Monthly Archives: May 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

Just thought I’d share one of my birthday presents.  So awesome!

I’m pretty sure this will be the source of my new tattoo.  If you haven’t read this before, do so now; it’s Terry Pratchett at his wacky finest, with some very astute observations buried under the sublime hilarity.

Happy (birthday) reading!



Filed under Books

Kindle Worlds – It’s a Trap!


(click for audio link)

Fan fiction.  It’s for fans, by fans, as an homage to the stuff they love.  Books, movies, TV shows, if someone loved it, odds are there is fanfic out there about it.  I randomly picked a TV show (That 70s show) and then added “fan fiction” in Google.  Yep, there it was.  Harry Potter, Star Trek, Gone With the Wind… there’s a lot of fan fiction out there, and it’s a thriving community.  More than one author started by writing fan fiction, and you see anthologies of established authors writing stories for worlds others created (Pern, Valdemar, Middle Earth…).  It’s about a shared passion, and because anyone can do it, sometimes it’s what gives people courage to try writing their first story.

Amazon has decided they want to make money from it.  This sounds like a good thing, right?  Authors can license their world and characters, and let readers participate in writing stories that take place there.  The stories are sold as e-books, and everyone is happy, right?  Right?  Maybe not.

Here is the official word on it from Amazon:

 New stories inspired by books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games people love.

Gossip GirlThe Vampire DiariesPretty Little Liars

Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip GirlPretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way. The Kindle Worlds Self-Service Submission Platform will launch soon and enable you to submit your original works for publication. Can’t wait to start writing? Learn more on our Kindle Worlds for Authors page. We asked a few authors to try out Kindle Worlds. Here’s what they had to say: “I loved writing the characters in this world, the dynamics of the friendship between the four girls as they deal with life-threatening situations. I also really enjoy the ongoing mysteries and surprising twists that always keep the reader guessing.” —Barbara Freethy, writing in Pretty Little Liars“There’s probably not an author/fangirl alive who hasn’t fantasized about being able to write about her favorite show. The fact that you can earn royalties doing so makes it even better.” —Trish Milburn, writing in The Vampire Diaries“The opportunity to cut loose and play with the wit and voice of a character so unlike those I usually write was a real treat. It pushed me outside my normal comfort zone as a storyteller, and that’s a very valuable experience.” —Joseph Brassey, writing in The Vampire Diaries“I really enjoyed the short format of this work. I’m a novelist. I’m used to writing books that take me months to complete. Writing something start to finish in such a short time was really rewarding.” —Nancy Naigle, writing in Pretty Little Liars“Fun from beginning to end! It was freeing to write something about the show’s characters and world.” —Carolyn Hughey, writing in Gossip Girl“I loved having so many intriguing characters to explore. They’re all unique with so much backstory, yet there’s just enough space to create something new. When I realized I could create my own characters to toy with the others, well, that was icing on the cake.” —A.R. Kahler, writing in The Vampire Diaries

 Sounds okay so far.  But there are a few things to keep in mind that are mentioned in the link for prospective authors:
  • Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright (you can’t sell the story, or even give it away for free, anywhere else)
  • We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you. (If it’s a particularly good idea, the author can use your stuff and republish it, and they don’t owe you a dime)
  • When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story (aka if E.L James had published her original fanfic with Kindle World, she wouldn’t have been allowed to publish Fifty Shades)

Fan fiction is generally about sharing writing as a community.  For free.  I’m sure it’s tempting for many to make a little money from what they’re already doing, but keep in mind that this platform comes with a lot of small print, and warnings about copyright infringement.  Tread carefully, my friends.

Happy writing!


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Filed under Books, Books in the News, Bookstore, E-Books, Uncategorized

It’s called Hard Times for a reason.

Sometimes, telling a customer not to purchase a book is an important part of my job.

Yesterday, a woman who volunteers at the local hospital was looking for something “light and cheerful” to read during her breaks.  I grabbed the copy of Dickens’ Hard Times from her hand, and put it as far away from her as I could reach without just making a run for it.

The  father picking up a copy of Fifty Shades at his fifteen-year-old’s request practically got slapped with it.

The woman who wanted a Harlequin-type romance and picked up Anna Karenina.

The mom who wanted something for a nine year old who was a “very advanced reader” and picked up A Clockwork Orange.  And The Fight Club.

The mom who was buying The Game for her son.   Ew.


Happy (not) reading.



Filed under Books, Bookstore, Retail

If You Have Purchased This Book Without A Cover…

I’m sure you’re familiar with the words found inside many a paperback:

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

Well, that’s because many books are sent to bookstores on consignment from publishers.  For mass market paperbacks, unsold ones are cheaper to destroy than to store, or discount and remainder.  As a booklover, this is incredibly painful to participate in.

Most hardcover books and trade paperbacks are sent back, discounted, and redistributed.  But the ones that make me really sad are the ones that have their covers stripped and are recycled.  The big bookstore chains are usually the worst offenders, returning up to 30% of the books they receive.  Thankfully some of them are starting to create more enlightened policies, like Indigo’s policy of donating unsold books to literacy programs.  Sadly, what is done with consignment books is up to the publishers, so if the publisher wants the bookstore to light them on fire and roast marshmallows, they pretty much have to (that was an exaggeration… mostly).

This is also sad to see because I hate to think about a new author who was so excited to get published, and then not sell any books.   Or the classic that just isn’t selling any more.  Or the book I loved as a child, but the author died and so the publisher doesn’t want to market it anymore.  I end up buying returns to “rescue” them.  What can I say, I’m a sucker.

