Friday, November 27, 2009

We are here for you, but. . .

The holiday season is here and although we will do whatever we can to make sure your visit with us is pleasurable, there are a couple of dos and don’ts you should be aware of if you will be visiting us this season.

1. Please do not request a Barnes & Noble gift certificate.
Depending on our mood when waiting on you, we may politely offer you a gift certificate to our store or we may print off a homemade certificate to our competitor and let them explain why they won’t accept it.
2. Do not ask us to go on Amazon and order a book for you so you do not have to enter your credit card number online.
We would be happy to find the same title at one of our reputable out of print book dealers.
3. If you are interested in a book that went out of print in 1941, do not demand that we sell it to you for the cover price of a quarter even though it is now valued at $150.00.
4. Even if you have written and self published the only book your grandma ever read, (although she won’t even pay the $25 cover price on your paperback), do not email us the week before Thanksgiving demanding a book signing before Christmas.
Likewise, do not request a table in the store for you to sell copies yourself to your friends and family.
5. We apologize, but if you order a book on Christmas Eve, chances are you will not have it under the tree Christmas morning.
The week before shouldn’t be a problem.
Unless, like last year, the entire state is snowed in and your order is stranded in a city three hours away until UPS finally is able to deliver it to our home at 6pm on Christmas Eve.
If that were to happen again, we may not be able to deliver it to your door until 7pm.
6. If your son is in jail, we would be happy to mail him the books you purchase here depending on the rules of the jail.
Unfortunately, we can not mail out books you brought from home even if you did “tuck a little something in the pages” for him.
7. I realize you may be looking for a way to save; however we do not accept used books for store credit during the holiday season.
Any other month of the year we still will not give you $2 credit for a paperback with a $0.25 rummage sale price tag still on it.
8. If you purchase new children or young adult books to donate for the Christmas Toy program, we will be happy to give you a discount.
You may bring in new books purchased elsewhere, but we will not pay you a percent of the cover price.

I like to think of myself as a creative person. But not even I can make some of these up. Each of them is a real scenario from the past four years. If you recognize yourself in one, thank you for the chuckle!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hunting Widow Special

The gun deer season begins this weekend and I know may of you plan on hunkering down in your deer stands and reading Sarah Palin's new book. Are you as excited about it as these folks? The reaction of the kids at the end is priceless!

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c

Excitement Over Sarah Palin's Book Release

Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

If you prefer a little light reading for the weekend, we are having a Hunting Widow Special. Today and tomorrow only all used romance novels are only $1.00! While your hubby is trying to bag a buck you can save many! Of course, trade credit will not be accepted, but seriously, only a dollar book? How often do you find a deal like that?

Saturday is the day to visit your local independent bookstore for America Unchained. How much of your spending can you do with only locally owned independent businesses that day? Bring in your receipts, receive a discount at BayShore Books and help your community at the same time. While you are here, pick up a new book for NEWCAP's Christmas Toy Program and save even more. Can you think of a more perfect way to spend your weekend?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Role of an Independent Bookstore

This week the area’s park and recreation director and I have been discussing how we can team up to offer more programs in the community. In a community of this size, this is no easy feat. Businesses and organizations need to work together, not compete against one another. We do not want to offer more book clubs or story times that may draw away from the great programs the library offers. Card parties or bingo nights may be enjoyable, but how many of the area’s churches already implement these ideas? Does it even make sense for us to work together? What role does an independent bookstore play in a community?

Praveen Madan and Christin Evans addressed this question in The Huffington Post article titled Why All the Fuss About “Independent” Bookstores? In the article they explain how independent bookstores are in the business of building a community. “You can buy a book anywhere, but you can’t buy community. If you want community, you have to become part of one.”

Our goal is to be this community’s gathering place - the perfect place for sharing ideas and organizing activities. So, yes, it does make sense to team up with the park and rec, or any other local organization with the same goals including libraries, schools, and non-profit organizations. You may have supported one of these organizations by attending one of our fundraisers or maybe you have donated a book here for NEWCAP’s Christmas Toy Program . These events are so important to us as a way to give back to the community that has given us so much.

Now the question remains, how can we team up with the park and rec? What new classes or services would you like to see? Do you have a special talent, whether it’s a foreign language, knitting, dance, or music that you would be willing to share? Together we can bring this community together and support one another. Isn’t that what the holiday season is about?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Perfect Partnership

In January, Borders will be closing 200 Waldenbooks, including the one located in Bay Park Square Mall in Green Bay. Luckily, there are still great independent bookstores located in and around the area. If you aren’t sure where your closest independent bookstore is located, this IndieBound link can help.

Tomorrow would be the perfect time to discover these local treasures during National Bookstore Day. There is a list of participating stores listed by state, but here at BayShore Books LLC we are offering a discount on purchases as well as a chance to win a book bag filled with best selling titles.

If you are looking for some great book choices, check out Buy Books for the Holidays. They offer great ideas throughout the season, including this list of mystery authors you may like.

Better yet, while in your favorite independent, find the Indie Best Seller Lists which will be prominently displayed. Four of these lists will be published by NPR beginning on November 13th. The book info pages on IndieBound now feature audio content from NPR's book coverage.

