead of doing the fun blogging part.

Monday, August 29, 2011


The man who shot John Lennon and the man who shot Ronald Regan both had copies of The Catcher In The Rye with them.

That's your useless book trivia for the day.
Vickie and I were discussing the awesome classics we just got in. They are beautiful and old (in the good used book kind of way).  It's pretty exciting when we get in whole sets of classics. I know not everyone is quite a neurotic as I am about their bookcases, but I love when all the spines of my books match and most of the classics that just came in are part of sets.

Other than a lamentable lack of Steinbeck they're pretty amazing. The copy of 1984 is a cover I've never seen it so old, but it's still in good shape. They are wonderous.  

What's your favorite classic? Mine is a toss up between The Grapes of Wrath and The Scarlett Letter. Most hated is, hands down, Ethan Frome. The literary gods tortured me with that one no less than three times.

We're still getting in new books in too. Diversity's the word at the moment with us not ordering any fantasy this week. We're getting in new mysteries in the next couple of days. Dennis Lehane and the like, since we accept that not everyone wants to read Game of Thrones (I don't understand, but to each his own). 

We place orders about once a week, so if there is ever a title coming out that you need (yes, need. Books are not a want, they are like air) just let us know. In the next couple of weeks I'll start posting up titles that are imminent so you'll know whats coming out and if they peak your interest just let us know and we'll put it in that weeks order.

As always we have a wish list for the store. This weeks most wanted items are current DVD's, Romances released in the past couple of months,  Manga and Graphic Novels.

Till next week then!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Well, after a week off from the blog, I can say with confidence that I have recovered from A Dance With Dragons. In the past two weeks I've read three books (well, two and a graphic novel) and they seemed to have cured my initial agony over the end of dance. The next 47 years till Winds of Winter comes out should do the rest.

Not all book experiences end quite as horribly as my dance one. Vickie ran out of Dresden Files again and decided since it would be about two years before another one came out that it would be a good idea to live vicariously through me.  I love Harry Dresden. I had forgotten how much I adored Harry. Even after meeting Mr. Butcher I didn't remember.  Grave Peril was so good. Except the part where I couldn't find my copy so Vickie lent me hers and that was terrifying. It is nigh impossible to keep a mass market paper back looking like new. Vickie managed it and returning that book in the same condition it was lent in was like when home ec teachers use to have you have egg babies. Wicked high stress.

I digress,  the point I was working my way (very slowly) toward was that I am happy to get lost in Harry Dresden's Chicago. It's well crafted. It also reminded me that even if I'm a little discontent with George I still like Westros and I'm going to be really sad when Ice and Fire is over. Both series have really fantastic, rich worlds. I love them almost as much as I love Damar (Robin Mckinley, read her, she's amazing.) Moral? Read more Jim Butcher and Winds of Winter might come out too soon for my tastes. Six years might be the right amount of time between George RR Martin books.

We haven't done anything super fun in the store the past couple of week. We've gotten a ton more new and used books in and we've been trying to get them all on the shelves. Among our new book acquisitions was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I've been told that it was really good. Steven Levitt mentions it in Super Freakonomics (the other book that healed my dragon wounds).  We also got in a beautiful book of photography called Daylight Noire, it's really pretty.

In used book news. Dante Club!!! Literary mystery, can't go wrong with that. Also, more RA Salvatore. The good new covers, not bad 80's ones.  If anyone needed a make over after the 80's it was Drizzt.

I think that pretty much sums up the past couple of weeks. It's been a little boring to be a bookseller of late.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Discontent Bookseller Rant...

It could have been an awesome week. Really it could have. Vicki and I stared the week by going to a Jim Butcher book signing. It was good times. Jim was wicked good people. He defaced my Dresden and my Alera and he answered fans super geek questions. In case you're wondering apparently Robert B. Parker is an amazing author and when Jim can't remember small details about The Dresden Files he checks Wikipedia because his fans are more neurotic than he is about the little stuff.

See, look at that me and Jim smiling. How could my literary week go awry?

I finished A Dance With Dragons today.  But Meg, you were so excited about Dance, how could that be a bad thing? 0-670-81364-8
That all I have to say about it.  

I'm going to need to find an awesome rebound book. Maybe Super Freakenomics. Nothing in there could possibly go wrong. Grumble and Rage. Although I would accept recommendations if you have something to soothe my wounds.

Moving on from my literary angst. 

We ordered more new books this week but we're having a bit of a problem diversifying. I'm a fantasy reader and Vicki reads lots of literature, so we keep ordering things we want to read. You guys should give us some ideas as to what you would like to read in the comments, that way you will have more options than Jim and George (they've been a recurring theme lately, I promise we do read other things). Terry Goodkind is coming out with a new book this month. This summer is really heavy on the big name sci fi releases.
We are also still trying to add a manga and graphic novels section to the store. If you are looking to rehome any titles in either of those genres, think of us please. We are also looking for some newer romance novels and current DVD releases. 

