Tag: indie

#Bookstagrammer of the Week: @bookpairings

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This Week’s Featured creator: @bookpairings

 

Each week Bookstr is going to be highlighting your favorite Bookstagrammers. A Bookstagrammer is someone who shares all of their literary interests, ranging from book reviews and aesthetically pleasing book pictures to outfit pictures featuring their current reads. Anything that evokes bibliophile feels is on their Instagram pages. Make sure to give these Bookstagrammers the love they deserve! This week we are getting to know a Bookstagrammer with a passion for books and indie bookshops: Laci, or as you would know her on Instagram, @bookpairings.

Here is her story:

 

image via @bookpairings

 

Chapter 1: The Birth of a Bookstagram Account

 

 

Laci started Bookstagram as a fun project to cope with a difficult period in her life, and her account took off from there.

 

I started posting “Bookstagram” posts on my personal account during the summer of 2015 when I was recovering from my second brain surgery in 6 months. I have always loved reading and when I found a community of book lovers at my fingertips I decided I wanted to join the conversation. 

Because I’m the type of person who needs a project, even when I should be resting, I decided I would create my own Bookstagram account and see how it goes. That was in August of 2015 and it’s crazy to think I have posted almost everyday since then and 41K+ people care about my opinions of books and enjoy my very eclectic reading recommendations. 

 

Laci usually reads over 100 books a year, but her favorite books include classic reads such as:

As well as some more contemporary books like:

 

 

If given the choice, Laci would take a selfie with Margaret Atwood, her favorite author.

 

image via @bookpairings

 

Laci is a part of the Harry Potter, The Night Circus, Game of Thrones, and Good Omens fandoms.

 

Besides being book-obsessed, she also loves wine tasting.

I almost went through the training and testing to become a sommelier. I am a total oenophile and it’s another thing I love sharing with people. 

 

Chapter 2: To The Bookstagramming

 

Laci’s photography style definitely gives off a very memorable vibe, but how would she define this aesthetic?

When it comes to the photography aspect of my content, I always strive for cozy feeling photos with warm tones. I like to find interesting textures and angles so I am constantly experimenting.

I love to play with woodgrain and books for texture and I love using shadow for moodier photos.

 

 

She also has some photography advice for new Bookstagrammers.

In terms of photography, play around and you’ll improve post by post. You’ll find your aesthetic faster if you experiment and reflect on why you love certain photos.

 

Laci sticks to a specific posting schedule, so you’ll always know when to look for her newest bookish photos.

I generally post every morning between 7am-8am PST during the week and on the weekends I either post around 12pm or 5pm. I’ve done a lot of experimenting to find the optimal time for engagement, but it also depends a little bit on my schedule. I want to be able to respond to every single comment on my posts, so I try to post when I know I will be able to check-in periodically to reply. 

 

image via @bookpairings

 

So what are Laci’s personal favorite Bookstagram accounts?

It’s too hard to choose just a few! Here are some of my favorites:

@ouija.doodle.reads 

@theliteraryheroine

@fictionmatters

@booknerdnative

@worldswithinpages

@michellereadsbooks

@thebookishfiiasco

@jennareadsbooks

@booklanguage

@booksonherbrain

@somekindoflibrary

@absorbedinpages

I could go on and on.

 

 

Chapter 3: What does bookstagram mean to you?

 

It’s clear that Laci is very involved in the Bookstagram community, so what does her Bookstagram mean to her personally?

I am still stunned that my account has garnered as many followers as it has. I know that I work hard on each post behind the scenes, but I continue to be humbled by the Bookstagram community. To me my page is a place where I can share my love of books with other amazing, supportive book lovers. I feel like I have grown a lot personally since I started and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends within the community as well. 

I strive for authenticity when creating my content above all else. I want to share the books I am genuinely interested in reading and the books I love even if they aren’t the most hyped. I still get sucked into the new releases hype from time to time, but I’d like to think I also get less well-known or well-marketed books on the radar of my followers.

I hope that my Bookstagram inspires people to read outside of their comfort zones.

 

 

image via @bookpairings

 

Her final word to fellow Bookstagrammers and book lovers?

Support your local libraries and indie bookstores when you can. They provide so many services to their communities and it’s becoming harder and harder for them to survive with big business looming.

 

Featured image via @bookpairings

 

 


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Amazon Sends Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’ Early by Mistake

Amazon preorders of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments have been shipped out to readers ahead of schedule. By mistake.

A handful of reviews appeared on NPRThe Washington Post, and The New York Times yesterday even though there was supposed to be a strict embargo on the novel before its September 10th release date. And some readers are rushing to Twitter and Instagram to show off the copies they’ve received early.

 

 

 

According to BBC, Penguin Random House claims:

In the US a very small number of copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments were distributed early due to a retailer error which has now been rectified.