Perfect partnership!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Decision Makers

By now I’m sure you have all heard about the book price wars. I decided to leave it alone. These mass merchandisers are gaining more than enough publicity and I have no desire to help them out.

However, after a customer recently asked why she couldn’t purchase a book online and then bring it in to be signed by the author, I felt the need to speak up. I refuse to mention the names of the retailers in question, you know who they are. I refuse to mention the price they are offering; those of you who drive thirty minutes to save a nickel or pay $3.99 shipping to save a dollar have already tracked down what you believe to be the best deal.

Whatever I say you may say to yourself, “she is just saying that so she can stay in business”. Why would you believe me? So, don’t listen to me.

How about John Grisham's literary agent, David Gernert: “If readers come to believe that the value of a new book is $10, publishing as we know it is over..I think we underestimate the effect to which extremely discounted bestsellers take the consumer's attention away from emerging writers.”

Or how about Stephen King: “It’s time to give the smaller bookstores a little breathing room.”

David Young, chief executive of Hachette Book Group, publisher of James Patterson's I, Alex Cross, said that he would like the U.S. to follow France's prohibition of selling books for less than the cover price. "I do think this massive devaluation of the industry's crown jewels could very quickly be extremely harmful...And I would not be alone in thinking that."

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson said the price wars "will prove damaging to publishers, authors, booksellers, mass retailers, and ultimately consumers." Because these online retailers are “systematically conditioning consumers to expect these lower prices,” Although consumers may appreciate lower prices in the short run, "they are not good in the long run if authors and publishers are no longer willing to assume the risk of creating and producing the kind of quality and selection consumers currently enjoy."

The American Booksellers Association sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting that it investigate practices by the retailers in question that it believes constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers. “If left unchecked, these predatory pricing policies will devastate not only the book industry, but our collective ability to maintain a society where the widest range of ideas are always made available to the public, and will allow the few remaining mega booksellers to raise prices to consumers unchecked.”

Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage in San Francisco and Corte Madera, California explains, “Predatory pricing is a means of driving other booksellers out of business. When this happens, the choice of books is one of the first things to suffer. Some readers think that if their favorite store closes they can always buy the book they want somewhere else. But that's a dangerous delusion -- the books they want may not be there at all. In fact, these types of disruptions in how books are sold or distributed have a profound effect on what publishers decide to publish in the first place.”

Now it’s time for you to make a decision. What is best for you, your reading habits, and your community? Isn’t it bad enough that these online retailers divert sales from your local businesses and wipe out the sales tax your community so desperately needs? Do you really want them deciding what you can and can not read in the future?

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Life in Video

I missed posting last week and for this I apologize, although, given the choice, I would do it all over again. For years my sister attended the Women of Faith Conference in St. Paul, MN. This year she wanted to share the experience with me. Two days away from the store and my family! This was a big step for me, but one I reluctantly took. And I’m thankful I did!

There was a terrific lineup of speakers and musicians including Steven Curtis Chapman , Patsy Clairmont , Lisa Harper , and Marilyn Meberg. My sister especially enjoyed Sheila Walsh as she discussed letting go and is currently reading the book.

I admit, after hearing Lisa Whelchel, The Facts of Life theme song swam through my head the rest of the weekend, but the performance I most enjoyed would have to be by Anita Renfroe. She really hit home. In fact, the way she described her life, it could have been my life. You’ll just have to watch and see what I’m talking about.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Library Community

The Concord Public Library, like many other libraries, couldn’t afford to purchase all the books they wanted due to budget cuts. So they began thinking outside the box and came up with a creative idea. Why not post a wish list so that patrons could purchase books to be donated to the library? It would be convenient for the customers and the library would receive the exact books they needed.

Great idea! If only they would have spent a little more time thinking about how to implement it. According to the owner of Gibson's Bookstore, Michael Herrmann, “The reason they had the problem was budget cuts, which are due to less revenue coming into the city…" Kind of a no-brainer, right? Apparently not.

The library director chose to post their wish list, not at the local independent bookstore, not even at the nearest chain bookstore, but online at the biggest competitor of these locals. “Their strategy to combat (the budget cuts) was basically to send money out of town. There seemed to be a real disconnect there…” Herrmann sent in a message to the people on his store's e-mail list, “In requesting donations through a national retailer, the city had neglected its traditional community partners while promoting a rival who neither pays city taxes nor employs city workers… In short, if you try to support the library by buying books from (online retailer), you are actually harming the library in small but significant ways."

Herrmann found another solution. He included links to the list of desired books in the e-mail and asked for potential donors to choose the titles they would like to buy. The list, which was posted online for a month and sold four books, was completely filled within 24 hours through Gibson’s. Herrmann then sent out a list of books requested for the Penacook branch and those were sold as well. Not too surprising since the customers of the local independent bookstores and the patrons of the local libraries are most likely one and the same. As librarian Brian Herzog points out, “Library communities are not just the people who come through the door, and certainly not just the people who visit the website. When libraries reach out to the community, we have to go to where the community is, and not just wait for them to come to us.”

After the feedback the library received over their decision, they now include the local bookstores when posting their wish lists.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Have a Little Faith

It's finally here!