We sent out our first email newsletter this week, so don't forget to head over to our website to sign up to get news, coupons and other literary tid bits.

That's all I've got for now. I'm going to get back to cursing Mr. Martin and hopefully I will be less rage filled next week at this time.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Do Nothing But Read Day

Did you know that on August 6th it's Do Nothing But Read Day? How cool is that, right? We're pretty thrilled about the idea here in the shop. We'll be working Saturday, maybe participating occasionally.
I will be reading this one....   

Who else is a George fan around here? I'm totally looking for someone to geek with. So, if your at least 700 pages in you should come and bask in the wonder of Ice and Fire with me. Although I am quite fond of the Wild Card books as well. If you haven't read them you should check them out.

Vicki will probably try and work through the entire day, but I'm going to try and make her read for at least a little bit. She was all kinds of angry when Ghost Story got pushed back and she hasn't even opened its cover yet! For shame! Harry deserves much more respect than that (especially since he puts Gandalf and Belgarath in the same level of epic wizardly awesomeness).  I must confess a fondness for Alera myself, but all of Jim Butchers works are fairly genius.

What are you guys going to read? If you haven't made up your mind yet you should swing by the shop on Friday or Saturday. We've decided to celebrate by offering our readers Buy One Get One 50% Off Used Books. That way you'll have a spare book in case you finish your first one. Might I also take a moment to point out that we have three Steinbeck books in stock that you could read in a day (or Animal Farm) and you'd feel super cool and cultured that the end of them. That is unless Lost ruined the end of Of Mice and Men when you only had 15 pages left in the book (but I'm not bitter at all).

In other bookstore news, we'll be launching our news letter soon. You should sign up for it. All the cool kids are doing it. Click here to be super cool.


Monday, July 25, 2011

This week in book world

Happy Monday beloved readers,

Lots going on in the book world this week. We continue to expand our new book offerings by beginning to arrange our ordering process for schools and libraries. We're very much looking forward to providing to the community on a larger scale.

Both Vickie and I are tremendously excited for the release of Jim Butchers newest Dresden Files novel tomorrow. Ghost Story is much awaited and we are eager to have it in our hands. In celebration we will begin carrying the entire Dresden Files series new in store. If you haven't read them, you're totally missing out. Harry Dresden is one of my favorite fantasy heroes in recent years.

On a much more somber note, this past weekend began the liquidation of almost 400 Borders locations. Both Vickie and I spent many years peddling literature at Borders and are saddened to see the company go. We send out best to our fellow booksellers. This will be a hard couple of weeks for them. Feel free to share a Borders story in the comments below.

Lastly, please check our website for our updated list of most wanted books.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Not just any books, new books. We're not talking new to us books. These are brand new, never opened straight from the publisher books. We are super excited to be able to have a better selection of in demand titles for our readers.

Mockingjay? yeah, we've got that.

Game of Thrones? We've got that too, all of the Ice and Fire novels even.

Been meaning to read The Help? We can get you started on that.

We can Special Order for you too if we don't have the title you're looking for. No more "We had that for a little while, but some one picked it up last week" No, sir. We can now get you just about any book that you can dream up and it brings us great joy.

Not to belittle the broken in books, we've also gotten some amazing used books in. Beautiful R. A. Salvatore hardcovers (you should pick those up now if you dig him, because you get first dibs on them, but I don't have my collection complete yet). Also, All Souls in hardcover. Wicked good Boston biography, I highly recommend it.  Speaking of books by Boston authors, I touched my first hardcover copy of Shutter Island this week. It's beautiful and doesn't have a picture of the movie poster on the front or any thing.  

So, come in and check them out.

Especially Game of Thrones, but I'm not biased at all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First Blog Post

This is the first blog post of our brand newe Broken In Books Blog, The Broken In Blog, on our new Broken In Books website. We will be covering a variety of topics in this blog, but for the first post, I though it would be important to introduce myself. My name is Vickie. I purchased the store four months ago. I have been selling books for over 10 years. This is my first experience with used books. I will be able to bring some of the book knowledge I have acquired through the years to this new endeavor.
Our first goal is to organize the store into more cohesive sections, which includes alphabetizing. Thus far we have alphabetized and organized, Sci-Fi, Biography, Fiction, Classics, Poetry, DVD, True Crime, and Young Adult, with more organization happening every day. We have also begun the process of inventorying the store with our new inventory system. Our goal is to have everything priced, organized, stickered and shelved by the beginning of the summer. Those are just some of the wonderful changes in the works for you at Broken In Books. Why don't you stop by and see what we have to offer? You won't be disappointed.