As you may have heard, we Indiebound stores are changing our e-book sales from Google to Kobo. We're very excited!
First of all, let us reassure those of you who have purchased Google e-books that your books are still – and to the best of our knowledge – will always be available to you. Thank you for your purchases!
But there are several things about Kobo that we believe will be better for us and for you:
1. Kobo is an international distributor. Unlike some readers, you can buy e-books for one of its readers from anywhere in the world, not just the US. It is a global system.
2. You can buy Kobo e-books for any e-reader (except, of course, Kindles).
3. Kobo has won the “Wired” award for best device, awared by the highly respected tech magazine, Wired. You know that's a good thing.
4. We will be selling the actual readers as well as e-books! That's right, you can purchase any of the four types of Kobo e-readers directly from us, and when you do, we automatically get credit for all your purchases, so you're supporting us AND enjoying quality e-reading. Click here to see the specs on the Kobo choices.)
5. The device prices are sweet. The least expensive is the Mini, at $79.99, and the most expensive will be the Arc tablet, which tops out at $249.99. At first, there are just the Mini and the Glow ($129), and the next two types will be coming possibly as soon as next month, certainly early next year.
6. Kobo is dedicated to books, unlike Google which obviously is interested in everything. We believe that Kobo will provide a more stable platform for your e-reading, and that their tech support is going to be much more available to you, although we'll do our best to help you out as best we can, should you run into a problem.
7. Kobo gives back. They have a program you can sign up for that will track the hours you spend reading on their devices and will convert them into a contribution to the literary organization of your choice. They really DO support reading!
There's going to be a time of transition, but ABA is working with us and Kobo to make this transition as seamless as possible. We may even have everything up and running as soon as next week!
We'll have a display case with two types of the readers available for your perusal here at the shop in the not-too-distant future.
We'll have the Mini and the Glo here for you, but we'll have information on the Touch and the Arc available here in the store and on our website.
It's not too early to reserve a reader for a holiday gift, even though we're not ready to place the device in your hands. But remember, it's always better to reserve one in advance than wait till the last minute!
We look forward to this new partnership, and we hope you will too!
A few weeks ago F. T. Bradley contacted us wondering if we would like to participate in a blog tour for her new book, Double Vision. Of course I leapt at the chance to be a part of this tour!
Hey, it's Linc Baker, the twelve year-old kid who just came back from a mission in Paris. It was a tough one, let me tell you. I got arrested, ended up jumping from an airplane… Anyway, you can read all about it in Double Vision.
Now that my backpack is empty (I used all the spy gadgets my tech guy Henry made for me), I’m off on a tour of independent bookstores. You know, so I can fill it up with books, and see some cities without being chased by bad dudes…..Click here to see the rest of the blog post!
To commemorate Linc’s visit we have a great spy package to give away! Provided by F.T. Bradley for her new book Double Vision (Harper 16.99).
- A signed copy of Double Vision
- Secret Marker Kit (to write secret messages on)
- Rearview Glasses (now you can see if someone is sneaking up behind you!)
You must email us with “Double Vision” in the subject line. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And Name & Telephone Number in the body of the e-mail.
Comments left on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter do not count. You must email us.
You have until midnight on October 29th . We’ll put all your names into our drawing hat, and on October 30th, we’ll randomly select a name to receive the book. It’s as simple as that!
More and more frequently, we're asked by self-published authors to host signings for their books. We can't accomodate everyone, so we set up some rules, and they're not necessarily popular ones, but they're the ones we decided best help us winnow the field. And it's an impressive field!
According to Bowker , there are more than 235,000 self-published titles released every year. That's a whole lot of writing to have to narrow down! Granted, some are digital releases, so that's the immediate and first cut; obviously we can't host signings for digital books. But don't forget that there are a lot of digital books that are becoming print books, and when they do, our rules have to apply.
First, it has to be a mystery. I know, you'd think that would be obvious, but you might be surprised at how often we're contacted by self-published authors asking us to stock their books only to be hurt when we point out that we're a specialty shop and their romantic memoir of a talking badger just doesn't fit with who we are. Turn the badger into a detective and we'll talk.