Mitch Albom’s first non-fiction since Tuesdays with Morrie was released this week and it does not disappoint. Have a Little Faith begins with a request from his childhood rabbi that Albom deliver his Eulogy. Needing a deeper understanding of the man behind the mission, he is brought back to the world of faith he left behind years ago. Albom also meets a convict turned pastor and soon realizes there are more similarities between Christian and Jewish faith than he thought possible. This is not a book about religion, but about the comfort of finding something to believe in. I am a fan of all this author's work, and this one is no different.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"That's why I do this!"

Tracy Ertl, publisher and owner of TitleTown Publishing, hand delivered my order of Torture at the Back Forty and Bodyguard to the Packers for the Mike Dauplaise’s book signing next month. Now that’s what I call customer service! One independent business taking care of another.

We had a very informational and enjoyable conversation about publishing, selling, and the book business in general. I was curious how Tracy, a former police reporter and current public safety dispatcher, began her career in publishing – especially specializing in the true crime genre. I must admit, I have never been a fan of true crime. How can authors exploit the victims and their families in that way? Boy, did I have a lot to learn! Tracy, a survivor herself, has made it her goal to educate about crime and the survival of it. Her purpose, and that of the authors she publishes, is to help readers come to a deeper understanding of the victims and make sure they are never forgotten.

The true story of the pool table rape and murder of Margaret Anderson. Left for dead, practically beheaded in a manure pile, Margaret fights for life. But in the end the single mother leaves behind a son. Author Dauplaise practically makes Margaret blow a breath at readers as he recreates the night she was killed. He then takes readers to the place she was trying to escape back to, her home state of Montana and finally on the investigative hunt of a lifetime as this America's Most Wanted drama ends with the capture of her killer five years later.
From the back of Torture at the Back Forty

What did you think of the inside cover of Torture at the Back Forty? Tracy wondered. Sheepishly I admitted not even opening the book. I had a few copies pass in and out of the store, but really had no desire to more than glance at them. Without reproach she slit the carton in front of us, placed a copy in my hand and expectantly watched as I read the short blurb. “That’s why I do this!” she exclaimed with pride as the goose bumps ran up my arms, “Isn’t it amazing that a book can have that kind of impact?”

No, I am not going to tell you what the single sentence said, you’ll have to pick up the book, but I will tell you that I just got the same reaction reading it again.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I’m currently engrossed in a book that has captured my attention so completely that I came into work an hour late twice this week. Well, late for me, still an hour before we actually open. It’s a book I’m psyched about discussing and sharing. So, what’s the title? I can’t tell you. . . or I may have to kill you.

Not really, but sometimes it feels that way. You see, the book hasn’t been released yet. Many publishers send booksellers advance reading copies to generate excitement. Once in awhile a single book will arrive in the mail that I feel honored to have in my possession before anyone else. More often than not they include a note from the publisher or wonder of all wonders, the author himself! Unfortunately, they always misspell my name. My name is spelled with a C. Many acquaintances spell it with a K. You would think book people would be able to get my name right, but they never come close. Dear Reader or Bookseller isn’t even close to Dear Cathy! My excitement over the coveted title allows me to forgive easily enough.

The question I struggle with is whether or not to review a book before the release date. Who does that really benefit? Possibly the evil A, but not likely independent bookstores. Other than the Harry Potter and Twilight set, not many orders come before publication. Is it possible that customers don’t realize they can order from independent bookstores and receive that highly anticipated book on the release date without paying shipping? No! It can’t be! Not with all the promoting we do – signs in the store, blurbs in our newsletters, offers to order anything we don’t have in stock. There must be some other mysterious reason.

For now, I will keep my latest and greatest find to myself. At least until I finish the book to make sure the ending lives up to my extremely high standards. However, if you happen to guess the title of the November release, I may reveal the truth...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wave Goodbye

This summer has been a great one, but all good things must come to an end. We are wrapping up the Annual August Giveaway after placing titles by great new authors in more hands than ever before. We’ve said goodbye to the book club members and customers who will seek out a warmer location until next summer. Most likely we’ve given directions to the last tourist of the year who must have taken a wrong turn on their way to Door County.

Luckily, we have the fall season to look forward to and what a season it will be! How can we not count out the days until the release of the book depicted in this book trailer??

Or the return of Robert Langdon?

Or revisiting the Cappadora family from Oprah’s first book club pick?

Speaking of Oprah what will she choose on Friday, September 18 as her next book club selection?

Any guesses?

What books are you looking forward to this fall?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ask Indies

Ask Indies, an effort by dozens of independent booksellers on Twitter to share our knowledge, went live this week. Just ask a question about books, add the #AskIndies hashtag, and booksellers will respond with recommendations, ideas, and opinions. Every book page on now has an Ask Indies button which links to a simple twitter form so you can also ask your questions directly from the site. The book’s URL and #AskIndies will be entered automatically.

As Paige Poe, IndieBound's outreach liaison, observed, "Ask Indies really came from booksellers who were looking for ways to use social networks to connect with readers, and make those ways new and interesting. So many booksellers are on Twitter, more of them every day, and Twitter's immediacy fit the idea perfectly. It allows indie booksellers to publicly display exactly what makes them such great curators: their knowledge and expertise. And hopefully it's fun for everyone involved."

