New and Improved | Newberry

New and Improved

I have not received a single thank you so far for all those New Year’s Resolutions I so painstakingly provided for you. But I’m not bitter. Next year I’ll just add one about dealing with your correspondence more quickly.

One or two people did inquire what I would be doing differently. I don’t understand such people. When one has reached a level of perfection, any attempt at improvement is sheer folly. (That is the funniest thing I’ve written this year, but we’re only halfway through January.)

We do have a couple of changes coming for the Book Fair, and since some of you plot your campaign well in advance, you may wish to know about them.

We will have to do something of a redesign of the layout this year. A couple of new walls have been added in the galleries where the Q Exhibit was. I’m sure you saw them when you were there (and if you weren’t there, come buy the catalog at least so you can see what you missed.) This will affect the Mystery, Science Fiction, Fiction, Records, How-To, and Children’s sections, but I haven’t decided yet quite how. I have had numerous people tell me, in so many words, “Weel naow, ah don’t see why puttin’ a wall through the middle o’ the floor shud meck any differns.” Maybe it wasn’t those words, exactly, but I started to ignore them about halfway through their sentence. Anyway, you won’t be able to follow your usual migrational path through rooms 4 and 5. You’ll bang your nose on the new walls. More bulletins on this as we figure out how to make it all an excuse to put out more books.

There will be a new category this year, thanks to the many requests, not to say nagging, of our customers. We’re going to split off the books of essays, which usually sit in the Books & Authors category, into their own section. This will prune a little of the massive Books & Authors selection and, as I say, help out those people who come looking for collections of essays.

Of COURSE this will cause more confusion. Books of essays on sports, for example, will still be in Sports, collections of essays on music will be found in Music, and books of essays about books or authors will still be in Books & Authors. But hey, it’s a start.

I have received two large collections of an author I have always liked, but never known quite where to display. He/she wrote essays, short stories, thrillers, ghost stories, children’s books, humorous tales, and cute little inspirational tales. So she/he wound up all over the place, and that bestseller, which was suspenseful but not exactly a mystery or a thriller, could be found in several categories itself. So I am making an executive decision and shelving this author henceforth in Literature. (Except for the children’s books. And probably the essays and the autobiography.)

And no, I’m not going to tell you who it is. I will let the shelves in Hardback Literature A-L speak for me. It’s a matter of discretion, and suspense, and, um, cowardice. I don’t want a lot of cries of “Who? That one who was in Reader’s Digest all the time! CAN’T be Literature!” Remember, prune poundcake: we don’t decree who IS Literature; we just say who gets shelved there.

Tell you what: first correct guess by email wins a gift certificate to the A.C. (Artisanal Cookbooks) McClurg Bookstore. It may be a blank one, of course, unless I feel like spending some change.

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