But then, there are other rules, and we're serious about them. We'll only consider a self-published title if it's offered by one of the big wholesalers (Ingram is the first one folks go to, but Baker & Taylor works just as well), if it falls within industry standard discount (40% -- we have to cover our overhead to stay in business so that you'll have a place to sign), and if it's returnable (we always hope to sell through, but realisitically? It may not happen).
Those three are non-negotiable. These guidlines are not meant to be mean. They're fiscal.
It's this combination that proves to be problematic. Books will be offered at the wholesalers for a reduced discount, and then authors tell us their publishers will give us a better deal, and that's great, but if we don't sell through and can return them to said publisher, that means we may have a credit with someone that we'll never use, so it's still money out of pocket. That's why we want to get the copies from a wholesaler - if we have to return some books, we can use the credit for a future order.
And remember, there's 235,000 titles out there. Every year. And that number is growing. Other stores have come up with different criteria for their handling of self-published authors, and ours may change over time, but this is where we're at.
Authors, if you're self-published and want us to carry your book and/or have you in for a signing, here's what we need from you in your very first contact email:
~ Give us your published name (if it's different from your email name), the title of your book, who the publisher is, what the price is, the binding or format, and who distributes it. Also give us a small synopsis, just a paragraph or two. You can add a link to your website, but if that's all you provide, we won't click through. You have to be willing to do a little work to promote your book. If you won't, why should we?
~ Do not, ever, tell us to read the reviews on Amazon. In fact, don't mention them at all. We're indies; we've been fighting Amazon all along. Our stance is pretty solidly on record. If you use Amazon as your selling point, you don't need or want us. A lot of our fellow indies will simply delete your enquiry email unread if you link to Amazon. We're not saying that you shouldn't sell your book through Amazon; obviously it's financially imperative for you to do so. But we're not interested in partnering with them. We're not interested in you if you're promoting Amazon as the last word and source of your book. We want to help you, but we won't help them.
~ Which brings up another point: we do not and will not stock books published by Amazon. If your book is published by Thomas & Mercer, sorry, we will not support it or agree to a signing.
If your book isn't carried through the wholesalers but you have an innovative way of approaching the discount and returnability criteria, we can talk. We're flexible on a lot of levels, but you have to bring the solution to the table.
~ If we come to an agreement, it's your responsibility, dear author, to make sure your friends and family know that they can buy your books from us. FYI, if you give away your book to your family and friends, you're not doing yourself a service. This is your immediate buying base. They love you, they should be willing to support you, and they should be doing that by buying at full price. You don't become a paid and successful author by undercutting yourself. So have them call us and reserve the book to be sure we have enough on hand.
If they buy it somewhere else, say somewhere on-line that discounts, and think it is perfectly fine to bring it to our signing with you they are terribly wrong. If we have you in to sign books, it is to sell our books. Please be clear with your friends and family on that. Don't undercut yourself or us!
The best way to be invited back for a signing for your second book is to help us sell a large number of copies at your signing. Make sense? We think so.
~ And lastly, be polite. There are 235,000 of you out there and there are four of us. We will work with you if you follow the rules, but insulting us is a certain way to insure that your book will never be stocked. Actually, that's true of any author, not just self-published ones.
Keep in mind that we've been at this for two decades. We've dealt with hundreds of authors, from rookies to Big Names. We're pleased for you that you've published a book, but then so have 234,999 other people this year, and they all want what you want. What will impress us and encourage us to work with you will be your professionalism, your serious intentions, your concern for what works for those selling your books, and your demeanor. Demanding divas are a dime a dozen. Do not for an instant believe or act as if you are owed a signing because you have self-published a book. We very well may be able to help you sell your books. But you have to believe we know what we're doing, and we're good at it. It'll be worth your time to hear what we say and work with us to our mutual benefit.
We want to be your biggest fans and ally in bookselling; help us out with that.