Not tweeting yet? Check out The Little Book of Twitter.This handy little guide tells you everything you ever needed to know and more.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Books for Health

My son dropped me off at the store this morning on his way to the doctor. Nothing serious, he just smashed his thumb – 4 days ago. Typical mother, I wanted to take him in and hold his hand while he was examined. Typical 20 year old, he didn’t want his mother any where near him. After close to three hours he was back at the store giving me an update. THREE HOURS!

Suddenly I was grateful that he didn’t need me with him. Who wouldn’t rather sit in a bookstore for three hours than a doctor’s office? Oddly enough, shortly after having this thought, I found myself on
Book Exposure’s blog reading a post by historical fiction author Jessica James titled 5 reasons why visiting a bookstore can be good for your health.

Ron Hogan of
Galleycat pointed out the fact that reading a book helps you feel better about yourself and now Jessica helps us to get into better physical shape by visiting a bookstore. Luckily I spend all day everyday at a bookstore. I shouldn't have to spend three hours in a doctor's office any time soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Learning to Drive

I am the parent of two teenagers learning to drive. The youngest has had two broken bones and needed stitches from three separate biking accidents. Last month he flipped a jet ski and last week he was run over by a skid loader (which explains my absence from the store on Thursday afternoon). This is a kid I’m supposed to hand over the car keys too?!?

It is no wonder I assumed Velva Jean Learns to Drive would be a horror story. Which is why I shifted it to the bottom of my to read pile numerous times. I have nothing against a good horror, I just prefer the kind that aren’t quit so realistic. Truth be told, if it weren’t for an email or two from Laurie, an associate publicist at Plume (Thanks, Laurie!!) I probably would have put off reading this novel by Jennifer Niven indefinitely.

In reality, there is little about Velva Jean Hart that resembles my son other than the fact that they both have big dreams (my son to survive the summer, Velva Jean to become a big-time singer in Nashville). Growing up in the 1930’s, Velva Jean held on to that dream until, as a teenager, a more practical dream, to fall in love, becomes a reality. Can she have it all – be a singing star at the Grand Ole Opry and be the obliging wife Harley Bright, a bad boy turned preacher, expects her to be?

This first novel of Jennifer Niven gave me new insight into what learning to drive really means, both literally and figuratively. There may be some terrifying moments along the way, a few injuries, a fender bender or two, but it also opens up a whole new world. It’s about getting behind the wheel and taking control. Now I look forward to sitting in the passenger seat with my son and being involved in this one small way as he discovers how to live out there.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Are Publishers making a deal with the Devil?

Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba Information and editor of the Book Publishing Report believes so and he’s not alone. The Populist article, Death of the Category Killers by Stacey Mitchell, describes how the specialty chains (category killers) that grew in the 1990s and early 2000s and bankrupted thousands of independent businesses are now losing ground to giant mass merchandisers. These mass merchandisers can make a book a best seller just by putting it on their shelves. Publishers have found this power irresistible and now spend much of their resources supporting these big box stores.

“Publishers don’t realize it, but they are backing themselves into a corner if more bookstores continue to close,” Norris contends. “If the balance of power shifts to a couple of big retailers … publishers are going to find they have no relevance or power.”

These stores only carry a select number of titles. Customers are more likely to pick up a tube of toothpaste as an impulse buy than a second book, making it impossible for new and diverse authors to be discovered. In other words, consumers will be able to pick up the new Patterson or Roberts but what about Tana French or William Young ?

What happens if the big boxes suddenly decide to reduce or eliminate the space devoted to books and replace it with higher margin items? It wouldn’t be the first time. In 2003 one of these stores sold toys at a loss for the holiday season and became the top toy seller. We know what affect that had on smaller and independent toy stores. Now this mass merchandiser is cutting the toy shelf space in half. This could put many manufacturers that depend on the box stores out of business since they have fewer competing retailers left. If the same steps were taken in the book market, will authors, publishers or independent book stores survive?

This will not be an issue for those that read one or two books a year by a best selling author, but what about the rest of us? Can you imagine not being able to browse the shelves for that hidden treasure – a book you remember reading as a child or a novel by an as-yet-to-be-discovered new talent?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not the Norm in Wisconsin...Honest!

Attention customers:

I read a mystery book by a popular author and I didn’t approve. There was a MURDER involved! How shocking! Therefore, I am eliminating all mystery books from the store immediately. I am also demanding that the library do likewise. I ask that everyone that currently has a title from this genre in their possession to join us in a public book burning to wipe out these types of books from our fair city.

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

This is basically the stance a couple in West Bend is taking. They objected to some of the content in the young adult section of their local library, so they petitioned the library board to remove the books in question. The city council voted against renewing the terms of four library board members for dragging their feet on the issue.

By time the library board met, both sides of the debate had collected more than 1,000 signatures backing their position and dozens of residents spoke at the meeting. Thankfully, the board voted unanimously to keep their policies the same.

This dispute caught the attention of four Milwaukee area men who filed a claim against West Bend calling for one of the library's books to be publicly burned, along with financial damages. The men claim their mental and emotional well being was damaged by a book at the library.

The librarians should most definitely be fired.
How dare they force this couple from West Bend and these men from Milwaukee to read the books in question!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shopping Local is Green

If you follow this blog, you have heard me rant plenty of times about the importance of shopping locally. The creative folks at a fellow independent book store, The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina, have created a much more fun way to spread the message that shopping local is green.

