Stacking the Shelves (120)

Stacking the Shelves

As you read this, I am at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, which is being held in Chicago. While voluntarily going to Chicago in January may seem strange, it could be worse. Last year the conference was in Philadelphia. We may be cold in Chicago, but we’re not snowed in. Or out.

Actually out might not have been so bad. It is way warmer back home in Atlanta than it is in Chicago in January. Oh well, the June conference is in San Francisco. But then again, there’s that famous Mark Twain quote: “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.”

For Review:
Behind Closed Doors (DCI Louisa Smith #2) by Elizabeth Haynes
The Belles of Williamsburg edited by Mary Maillard
Below the Belt (Worth the Fight #3) by Sidney Halston
BiblioTech by John Palfrey
The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley
The Diamond Conspiracy (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #4) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Footsteps in the Sky by Greg Keyes
The Kill Shot (Jamie Sinclair #2) by Nichole Christoff
Never Too Late by Robyn Carr
The Poser by Jacob Rubin
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Purchased from Amazon:
Against the Cage (Worth the Fight #1) by Sidney Halston
Full Contact (Worth the Fight #2) by Sidney Halston
Kingston 691 (Cyborgs: Mankind Redefined #2) by Donna McDonald

Stacking the Shelves (75)

Stacking the Shelves

Last weekend, I resisted the impulse to buy books at RustyCon. However, I am being tempted again.

ala midwinter philadelphiaThis weekend is the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, otherwise known as ARC-city. There will be ARCs everywhere I look, and all just waiting to jump into my bag. Free for the taking.

Of course, then I have to carry the things around the conference until I get back to my hotel. By the fourth (fifth, sixth?) book, the lead weight encumbers decision making. Too much of a good thing can be very heavy!

I really hope that more publishers are getting on board with the idea of offering NetGalley or Edelweiss eARCs!

For Review:
All for You (Coming Home #4) by Jessica Scott
City of the Sun by Juliana Maio
Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek #6) by Brenda Novak
Dash of Peril (Love Undercover #4) by Lori Foster
The Day He Kissed Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #3) by Juliana Stone
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2) by Rachel Bach
Hunting Shadows (Ian Rutledge #16) by Charles Todd
The Masterful Mr. Montague (Casebook of Barnaby Adair #2) by Stephanie Laurens
Shadow Boxer (Alterations #2) by Jen Greyson
Third Daughter (Dharian Affairs #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

The Mane Event (Pride #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Borrowed from the Library:
Another Man’s Moccasins (Walt Longmire #4) by Criag Johnson

ARC-Gate at ALA

Last week, and it is difficult to believe it was already more than a week ago, the American Library Association held its Annual Conference in the land of Mickey Mouse, Anaheim, California.

And there was a kerfuffle on YouTube about ARCs and who should be able to pick up how many on the exhibit hall floor.

Two bloggers at The Lost Lola posted a 22-minute video, since retracted, detailing their incredibly awesome book haul at ALA. They scored, and I think scored is a fair assessment, two copies of everything possible, including a lot of books they had no personal interest in.

A librarian who blogs at Stackedbooks questioned on Twitter how authors would feel “knowing a librarian couldn’t get an arc of their book at ALA, but a blogger picked up multiple copies.”

The Lost Lolas have printed an impressive and well-thought out response and clarification, but lots of questions still stand.

Let’s start at the beginning. I have described ALA as BEA for librarians, and I think it’s a fair description. ALA is a business conference for libraries, just as BEA is a business conference for the book industry. And just like the book industry, a good bit of the business of libraries happens to be books.

Not all of it, but a lot of it. That doesn’t make ALA a book convention. There was another half of the exhibits that was all about automated systems, materials-handling units, furniture, and supplies. This stuff isn’t sexy, but it was all on that floor. And those things are a significant part of the business of libraries.