Seattle Times Book Editor Mary Ann Gwinn covered The Big Book of Ghost Stories with an interview with editor Otto Penzler, owner of The Mysterious Bookshop. Fun Stuff! And it is a Big Book – over 800 pages of scary stuff, from the beginnings of the form to the most modern, with authors such as Kipling, Twain, Derleth, Bierce, Wilde, Wharton and Lovecraft to Asimov, Morrell and Westlake (oh yes, we have it: Black Lizard tpo, $25).
We’ve taken in a good-sized collection on consignment. Nice runs
of Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin – US and UK firsts, all signed – as well as
Len Deighton, John le Carré, Alan Furst and Carl Hiaasen. We have a full list
of the authors, titles, conditions and, of course, prices. There are a couple
of very rare things – something signed by Ross Macdonald and something signed
by le Carré, a couple of very special limited editions of Connelly books. If
you’d like to see the list, stop by or we can e-mail it to you. While the dust jacket protectors do safequard the dust jackets, they do make it tough to take photos!
They're all out for sale, on the regular shelves and the collectable cases.
The Murder Act of 1752 stipulated only the corpses of executed murderers were allowed to be used for dissection. This posed a huge problem for UK medical schools of the period, since it severely diminished the number of bodies which they could legally practice surgery on. Thus UK medical schools, doctors and anatomy clubs began to rely upon a shadowy group of people called the resurrection men (aka, burkers or body snatchers) for a steady stream of bodies.
Body snatching after 1752 became so commonplace family and friends would stand vigil before and after the body was buried in order to keep them safe. If you had a bit more coin to spend, iron coffins or an iron frame work (called a mortsafes) was installed to protect the body. The picture to the top is an example which can be found in Greyfriars churchyard in Scotland. The picture on
the bottom left is a riveted coffin, another popular option at during this period.
An interesting note: while the bodies were stolen, their valuables and clothing were not. Why? Snatching a body was a misdemeanor, while theft could land the thief in prison.
This was a time before refrigeration, so the fresher the body the more money the resurrectionist received for it. So it was very important to visit the churchyards as soon as possible to obtain the body. Digging up the shallow graves with wooden spade (they made less noise), placing the dirt on a tarp so there would be less evidence of digging, or tunnelling over from another grave to pull the corpse out of the coffin to fool those standing watch over the fresh grave; all these methods were used by resurrection men to ply their trade.
Several groups took it one step further; William Burke and William Hare committed a series of serial murders (17 they admitted) in Edinburgh over a year which supplied well-known doctor Robert Knox with fresh bodies. Another set of men in London, Bishop and Williams got the same idea and admitted to murdering three people before they were stopped. To prove these types of murders were equal opportunity, Elizabeth Ross murdered Catherine Walsh, a lace seller, and sold her body to local surgeons. All of these people were executed for their crimes, the irony being their own corpses were now legally available to the surgeons and medical schools they had been supplying before.
The tarnished silver lining to this tales was the passage of the Anatomy Act of 1832, allowing any unclaimed body to be available for medical study, thus finally allowing a legitimate and ethical supply of cadavers to be available and thereby putting resurrection men out of business.
One note here: the poor (prisoners or people in workhouses, hospitals & asylums) who often left bodies unclaimed, since they had no money for a proper burial, did not like this idea. Riots and vandalism to teaching hospitals broke out across London, from people fearing their bodies would be given up, even if that was not their wish, and that led to a more secretive community which revolves around cadavers to this day.
Why the history lesson you ask?
A new exhibition has opened up in the Museum Of London called: Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men (Oct. 19, 2012- April 14, 2012), stemming from the discovery of a forgotten cemetery in 2006 at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel where 262 bodies used by teachers and students of medicine were buried. These bodies show extensive evidence of dissection, amputation, autopsy and bone wiring, as well as animal remains used in teaching, pulling them together with the history of resurrection men, and the medical advancements made during this period.
The Museum of London has created a window into the city’s history, fascinating and macabre at the same time!
For the last twenty years, the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association has given the Dilys Award for the book we all most enjoyed selling the previous year. We all send in nominations, they’re boiled down to the five or six that got the most votes and then we all vote for the one book out of that group. The fun part is that it has nothing to do anything more than the pure enjoyment of selling a particular book. Here’s the IMBA website page listing of the two decades of nominees and winners.