Thank you Tom Campbell and friends!
If you don't know where your closest independent bookstore is located, check out the

Friday, July 10, 2009

Let's Make History!

On Tuesday the National Book Foundation announced that in 2009, for the first time, the public will choose The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction. National Book Awards is celebrating their 60th year by presenting a book-a-day blog on the fiction winners from 1950 to 2008. The blog, which runs from July 7 to September 21, started with Nelson Algren's The Man With the Golden Arm and will end with Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country.

468_60 banner ad for 60th Anniversary of National Book Awards

Writers connected to the Foundation have been sent ballots with all 77 books listed. They will select three. The top six vote getters will make up a short list, which will be announced on September 21st. Between September 21th and October 21st we have the opportunity to vote for our favorite on the Foundation’s web site. Each unique email address will be entered into a sweepstakes for two free tickets to the National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner and two nights in the Marriott Hotel near Wall Street.
What books do you think will make the cut?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Best Books Ever Written

Can you name the best book ever written?
Who can honestly answer that question?
Has anyone read every book ever written?
And who’s to say what the best is?

Newsweek gave it a shot with their Meta-List. They combined the numbers from ten top book lists to come up with the top 100 books ever written . There are many classics, plenty of Shakespeare, even the Holy Bible; but Charles Dickens
is notably absent as well as Ayn Rand. Another interesting observation is the fact that the first non-fiction title arrives on the list at #26. Ah well, what can you expect from a list that doesn't even link to IndieBound as an ordering option?

How about you?
What would you add, remove, or replace?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrate Your Independence with Independents

“I can’t believe you have this book! I’ve looked everywhere for it!!”
I have heard this many times and while I take it as a compliment, all I can think is

Time is money, as they say. Combine that with the price of gas, why would anyone choose to drive from city to city, store to store searching for anything? Especially when you have the convenience of shopping locally. Sure, I had exactly what the customer was looking for, but if I didn’t I would be happy to order it. And I know I’m not the only independent business in town to offer this service. In fact, from my experience I believe most of us will do whatever we can to get whatever our customers are looking for. You are, after all, the reason we are here.

Next week Celebrate Your Independence with Independents.

I challenge you to take the Indie Challenge – use Independents Week to explore your community’s independently-owned businesses. See how much of your purchasing for the week you can do with them.
IndieBound best explains the question

Why shop Indie?
When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy
Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.

The Environment
Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community
Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.
IndieBound supports Independent Business Alliances around the country. To find an alliance near you, visit AMIBA or BALLE.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Father’s Day is this weekend and if you are anything like me, you have yet to come up with the perfect gift. Face it; guys are hard to buy for. They buy what they want when they want it. Except for the completely out of the question gift ideas they continuously remind you of. Sorry honey, no Harley this year. Maybe that’s just the father of my children.

Books make great gifts for so many reasons. The choices are as varied as your dad’s interests. You can find the perfect title whether your dad is a gardener, hunter, fisherman, golfer, bird watcher or drinker. If he is a fan of fiction the possibilities are endless. When in doubt, you could always give a gift certificate, although the men in my life all hate to shop.

My gift buying philosophy is practically full proof – I purchase the books I am most thrilled about. If I love the book and dad loves me then he will love the same books, right?

What about you?
Have you found the perfect title for your dad?

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
I hope you enjoy Pride and Prejudice!

Friday, June 12, 2009

One of Those Days

Did you ever have one of those days?

I’m guessing I did recently when I placed an order for a book based on title alone.

It must have been one of those days when all seven types of customers were the extent of my morning traffic.

What else would have possessed me to add F My Life to my order? It must have been one of those days if the title was enough for me to say, “That’s the book for me!”

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Do

This weekend kicks off the wedding season in my family. Many years ago when my sister was searching for her wedding dress, my mother thought she should wear something elegant like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For months she talked about the high necked gown Audrey Hepburn graced the screen with. My sister, not yet born in 1961 when the film was released, couldn’t picture this beloved gown so the two of them rented the movie with remote control in hand to freeze frame the desired scene. Imagine their disappointment when there was no wedding scene in the film! Right actress, wrong film. Eliza Doolittle wore the remembered dress in My Fair Lady.

Having been married now for more years than not, it’s difficult for me to remember the importance or lack thereof that I placed on the dress. For me it was more about the groom. I spent many years wishing I could marry Charles Ingalls before moving on to Fabio and then Nicholas Sparks . (Is there any man more romantic?)

Romance is usually where the story ends. Most romance novels do not include the years after the honeymoon. At some point my life moved from Danielle Steel to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, as in The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands , which my husband can attest, I have not yet mastered. That’s okay, he isn’t exactly Porn for Women , but I do see a little of Charles Ingalls in him.

What about you?
Is there a character that you envisioned as your significant other?

Friday, May 29, 2009

To List or Not to List

School is almost out.
Where are the summer reading lists?
Do schools still do that?

Way back when I was in high school I remember going through my list the day after school was out for the summer and rushing out to get the books on the list immediately. Yes, I was one of those students who did their homework on Friday night rather than worry about it all weekend. By the first week or two of summer my list was completed and I was able to move on to read anything my little heart desired, which always caused problems when school began in the fall. After reading all summer, how could I possibly remember all the little details needed to pass the exams on the summer reading list?

