books on the radio


Joe Planta talks to Sean Cranbury about Advent Book Blog

Listen to Joe Planta interviewing me about the Advent Book Blog here.

December 2009 has been all about the Advent Book Blog for me.

The ABB – for short – has been an excellent project that has gathered together a huge range of people to recommend a huge range of new(ish) books for Holiday gift giving.

Julie Wilson is my partner in crime in organizing this viral online book community.  For those of you who don’t already know of Julie, she’s behind the voyeuristic literary blog Seen Reading and is currently dividing what remains of her personalities between her life as Bookmadam and the mercurial Rebecca Wilcott.

Joseph Planta

We have done a few online written interviews over the past few weeks, too.

Erin Balser was the first one in the water with her Q&A for the Torontoist.com on December 1st.

Amy Logan Holmes and Clelia Scala of Open Book: Toronto interviewed Julie, me and ABE the Advent Book Elf a little later in the month.

Now, here’s a phone interview that I did with thecommentary.ca‘s Joseph Planta last week.

A great interview where we touch all bases of the Advent Book Blog from inception to execution.  We talk about Vancouver book stores, the power within the bookseller/customer relationship and my upcoming brief custodianship of the commentary.ca while Joe takes a break.

Listen to the interview and let me know what you think.

Advent Book Blog Banner!



Me and the Book Madam: We’re Cookin’ Somethin’ Up!

Some of my most dedicated readers know that I’m good in the kitchen.  I’m always workin’ with the heat and mixin’ the ingredients and layin’ surprise concoctions of extreme tantalization upon your tongues!

Well… this Holiday Season I’m stepping away from the charcoal broiler, the freshly oiled cedar planks and the dwarf-sized oak peppermill and I’m stepping back into the ring of Bookseller.

A kind of Bookselling 3.0 Digital Handsell / Best Books of the Holiday Season by the People Who Should Know – the Writers, Booksellers, Editors, Designers, Publicists and other Creators who help bring great books into the world.

The irrepressible Julie Wilson aka the Book Madam (and the artist formerly known as the Seen Reading lady, who may or may not be making a surprise reappearance of her own in a certain iconic American digital periodical)  is joining me in largest non alcohol related herding of book publishing professionals in Canadian History.

The 2009 Advent Books Calendar

Julie and I are working to gather some of the best people that we know in books – from the booksellers to the writers to all points on the publishing compass – to bring you their selections for the best books for gift giving this holiday season.

We’ll be publishing 3+ book reviews a day on out TBA Blog.  Each review will be written in 25 words or less!

That’s right.  Maximum enthusiasm, minimum space.

Micro-reviews of the best books available to make your shopping easier.

If you’re in publishing and we haven’t contacted you yet and you’re sure that we would because, seriously, what are we, crazy?  Then drop me a line sean[at]booksontheradio[dot]ca.

It all starts on December 1.



BC Bookseller’s Round-Up: Initiating and Adapting to Change

During the past weekend I spoke to the British Columbia Booksellers Association at their annual conference.  I was asked to speak to the group about social media, community building and engaging the digital world to get the word out.  An interesting proposition, for sure, but everything went really well.  The booksellers were really enthusiastic, asked a ton of questions and I think that everybody came away from the weekend feeling like they had learned a few things and made a few new friends.  I know that I did.

One of the ideas that I suggested to booksellers interested in learning more about blogging and other social networking opportunities is to start their digital journey by listening to and reading the people who are already really good at it.  I recommended Kassia Krozser of Booksquare and Julie Wilson of Toronto’s House of Anansi Press and Seen Reading as excellent resources for the beginner.

To my joy and delight Booksquare has published the perfect blog post to support my recommendations.  To quote…

“It is surely the rare soul in the publishing ecosystem who believes the business tomorrow will resemble the business of today. Change, being change, is messy stuff, best managed through experimentation. You can design the best process in the world, but until real people get their hands in the system, you don’t really know what will work and how. Change is iterative…

…The booksellers who remain standing — and there will be many! — will react to these losses by changing their retail mix to accommodate new customers while incorporating new sales channels, such as digital. In the physical sense, there is only so much shelf space, and booksellers will, necessarily, be more particular and more aggressive about fresh product. The sheer volume of annual releases, with new titles coming out weekly, leaves the bookseller little room for chancy purchases and backroom stock.

Inventory management will be elevated to an art form as booksellers try to balance the slower reactions of customers who rely upon word-of-mouth with those who chase the latest and greatest. Factor in the enduring popularity of catalog titles, and it’s not hard to see that booksellers will be leaner and meaner (oh, and leaner and meaner indicates that booksellers will be purchasing fewer units because, well, managing returns for credit or cash is not a cheap endeavor).”