We appreciate that readers have been waiting patiently, in some cases for more than thirty years, for the much-anticipated sequel to the bestselling The Handmaid’s Tale. In order to ensure our readers around the world receive their copies on the same day, our global publication date remains Tuesday 10th September.

The small number of copies received by these lucky readers total around eight-hundred.

Though some Atwood fans may be celebrating that they could get their hands on The Testaments early, many independent booksellers are frustrated that Amazon seems to have ignored the embargo. The fact that readers have received copies ahead of schedule from Amazon can drastically impact an independent bookstore’s bottom line, especially when they rely on the rush of first-day sales to drive their business.

 

 

Lexi Beach, one such bookseller whose “world is crumbling around [her] right now,” took to Twitter to vent about Amazon’s brazen disregard  of the embargo.

 

 

Unfortunately, Beach is kind of right. Amazon’s business model is much different from your average independent bookseller’s. The online-shopping behemoth can afford to take a lot of losses on titles like The Testaments in a strategy to grow their customer base. Independent stores, on the other hand, often rely on the buzz huge titles like Atwood’s generate to drive business to their stores. And given that Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale has been shortlisted for The Booker Prize and is already on many best-selling lists based on preorders alone, the fact that Amazon can shamelessly violate the embargo all booksellers had to sign is made even more disheartening and terrifying.

 

 

Paul Swydan, owner of Silver Unicorn Books, also took to Twitter to express his frustration:

 

 

Penguin Random House released a statement regarding the incident. However, they didn’t address Amazon by name, preferring to keep things vague.

 

 

Understandably, the independent booksellers Amazon continues to undercut are still angry and worried Amazon won’t be held accountable. After all, what can you actually do to affect the site that controls roughly 50% of book sales in the world. Even a publisher the size of Penguin Random House can’t really afford to tarnish their relationship with Amazon. Beach noted in another tweet that PRH could delay shipments of future releases to Amazon to prevent them from capitalizing on first-day sales. That’s the typical way smaller booksellers are disciplined, but who knows if PRH will or even can use those methods with Amazon.

 

 

Featured image via My Office Magazine and Instagram: @damagedbutinvigorated

book tunnel

Do the Environment a Favor and Shop at an Indie Bookstore!

Do you have a favorite bookshop? No, Barnes and Noble doesn’t count. I mean an independent bookshop, small, cosy, possibly family run. Handmade signs and questionable color schemes. Sometimes dogs. The one where you can sit for hours, enjoying your unique surroundings, and forgetting about all your responsibilities and then end up feeling horribly guilty because you’ve neglected every other aspect of your life. You’ve been missing for days. Your family has called the cops. Your plants are withering. You have several hundred unanswered emails. You know, that bookshop.

 

guilty dog

You, feeling guilty | Via Giphy

 

Well, according to Indiebound, your hours spent there are actually very beneficial to the economy, the environment, and your community. So you can stop feeling bad, as the benefits, according to the Indiebound website, are pretty much endless.

 

happy dog

You, delighted that your time-wasting has been justified | Via Gif Finder 

 

In terms of the economy, if you spend $100 at a local-owned business, $68 of that stays in your community. However, if you spent the same amount at a national chain, only $43 will remain in your community. Local businesses also create higher-paying jobs for members of the community, and therefore more taxes are reinvested in the locality. Local businesses also donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. Indiebound also points out that ‘more independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.’

 

Shopping local also has a positive effect on the environment as it means less packaging, less transportation and therefore a smaller carbon footprint. So you win points with Mother Nature too!

 

happy pizza dog

You, slobbering happily all over the news that your indie bookshop obsession is good for the economy, environment and community | Via Tenor

 

 

That’s all on top of the fact that local bookshops tend to put on wonderful, intimate author events such as Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, who host talks and readings every week! So make sure to follow any and all of your favorite indie spots on social media to keep up to date with what they’re up to!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Publishing Perspectives

Brooklyn's The Center for Fiction

Brooklyn’s New Center for Fiction: A Space for Writers and Readers

When you step foot in Brooklyn’s own The Center for Fiction, you’ll be ready to book your membership. Bookstr was lucky enough to snag an afternoon tour of the new space, but you’re going to want to stay a lot longer than that.

Recently relocated to 15 Lafayette Avenue, The Center for Fiction is more than just a bookstore—if anything can be ‘just’ a bookstore. It’s an impressive feat to fit thousands of worlds within the space of a single room… even if that room is spacious, modern, and beautifully lit. The Center for Fiction is an exceptionally curated bookstore, complete with thoughtful staff recommendations and indie releases. While browsing the high shelves (complete with rolling ladders like something out of a fairytale), I spotted one of my own niche favorites in the stacks: Kirk Lynn’s Rules for Werewolves, a dark and inventive 2015 release from Melville House—more notably, one I’ve never seen in another brick-and-mortar store.

