From the Editor

by Craig Stark

b#32, 6 December 2004

When you write how-to articles, you never really know how many of your shots are going to hit the target. I'm sure lots of mine miss it altogether, others hit an outer ring, and maybe a few hit the bull's eye. There are different reasons for this, most of which, I think, don't have a great deal to do with the validity of the ideas being expressed, though I'm certainly not immune to launching the occasional stinker. It just might not be the right time for an idea to germinate - that is, some ideas aren't useful until you've reached a certain stage in your development. And, of course, sometimes an idea isn't expressed clearly - my fault. Or, for whatever reason, writer and reader may be speaking different languages. Other times things just get missed, and there's no apparent reason for it at all. Maybe a blink?

As much as I'd like to think that all of my ideas about bookselling are equally sound and important, I do realize that, after all, they're nothing more than seeds that need a receptive soil to come to life in. Occasionally, however, some of these seeds seem more important than others. Some seem to hold a key. When one of these surfaces in an article, I feel as though I need to pack it in potting soil or something, give it that extra shot at successful germination. Well, this is my potting soil. And today's feature article, "Why Bookselling Isn't Working for You (Part III)," holds what I believe is an important seed for those of you who may be struggling now, something from which all other things can grow. Sprout this baby, and success should be yours on a platter.

I haven't talked much recently about coming attractions at BookThink, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy cooking things up. First, we've lined up a pretty presentable cast of characters for our new Author Profiles series. To date, interviews have been scheduled with a number of bestselling writers, among them S.L. Viehl (a rising star who has written the Spacedoc series, among others), John Dunning (bestselling mystery novelist), Joyce Maynard (whom, you may recall, penned At Home in the World - memoirs which in part discuss her relationship with Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger), Nicholas Basbanes (who will soon be adding a fourth title to his magnificent series on books and book collecting that began with A Gentle Madness), and last but not at all least, James Patterson, whose London Bridges currently holds down the number 2 position on the New York Times bestseller list.

Also, issue #10 of the Gold Edition - have we really been at it this long? - will arrive in subscriber's mailboxes next week. The topic is magazines, a market sector too often overlooked by booksellers but one which can produce surprisingly consistent and strong profits. If, that is, you know what to buy and how to market your purchases. The skinny is in the newsletter. If you're looking to expand your bookselling reach, this could be a great place to start.

Finally, BookThink's 50/50 will make its first appearance in January, and subscriptions are still available at the discounted rate of $15 until December 31. More details here

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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