That’s one reason why I’m in favour of e-books, where they can hang around forever, don’t take up landfill space if you delete them, and the most obscure take up so little space that there’s no reason for the seller not to keep them.

Who knew being a bookseller was such an emotionally taxing job, even without the customer interaction.


Happy <sniff> reading.



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Filed under Books, Bookstore, E-Books, Retail

Not your Granddaddy’s Cinderella


Thank you Marissa Meyer.  Thank you for not only exceeding my expectations, but making me completely forget I had expectations (or laundry to do).

The book is called Cinder.  There are definitely elements of the Cinderella story in there, but the heroine is a kick-butt mechanic, there are political implications, a deadly plague, and other fun stuff.  It’s the first book in a trilogy, of which the first two are out, so it’s not a quick wrap up for a happy ending story.  Fans of dystopian literature, like Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, or Divergent should enjoy this.  There is a romance, but it’s definitely not your stereotype fairy-tale one.   This girl is not waiting for a prince to rescue her – in fact, she might do the rescuing.

Technically it’s YA, but don’t miss it because of that.

Happy reading

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Filed under Books, Bookstore, E-Books, Review, Teen Books

Book Tattoos


I have been mulling a new tattoo, and I would like the next one to have literary ties.   That’s about as far as I get, before my head explodes with ideas, most of which are terrible.  There are some fantastic ones I’ve seen, but I don’t know…

While I’m agonizing (please let me know if you have brilliant inspiration) here is a fun link to buzzfeed for 50 literary tattoos.




Filed under Books

Happy Mother’s Day from Mr. T.

You’re welcome.


Happy Mother’s Day.



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Judging a Book By Its Cover? What About Now?

A friend of mine sent me a link for a fantastic HuffPost article by Maureen Johnson called Coverflip, about how gendered book covers can be.  This is perfect timing because I just had a discussion with a customer the other day about how she might read more romance novels if they didn’t have idiotic covers, featuring women with dresses half off, or men’s naked torsos.  She felt like this meant if she did buy them, she could only read them at home because she found the covers so embarrassing.  I assume that would apply to men as well.  Who knows, there could be a whole untapped market for romance for men which isn’t being met – and I mean romance in all senses, not just the relationship one.

Maureen Johnson goes on to ask her Twitter followers to “gender-flip” the covers – as written by an author of the opposite gender, since author gender does seem to have an effect on the cover of the books as well.  The alternate covers are quite thought-provoking, and I’m looking forward to hearing some feedback from you guys.

In other news, my recent bout of food poisoning has made me realize that if I don’t write articles, they don’t get written.  So, if anyone out there would like to submit book reviews, I would be happy to look over them, and potentially post them.  You can send me submissions at .  Any genre, loved it, hated it, funny, serious.  I like to be able to put out posts as often as possible, so this would be a big help.  Please include what name you would like your submission under.


Happy reading (and writing) and don’t forget to let me know what you think of the HuffPost article.



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Filed under Authors, Books, Books in the News, Retail, Review, Writing

May the Fourth Be With You

In honour of Star Wars day, here are a few great Star Wars themed books.

The Origami Yoda series is aimed at ages 9-12, and is lot of fun.   And frankly, to me it’s just a bonus that the books are decent.  Look at the covers!  There are more in the series.

If you want to learn how to do Star Wars origami, head over to !  There’s a book out too, that contains special paper to make your Star Wars origami that much more awesome, by the same guy who runs the site, Chris Alexander.  It is titled, unsurprisingly, Star Wars Origami.

I love Jeffrey Brown’s drawings of Darth Vader as a parent.  Obviously he gave up his kids in order to have some dignity and authority left, unlike the rest of us.

If you’re really feeling it, you can always pick up the Force Trainer, and forever convince everyone you’re completely nuts.  Er, I mean cool.   Surprising lack of sarcastic reviews on Amazon, to my disappointment, considering that reading the reviews is the only reason I go on Amazon.

Have fun, and may the fourth be with you!


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Filed under Books, children's books, Review

New Moon – A Guest Review by Nitharshana P.

Sometimes for a good idea of what a teen will think of a book, you need a teen review.  Nitharshana, a middle school student, has written the following review (which I love and agree with) of New Moon by Stephanie Meyer.  Take it away, Nitharshana…

I have read the book New Moon by Stephenie Meyer and I have to say that this was one of the oddest books I have ever read.

Stephenie Meyer has done an excellent job of writing the story.  Her writing was clear and I understood the story more than I thought I would.   However, the more I understood the story, the more I despised it.  The main reason for me not liking this book is the main character.  Bella Swan is the most idiotic character I have ever read.  I understand why she would risk her life for her beloved’s.  Doing multiple suicide missions just to feel her love’s presence is plain stupidity.  That is what Bella was doing for three quarters of the story.  Luckily, she had her werewolf friends to save her each time.  If I could, I would ask Meggie or Mo from Inkheart to read me into this book so I could tell Bella how much a life is worth.  I enjoy fantasy stories, but in this case where Bella’s boyfriend leaves her and she can not cope, I just couldn’t take the book seriously anymore.


Even though this book is not my cup of tea, people who enjoy supernatural characters and romance would actually have a good time reading this.  Also, if you can cope with psychotic characters this would be a great book for you.  I hope you find something better in this book than I did.

-Nitharshana P.


What she said.    If you want to know what the target audience thinks… ask the target audience.    Thanks N.P.!

Happy (or not) reading!



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Filed under Books, Review, Teen Books