 

The Center for Fiction Bookstore

 

Adjacent to the bookstore is the Center’s café, a charming spot whose walls are lined with 19th century novels. If you’ve ever fantasized about being peers with the historic greats (so, if you’re a writer) this is a dream that won’t require all that much fantasy. Sip an espresso, read a first-edition manuscript, and get lost in this novel idea.

 

The Center for Fiction's café, complete with paintings and first-edition 19th century manuscripts

Each table in the café is artfully topped with literary quotations.

 

Members have access to an even more impressive selection of features: a second-floor library with a 70,000 book collection. The basement, appropriately, is the 16,000 book crime & mystery library. Trust us—this is the only time you’ll want to be below ground with so many serial killers. (You could say it’s a collection to die for.)

 

The Center for Fiction has a sleek, modern decor juxtaposed with the antiquated and cozy.

 

The spacious upstairs features a sun-drenched reading room, complete with an adjacent outdoor patio. Plans are in development for an outdoor bar, so you may as well start planning to drink there. The reading room is a laptop free zone, which will enable you to concentrate fully on whichever book you’ve chosen and leave the world behind. A unique combination of the modern and refined, you’ll feel comfortable and inspired by this one-of-a-kind space.

 

The Center for Fiction Reading Room

 

 

The writers’ room offers a secluded yet inspiring space for those in all stages of their craft, be it an excited beginning or a far more frantic conclusion. Windows look out onto a vibrant neighborhood; inside, the atmosphere is peaceful and modern. Desks are spacious and outfitted with dividers (so, no direct eye contact with the person sitting across from you). With an adjacent kitchen, you’ll have everything you need to write all day… if you’ve got the concentration.

But The Center for Fiction has more than an updated space; it also has a vibrant, new community. Literature lovers can participate in a series of reading groups with varied prices for members and nonmembers—explore writers like James Baldwin, Aldous Huxley, and Henry James with high-level reading groups and discussions. Writing workshops are also available across a wide variety of disciplines, from genre-based courses on speculative fiction or crime writing to craft-based courses on dialogue and structure.

Individual membership is $150, dual membership is $275, and family membership is $325 annually. Although membership doesn’t cover the fees for writing and reading groups, it does count towards a 10% discount on all courses and special events. Of course, membership does include full borrowing privileges from both of The Center’s libraries, access to the reading room, and admission to the private bar.

 

All Images Via The Center for Fiction.

Indie Bookstores Are Back After Decades of Decline

The history of bookstores has been far bleaker than readers might have hoped. The end began in 2011 with the closure of Borders, a bookselling giant responsible for the death of many a local bookstore. Borders’ attempts at resurgence were numerous and failed, culminating in their disastrous launch of the Kobo: an e-reader with no internet. Other chains were soon to follow. Book World, the leading book retailer of the Midwest, closed its doors in 2017. Barnes & Noble hasn’t yet taken a tumble… but it has taken quite the hit. The retailer plans to close 167 stores by 2022, leaving swaths of the country—even highly populated areas—without large chain bookstores. Although Washington D.C. spends more money on readingthan anywhere else in the United States, the District lost its last B&N back in 2015.

 

Image Via Pennlive.com

 

Chain bookstores were once the destroyers of indie bookshops. With their resources and massive retail spaces (which usually housed cutting-edge merchandise like alphabetical CD collections) it was challenging for the smaller local store to compete. After the recession, this dynamic reversed. Over the past eight years, the number of indie bookstores has increased by 25% while the larger retailers have faltered.

 

Image Via Money.howstuffworks.com

 

The explanation might be as complicated as it is simple: people have decided that they like to read books. That can be the only explanation when technological innovations have failed—the Kobo was an obvious disaster, and, while Barnes & Noble’s Nook helped it from meeting Borders’ fate, it hasn’t saves its clear decline in sales. It’s also possible that indie bookstores can appeal to niche markets-in particular, LGBT+ bookstores are able to cater directly to their clientele. These stores provide more than just retail: they also offer a sense of community that Amazon cannot.

 

Image Via Pride.com

 

“Independent bookshops are important because we’re a refuge, and we’re dead against everything becoming the same,” said Daniel Ross, proprietor of Bristol bookstore Storysmith. The UK in particular has experienced a resurgence of the indie bookstore. Since 1995, the number of independent bookstores has declined from 1,894 to a mere 867. In 2017, the decline plateaued, the number of stores increasing by one. And just a year later, the number spiked for the first time in over twenty years to reach 883.

While the number of indie bookstores hasn’t reached its 80s peak, the comeback is a sign of an even greater resurgence. It demonstrates that while big bookstores can’t hold up to Amazon’s onslaught, neighborhood bookstores can—and that means they likely will.

Featured Image Via Nextpittsburgh.com