I don’t remember my own kids ever coming home with a summer reading list, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suppose it depends on the student. For someone who wouldn’t read unless they absolutely had to, the list would give them some incentive to do so. How many of these kids and their parents scramble to track down the books and quickly skim through them at the last minute? Summer reading lists may introduce students to new authors and genres that they would never choose on their own. A great way to open minds, but doesn’t this turn reading into a chore?

A perfect example of this occurred in my household this past week. My daughter had to read a book for class and she was struggling with it. She loves to read and has a stack of books almost as tall as she is waiting patiently for her to inhale them, but this was a book she had to read. She put it off until the last minute, skimmed through it quickly and took the required test. No real interest, no real involvement. My son, on the other hand, was excited to be home from college and have the opportunity to read what he chose for a change. He had been looking forward to reading this particular book for months, finished it quickly and discussed it frequently at the dinner table. What is so ironic about this story? Both kids were reading the exact same book! Their attitudes made all the difference.

I am thankful I no longer have to follow a list when deciding what to read this summer.

What about you?
Do you have a summer reading list?
Will you be taking the
Beowulf On the Beach Reading Challenge?
Or will you be reading whatever your heart desires this summer?

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Going to be a Bright Sunshiny Day

The sun is shining and it looks like another beautiful day. Occasionally I feel like I am missing out by being in the store all day every day. What a feeling it must be to feel the sun warming your winter weary face!

Times like these I tend to spend a few minutes each morning browsing the shelves and making a mental list of what I look forward to reading and deciding what to order for seasonal regulars. I know summer has arrived when these long lost friends return after eight or nine month of travels to exotic places such as college or Arizona.

The college students are bubbling with excitement at the prospect of choosing the first book they have time to read for purely enjoyment in almost a year. Many have lists they have been building since the first week away at school. They choose one or two books on their list, foolishly believing that will last the summer, only to return a couple of days later.

The snowbirds have guided their RVs back to an area that is finally warm enough to welcome them. The stories they tell would be enough to fill the shelves in this bookseller’s mind! Like how they tie a snow shovel to the top of their trailer to decide where to set up camp. "When someone asks what that thing is, we know we are safe!" The excitement of packing up everything they own after retirement to spend their days living in a trailer roughly the size of a tool shed and chasing the sunshine is contagious. They set out to meet new people and visit new places. Which reminds me why I am here. I can do those things from the comfort of this little shop. Given the choice, there is no where else I would rather be.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'll Have it My Way!

It has been a busy week. So busy in fact that I just couldn’t find the time to replace the Mother’s Day display, which obviously had to go. The solution? Pass the buck!

The assignment: create a display. That’s it, the only request I gave to a part time employee and full time daughter. K took the same approach any teenager would – she pulled all her favorites along with books she has been anxious to read. Looking over her choices, I remarked that the display should have some sort of theme or make sense in some way. Next a sign was added to the display:

Great Books
According to K

Problem solved. But why are they great books (according to K)? Next pass of the display I noticed short reviews highlighting each selection. Some were positive:

Super wonderful fantastic book!

Some were opinionated:

100% better than Twilight (but not as clean)

And others were a little naughty:


Okay, maybe not the type of display I would create, but beggars can’t be choosers. The display has been quite a hit with the local high school students. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? It makes sense that a display created by a teen would be a hit with her classmates. Keeping a display created by area adults, teens and children may be a big draw to others in our community. Who can I pass the buck to next?

How about you?
What would be on your display?
What caption would you add?

Friday, May 8, 2009


Home alone, curled up on the couch with a cat on either side, the recently closed copy of If I Stay wrapped in my arms, tears streaming down my face; my husband and son walk in the door. “Oh, must have been a sad one,” my husband mocks. “Why would you want to read anything that makes you cry?” asks my son. Why indeed!

After my initial irritation passes, I realize this is a very good question. Many books have brought out strong emotions and it’s not unusual for me to laugh out loud, sleep with the lights on or utter a few choice words to the characters in a book. For the number of books I read, tears don’t actually flow that often. I’m not a cold hearted person, so of course Sarah’s Key and Shelter Me caused a few moments of sadness, but actual tears? This is only the second book that comes to mind which was the root of uncontrolled tears, the first being Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas.

Naturally, after drying my face I set out to make sure every family member, customer, and friend shares the same experience. Do I really find satisfaction in offering this source of sadness? Some appreciate my suggestion, claiming the book was “absolutely wonderful, I cried for hours!” while others are dumbfounded as to why I would suggest “such a depressing book, I cried for hours!”

To get back to my son’s question, why would I want to read anything that makes me cry? I suppose it’s for the same reasons we like roller coasters or horror movies. Sometimes it’s fun to be scared and sometimes you just need a good cry.

How about you?
Have you read anything to bring on the tears or make you want to throw the book across the room?
Do tell!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hurray, Hurray the first of May . . .

Hurray, Hurray the first of May!

You know what that means don’t you?

That’s right! It is International Buy Indie Day!

The idea is to buy one book – paperback, hardcover, or audio book

Who came up with this brilliant idea?
Bestselling author, Joseph Finder asked every person who loves books to buy one from an independent bookstore on Friday, May 1.