We IMBA members are celebrating this milestone by giving away signed trade paperbacks of the latest winner, S.J. Rozan’s Ghost Hero.
How do you enter to win one of the two copies we have? You can’t – you have to come in and look for them because we’ve hidden them somewhere in the shop. They’re in plain sight (they’re not tucked under the award-winner display or secreted up in the ceiling tiles, they’re not in some dark corner – if you are looking right at them you’ll see them.
Call it a test of your investigative skills. Both of these copies have a special sticker on the back so that all know which are the copies that were hidden and, no, the copy that is on the shelf with her other books is NOT the one. Yesh, give us some credit!
The celebration is the week of Oct 13th – 21st. When we open tomorrow, Sat the 13th, they’ll both be somewhere visible in the public area of the shop (no, not in Fran’s desk!). We’ll have lists of the nominees and winners for you to peruse or carry around with you as you search and hope you’ll look them over and maybe find something and someone new to read.
This last Sunday the Boss made the executive decision to close the shop so all of us could go to the PNBA’s (Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association) regional trade show! Where the entire shop could snoop and discover all kinds of new products, technology and of course books!
The picture to the left is just a small slice of what the trade show floor looked like. Almost over stimulating with all of the great books line up every where you looked!
A few interesting titles we discovered…a new James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell - pairing up for The Blood Gospel: The Order Of The Sanguines or Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 and many, many more. Seriously our “to be read” piles are out of control at the moment…..
Even more exciting, we found some great bags from Indiebound which comply with Seattle’s bag ban! So going into the winter we will have some really nice plastic bags (for those who like them) to keep the rain off their books. As well as something new, a journal which is handmade with "Eat, Sleep, Read" on the front cover (the rest of the journal is a great red color).
We are still recovering from all the excitement! Watch the website and newzine to see all of the great books we found and we will start reviewing them soon!
My latest book SAY YOU'RE SORRY is dedicated to my eldest daughter, Alex, but there's someone else who deserves the honor - a man who died only recently. I discovered the works of Ray Bradbury when I was in my early teens, growing up in a small country town in outback Australia. I could only get about four Bradbury titles in Australia, so rather naively I wrote a letter addressed to the great man, sending it to Random House in New York.
Months passed and I came home from school one day to find a package waiting for me. It contained the five Bradbury titles that weren't available in Australia including a letter from the author, saying how thrilled he was to have a young fan on the far side of the world.
A year ago I wrote about this generous gesture, calling Ray Bradbury my literary father and describing how he inspired me to become a writer. A week or so later I had a email message from Ray Bradbury's youngest daughter, Alexandra. I had no idea that her father was still alive.
She said her Dad was 91 and almost totally blind, but she had read my story to him and 'you made an old man cry. He wanted you to know that you are his son.'
Sadly, Bradbury died on June 5 this year, but he will always be the man who inspired me to write. If you haven't read him - you've missed out. He's a literary giant who will be sadly missed but always remembered.
A very kind soul donated about a dozen boxes of used books to us. Entire runs of many authors, both contemporary and historical. Lots of out of print stuff. We're working madly, as you can see, to price it all and get it on the shelves!
Our annual display of Halloween books is up! Amber has been decorating the shop with ghoulish handprints and cobwebs (artificial cobwebs to compliment the natural ones...) and wanted to use them on the book display but ran into that inevitable contradiction of covering the shelves with spiderwebs vs. people being able to get the books out. Choices, choices!
Kid's Halloween mysteries down the left side of the display. Come in and get yourself a treat!
We’re nearing a presidential election in the United States, so that means it’s a season of hot rhetoric and snarky comments about everything from a candidate’s hair to the candidate’s lunch menu. It’s dangerous to make up one’s mind based on mere physical appearance or a slip of the tongue; but we all tend to make snap judgments about everyone we meet. We might very well decide the man in the filthy clothes on the street corner is a homeless bum, the stay-at-home mom has no ambition, and the career cop is a gun enthusiast. But in reality the guy in filthy clothes may be a hard-working construction laborer, the stay-at-home mom may be running an accounting business out of her house, and the career cop may be a Shakespearean actor in his spare time.