Libraries do promote reading. And one of the ways we promote reading is through books. (I can hear you saying “well, duh” from here). Libraries are also part of the publishers’ ecosystem to promote books and authors. Libraries constitute about 10% of book sales in the U.S overall. For some genres and markets, like children’s books and audiobooks, we’re a lot more.

For midlist authors, libraries are a critical lifeline. Libraries provide the author, not just sales, but also word-of-mouth “advertising”. If the librarian likes the book, it gets “sold” across the desk. One enthusiastic reader puts the book directly into the hands of another. It’s a trust relationship.

We bloggers are trying to get into that “space” but we’re not there yet.

For anyone who has noticed that I’ve said we on both sides of this issue, I have. I am a librarian. I attend ALA because I am a member of the Association, and because I serve on a committee. I’m part of the business of the Association that gets done at the Conference.

And right now, most of my day-to-day work is as a book blogger.

But ALA is a business convention. It’s one of the largest conventions in the U.S. Not just for the number of people who attend (20,000!), but also for the number of simultaneous meeting rooms. On Saturday and Sunday, there are more than 100 meetings every hour.

And because it’s a business convention, if you’re there to be at a meeting, or three, or five, you can’t drop everything to stalk the exhibit halls for the author signings. People notice when you don’t show up at committee meetings, especially if you’re the chair of the committee. Or when you don’t make the presentation when you are one of the speakers.

ALA is a volunteer-run organization for the most part. The members do most of the work.

So when a librarian can’t be in the exhibit hall at a particular time for a particular signing, it’s because she or he has a commitment to keep. It’s a working conference.

But what ALA isn’t, is a book convention. It’s not RomCon or the RT Booklovers Convention or even WorldCon. There’s a picture (at right) from the RT Booklovers Book Fair, where the description touts the 100’s of authors who are there just to sign books. That’s not what ALA is.

The thing about this whole mess is that all the parties involved went in with different expectations. The bloggers saw it as a book conventions, with that set of expectations. They had a plan of attack to maximize their resources to get as much out of the book convention as possible. What they did is understandable from that perspective.

The librarians who come to the conference see it as professional development, or professional commitment. They get ARCs for a whole different set of reasons. Some are just for reading. But a lot more have to do with programming, especially YA programming. Teen librarians want ARCs to give to teen readers as prizes for book clubs, to plan programs, and just to figure out what their groups will be reading next.

Yes, the libraries that sent those librarians should find better ways to reach out to publishers, and should have better funding. And a lot of other things. But library budgets are shrinking right now. And a lot of librarians are self-funded to conferences. In other words, they pay their own way.

Just like bloggers.

The questions remain. Should ALA change their policies regarding exhibits-only passes to give preferential treatment to members and book-industry professionals? BEA has only just begun admitting the general public, and only on a very restricted basis.

However, book reviewers, including bloggers, are eligible for attendance at BEA, it’s just more expensive than an ALA exhibits-only pass. Considerably more expensive.

This isn’t just a question about ARCs. It isn’t even a question about ALA policy.

Why did the issue of ARCs touch so many hot buttons  among both librarians and bloggers?

What do ARCs mean to you? What does a massive ARC haul mean to you? Why do we covet ARCs? What do we do with them after the conference?

And what will we do when publishers stop printing them?

(This post was previously published at Book Lovers Inc.)

Stacking the Shelves (9)

And we’re back! What better way could there be to get back into the swing of things than Stacking the Shelves? Not just any Stacking the Shelves (hosted by the estimable Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews) but with an extra-special shelf-stack.

I just got back from the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim, and I came back with the flu. So not only am I still coughing, I brought books back with me from the conference floor.

Earlier this week, I described ALA as BEA for librarians. And it is. BEA is the industry conference for publishing and book-selling. ALA is the industry conference for librarians. It just so happens that both conferences have a lot to do with promoting new and upcoming books, so the best way to do that is for the publishers to give away Advance Reading Copies of the books they want to push.

And we all want to get those books because we want to read them. We love books, or we would have found something else to do with our lives. Scoring the tallest pile of books, books we might not even want to read, just for the sake of the score, isn’t supposed to be the point of the exercise. I’ll be posting more on this topic later this week.