Since then hundreds have flocked to
facebook to RSVP
and to twitter their support
or include the event in their blog
or on their website.

So, where will you be today
and what will you be buying?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Contest is On!

April is National Poetry Month . To celebrate BayShore Books is hosting Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday April 30th. All month long if you stop in the store and vote on who wrote a specific poem you can win a book of poetry.

I am now adding a new twist to this contest and opening it up to all of you loyal blog readers. I know many of you are hidden poets just dying to be discovered. Here is your chance! You have one week to submit a short original poem in the comments section. Please do not include your real name or contact information. After submitting the poem, email me with your poem title, name, and address. Next week you can vote on your favorite poem submitted. The winner will be able to choose one of a select book of poems. This is open to anyone in the US - children, teens and adults.

Good luck!

Friday, April 17, 2009


If you have been reading my rants for some time now, you are probably aware of how opinionated I am on certain subjects and how I’m not afraid to speak my mind even when I should probably keep my mouth shut.

You most likely are also aware of how I feel
about censorship, so is it any surprise that I have a few things to say about what everyone is talking about? Actually, I don’t. I think Patrick at Vromans has said it all. Opinions?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Childhood Favorites

This morning I awoke tangled in strands of cotton batting. Maybe it is finally time to replace the quilt my mother made me about thirty years ago. Sometimes I find it difficult to forget items filled with childhood memories. Looking at my stock of children’s books, I’m not the only one.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes was an Easter tradition in my house and still holds a special place in my heart. The illustrations alone bring me back to better days.

I remember trying to scare my little sister with The Monster at the End of This Book only to join in her giggles when we reached the end.

Before I knew it I moved on to Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children. Times haven’t really changed that much, have they? Sure a few vampires have been added to the mix, but many children are still enjoying the same favorites their parents cherished.

How about you?

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

In Annie Get Your Gun , Annie Oakley and Frank Butler show their competitive sides as they sing the well-known song Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better. Does this include reading?

According to a recently released survey women read more than men. This didn’t really come as a surprise to me. It very well may start in childhood. Typically if you can get a youngster hooked on books at an early age, male or female, they will be hooked for life. The trick is finding a series that they will get caught up in and continue to read. Twilight did this for many. Plenty of customers have discovered the joy of reading with this series and have asked for other similar stories. These are mostly teenage girls and women of all ages, though. What can be done to encourage boys and men to read more? Is there something publishers can do to make reading more appealing to men?

From my experience as a bookseller, I do see more girls reading than boys. Lately it seems I’ve had a lot of parents and grandparents choosing books for boys as an alternative to expensive video games. The number of boys that choose books for themselves is still way below that of girls, though. As for men, I sell a lot of history/military, and business/economic books to them, which tells me many read to learn, not simply for enjoyment. On the other hand, mystery/suspense and science fiction/fantasy seem to be very popular with teen and adult men alike.

Men may read less than women, but they do read. Could it be a lack of reading material that interests them or do they just not see reading as a worthwhile way to spend their time? Come on guys! Chime in and let us know what you think. Do you think there is a difference in reading habits between men and women? If so, why do you think that is?

Friday, March 27, 2009

To Be a Book

Did you ever wish you were a book? This is completely different from wishing your life were like a storybook. Who hasn’t wished they were Stephanie Plum or Jane Eyre? I mean did you ever wish you were literally a book?

I have wished to be one of my cats once or twice as they lounged around the house. I have wished to be my pillow on many cold winter mornings. I’ve spent half my life wishing I could fly like a bird. I’m pretty sure this fantasy of being a book is a first for me.

This week I have sent books to California (I hear it is warm there) and New York City (I consider myself a small town gal by choice, but there is nothing wrong with new experiences). A used hardcover went to France (Paris!!) and a paperback bestseller to Australia (How can you not melt when you hear that accent??). If I could only travel with them! If I hand deliver these books I could use that as a business write off, couldn't I?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Time to Vote!

The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for the second annual Children's Choice Book Awards! Close to 15,000 children and teens from around the US spent months reading and evaluating books submitted by publishers. The five favorite books published in 2008 in each category are open for a nation-wide vote. Stop in at BayShore Books to vote or use the handy widget on the left. The winner in each category will be named as part of Children's Book Week(May 11-17, 2009), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.

This year’s Children’s Choice Book Award finalists are:

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year:
The Donut Chef written and illustrated by Bob Staake
Katie Loves the Kittens written and illustrated by John Himmelman
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Sort It Out! written by Barbara Mariconda, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Those Darn Squirrels written by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year:
Babymouse: Puppy Love by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
One Million Things by Peter Chrisp
Spooky Cemeteries by Dinah Williams
Underwear: What We Wear Under There by Ruth Freeman Swain
Willow written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, illustrated by Cyd Moore

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year:
100 Most Dangerous Things On the Planet by Anna Claybourne
Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
The Big Field by Mike Lupica
Swords: An Artist's Devotion by Ben Boos
Thirteen by Lauren Myracle

Teen Choice Book Award:
Airhead by Meg Cabot
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Paper Towns by John Green

Author of the Year:
Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn
Christopher Paolini, Brisingr
James Patterson, Maximum Ride: The Final Warning
Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Illustrator of the Year:
Laura Cornell, Big Words for Little People
Robin Preiss Glasser, Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly!
Mo Willems, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!
David Shannon, Loren Long and David Gordon, Smash! Crash!
Jon J Muth, Zen Ties

What are your predictions?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

But how can you not?