I’m a private investigator in real life, and I am fascinated by this frequent disparity between public perception and reality. So that’s my theme in my latest mystery novel, BEAR BAIT, the second book in my Summer “Sam” Westin wilderness series from Berkley Prime Crime. Sam trained to be a wildlife biologist and dreamed of being a park ranger, but never found that perfect job. In BEAR BAIT, Sam has landed a three-month contract doing a wildlife study on a tract of land transferred from the U.S. Forest Service to Olympic National Park. She’s in her element, the wilderness she loves. She’s proud to be part of a process that will save the wildlife from logging, hunting, and mining. She’s proud to wear a uniform shirt, even if it’s only temporary, because she feels the uniform earns her automatic respect and credibility. Sam has no idea what that U.S. Park Service shirt represents to a select group of local citizens, and no way to know what they’re up to out there in the woods. But she’s about to risk everything to find out.
Thank you, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, for inviting me to sign BEAR BAIT.
Down the street from us, on the southwest corner of First and Cherry is the enticing boutique Diva Dollz. They're always keeping their window displays current and alluring and we thought this particular dress needed to be highlighted as appropriate for the season and for us!
Next time you come visit us, set aside some time to visit them, too.
I'm here in Seattle with good friend and fellow author Stella Cameron. We've bought shoes, had wild salmon and now we're talking with readers and checking out the new offerings at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. I've heard so much about this store and it's just as wonderful as I imagined! I'm signing copies of HERON'S COVE, which is set primarily in southern Maine...so it has "water" in common with Seattle. :-) Today's a beautiful day -- crisp and sunny, not what I've been told is typical for Seattle. I was here a few years ago, very briefly (just enough to get a taste of the city and know I wanted to come back), and it was sunny then, too.
Friends say Seattle weather is similar to Ireland, and I love Ireland. Emma Sharpe, the FBI art crimes expert in my Sharpe & Donovan series, once worked with her art detective grandfather in Dublin, and Finian Bracken, my whiskey expert Irish priest in SAINT'S GATE and now HERON'S COVE, is Irish. I remarked to my husband that it takes about as long for us to fly to Ireland as it does to fly to Seattle!
I'm enjoying my stay in town. Right now, I'm eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation about Louise Penny. That's the fun of a bookstore like this one. You get to talk about books you love and you get tips on books you might want to add to your to-be-read pile.
Remember D.B. Cooper, the airplane hijacker who parachuted with $200,000 in 1971 and has never been found? Well, one of the FBI's most wanted unsolved cases is back, and it's underground in Portland. In my fourth novel, "The Case of D.B. Cooper's Parachute", a Portland police detective discoverrs that the case is more complicated and gritty than ever. There now appear to be TWO Coopers -- one is basically the bandit folk hero of legend, and the other is a killer and blackmailer using D.B. Cooper's name.
Anything that's known about the Cooper case, I've included in the book -- so I have to explain why almost $6000 of the ransom money turned up on a Columbia riverbank in 1980. But if I were to write a completely nonfiction book about the case, it would be a pamphlet. Too little is known about the hijacker. If he's still alive, he's in his 60s, and, based on the vague police sketch, he could be almost anybody. One thousand people have claimed to know who D.B. Cooper is. DNA tests and fingerprints have proven that they were all wrong, except for me.
So join me underground, on a dark and dangerous tour of Portland's Underground. The case involves dragon boat races, the Simpsons, Timberline Lodge, and Voodoo Doughnuts. The plot spirals from Portland to Seattle to the bleak Russian city of Murmansk. I do reveal the identity of D.B. Cooper in this book, so I am asking a favor of my readers: DO NOT, do not tell anyone who he is. Just as Agatha Christie implored her audiences not to reveal whodunnit in The Mousetrap, I ask you to keep the secret of Cooper undercover in the dark basements of Portland's Old Town. See you there.