So I limited myself to the books I could carry and pack. I did hunt for the titles that my fellow book lovers specifically asked for last week, and found two: Throne of Glass and Outpost. I’ll be sending those on, and they’ll be reviewed on their blogs. But the rest you see here. Series I’ve followed, authors I love, and finally, a copy of John Scalzi’s Redshirts.

From NetGalley:
The Black Isle by Sandi Tan (ebook)
Advent by James Treadwell (ebook)
Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara (ebook)
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke (ebook)

For Book Lovers Inc.:
West of Want (Hearts of the Anemoi #2) by Laura Kaye (ebook)

For Library Journal Review:
Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman (print ARC)

Picked up at ALA:
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke (print ARC)
Still Life with Shape-Shifter by Sharon Shinn (print ARC)
An Apple for the Creature edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner (print ARC)
Lord of Mountains (A Novel of the Change) by S.M. Stirling (print ARC)
City of Secrets by Kelli Stanley (print)
Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson (print)
Redshirts by John Scalzi (print)
L.A. Theatre Works Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (full-cast audio adaptation)
L.A. Theatre Works Copenhagen by Michael Frayn (full-cast audio adaptation)
L.A. Theatre Works Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler (full-cast audio adaptation)

As always, I’m curious. What’s stacking your shelves? Or, since those of us in the U.S. have that lovely July 4th Holiday in the middle of the week, what are you planning to take off your shelf and read this holiday week?


Sick As A Dog

I’ve always wondered why the cliche is “sick as a dog”. Being owned by cats, I can attest that cats “sick up” every bit as messily as dogs. At least for their size.

That being said, the blogger at Reading Reality, meaning me, came back from the American Library Association Conference sick as that proverbial canine.

Feels like the flu. You know the drill.

And since I love sharing, I’ve already given it to my husband. He still loves me anyway.

But that’s why there’s no bookish post today. We’ve been lounging on the couch watching DVDs. This is why I collect back seasons of TV shows I like.

We’ve blown through three seasons of NCIS so far. All puns intended.

Everybody’s Wishlist

As you read this, I am probably standing, no, make that searching, the exhibit hall floor of the American Library Association Conference, trying to find hunting down last minute ARCs.

You see, the ALA exhibits are kind of like BEA for librarians. That’s not all ALA is, but that’s definitely part of what ALA is. And on Monday morning, as the exhibitors are starting to pack up their booths, that’s definitely what ALA is. Miles and miles of books.

My kind of place.

Since I was going to send myself a box (or two) of books from the conference, I asked some non-conference going book-loving friends if there was anything they wanted me to look for, you know, while I was in the neighborhood.

The Advance Reading Copy neighborhood, that is.

Even though we are book bloggers, and we get ARCs, there are still some books we’re all chomping at the bit to get, just that teeny, tiny bit ahead. If we can. If there’s a chance.

Here’s the “shopping list” my book loving friends sent me with.

Endgame by Ann Aguirre (Ace)
Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway (Berkley)
Temptation’s Edge by Eve Berlin (Berkley)
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart  (HQN) (2 copies)
Burning Up by Anne Marsh (Kensington)
A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis by Jillian Stone (Pocket)
Outpost by Ann Aguirre (Feiwel & Friends) (2 copies)
Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout (Entangled)
Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout (Spencer Hill Press)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury)
Riveted by Meljean Brook (Berkley)
The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper (Pocket)
Trapped by Kevin Hearne (Random)
Into the Woods by Kim Harrison (Harper)
Cherished by Lauren Dane and Maya Banks (Berkley)
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (Ace)

I was offered someone’s firstborn for the Kim Harrison. I’m not…interested. I’d rather have the book. But it says something about how passionate we readers are about getting our hands on new books. Especially ahead of schedule.

Is there anything on this wishlist that you’re waiting for with the proverbial bated breath? What books are you on “pins and needles” about?