You have to admit, this is an amazing cover:

At first glance, the picture depicts two couples, one on the right and one on the left. After a closer inspection, are those really couples? Maybe the center characters are one couple. See how they are both looking right at you? The other two are turned away as if they want no part of the other two. The entire picture must tell a story, too. The characters seem to be hand drawn, cut, and pasted in front of the sky scape as though they don’t really belong.

And how about this one:

Typically when I see a skull I think horror, however the girl doesn’t appear the least bit frightened. In fact, she looks down right relaxed. And what is the significance of the sailboat when there is no water in sight?

A pet peeve of mine is when publishers re-release a “media tie in edition” of a book. How can you really compare this

with this ?

How about you?

Do you buy books based on what the cover looks like?

What are some of your favorites?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Let's Vent Friday

Did you spend the entire day immersed in a nail-biting edge-of-your-seat mystery
just to have someone tell you the ending?

Did you wait months for your favorite author to release the latest in a series,
pre-order it from your local independent bookstore,
pick it up on the release date,
and absolutely HATE it?

Did you read the first two books in a trilogy
only to have the author die before completing the third?

I know you have something to vent about, so let’s hear it!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Snow Daze

During the warm summer months I find it easy to picture myself surviving the cold winters comfortably curled on the couch in front of a roaring fire with a cup of tea in one hand and the latest release by a favorite author in the other. Outside my window the wind howls and snow accumulates unbeknown by me.

Last night I tried to envision this inviting picture, but was unable to get past the reality of the situation as I drove home through whiteout conditions. I had every intention of skipping out a little early. After all, there was a blizzard raging and it had been an hour since the last customer walked through the door. What harm could it do to close up a few minutes early on an evening when no one in their right mind would be out and about?

As I flicked off the back lights, the door opened and a family of three came in, brushing off the snow and stomping their boots as they looked around with excitement. Chances of a snow day were looking good and they wanted to be prepared. After much discussion and deliberation, they each chose a couple of novels and were on their way.

As I locked the door, I thought that absolutely nothing would make me go out in that weather. Then I thought about being snowed in for hours or possibly even an entire day without anything to read. I was wrong, that thought would be more terrifying to me than venturing out into the storm.

Luckily, I have an entire stack of books waiting patiently on my nightstand for the day I get snowed in and have time to read them all. Currently I am reading Watch Me by Brenda Novak. This romantic suspense still has me guessing over half way through the book. It is no easy feat to keep this mystery fanatic in suspense. Hopefully I will get my answers before the end of the weekend. I have two more of the same genre waiting for reviews and then the latest by my Goodreads friend Ben Tanzer. I had the pleasure of reading his first, Lucky Man and am looking forward to finding out if Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine is just as edgy. One of my favorite YA authors, Sara Shepard, will be releasing her first adult novel in May and I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reading copy. My daughter and I are still fighting over who gets to read The Visibles first. I may have to move that one up on my list if I can finish my current read before she finishes hers.

What about you?
What books are waiting for your attention?

Friday, February 20, 2009

On the Hunt

Are you a hunter? If so, WHY? Do you hunt because your father hunted and his father before him? Was it something you were led into or is it a passion you took up later in life? Do you hunt to stock your freezer for the year or to get closer to nature?

There is no doubt that deer hunting has grown in popularity. In 1900 the gun season began on November first and lasted 20 days. There were 32,086 licenses sold that season. In 2007 there were 643,172 licenses sold. So, what is the draw?

In the past twenty years I think my husband missed only one hunting season. In the past twenty years I think my husband brought home three deer. There must be more to it than what this hunting widow suspects. I am hoping to find my answers tomorrow.

Robert Willging will be visiting BayShore Books. He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management and a master’s degree in wildlife sciences, works as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is an enthusiastic sportsman. He knows a thing or two about deer. He is also an author. I am hoping his book, On the Hunt: The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin , will reveal all of the secrets our area hunters keep hidden under their blaze orange. Or at least help my husband and others like him understand why I see more deer from my kitchen window than he does during his annual trek through the woods.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What Percent are You?

While driving to work one morning I tuned in to a radio call in contest which really caught my attention. The question was, “What percent of women would rather receive a novel than sexy lingerie for Valentines Day?” The three gentleman callers all guessed in the 60%-70% range, which surprised me. Apparently they do know who the lingerie is really for. This is February in Wisconsin. Am I the only one wearing three layers and wrapped in a quilt? My husband and I recently celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I decided to run my own pole on the subject and I can say the results didn’t surprise me in the least. 100% of the women in my household would rather receive a novel than lingerie or flowers. Chocolate was a toss up. A box of chocolate to devour while reading the new novel would be the perfect gift for Valentines Day or any other day. That is the opinion of my daughter and I anyway.

How about you?
What book do you think would make a great Valentines Day gift?
Something by Nicholas Sparks? Stephen King? A cookbook or a book of poems?
Or are you one of another generation who would still prefer the lingerie