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It’s holiday time though ….. so perhaps I will manage to reduce the number in the pile just a little bit before returning to work next month!

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This blog has evolved into a place to post anything at all relating to books and reading, so I guess this story is as newsworthy as any other I’ve come across over the  years!

Professor Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics, was so sure that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party would not poll 38% in the recent UK election, he tweeted that he would “happily eat” his recently released book Brexit if he was wrong.

So ….. live on Sky TV ….. this is exactly what happened!

Almost single-handedly, Amazon, the online giant store, has redefined how we shop.

Amazon’s dominance in the book industry has been profound.  Large retail bookstore chains and small independent bookstores have been impacted greatly by the seemingly unstoppable growth of this online monolith forcing the closure of bookstores and changing the way we search for and purchase books.

And ….. it seems ….. there’s no end insight.  Amazon Books has launched into retail sales.  And, as they have in the past, Amazon have once again set out to redefine how we shop by using data driven stats to create book displays that tempt and guide the purchaser.

A not too happy account of how Amazon is reshaping bookstores appeared recently on the KOTTKE.ORG blog: Amazon’s data driven bookstores.  For the most part, this post laments the fact that online sales data rather than informed bookstore staff recommendations are being used to promote good reads to the public.

But, as in the past, little will stop the growth of this incredible market driven company.   As I blog, 7 Amazon Bookstores are already open in the US, with 6 more slated to be opening soon.  Without a doubt the current list will be updated regularly as the rollout across the US continues.

A recent post on Recode (a fabulous website I’ve just discovered!) gives an up close look inside the recently opened New York Amazon Bookstore.  In between the telling photos are some interesting observations by Dan Frommer – so take a few minutes and have a read of the post: Photos: Inside Amazon’s first New York City bookstore.

My day to day life is immersed in books.  Not only do I love reading, but my day time job revolves around igniting the magical spark of a ‘love of reading’ in young adults.  To nurture this love of reading, I  constantly make recommendations and, like the staff in book shops, I talk to my library patrons about the kinds of books they enjoy and ask what they have read previously to inform me about their tastes and interests.  The kind of philosophy that has dominated libraries and book shops for millennia – putting the right book into the right hands – cannot be achieved by relying solely on circulation or sales stats, the approach reportedly being adopted by Amazon Books.

Anything that encourages reading though is undoubtedly good!

So instead of looking at the flaws and mistakes of Amazon Bookstores, perhaps those of us encouraging and promoting books in schools can look at some of the great ideas being introduced by Amazon Bookstores and adopt them:

  • lots and lots of face out books for starters certainly makes for an appealing look
  • increased displays of ‘if you like this, how about this’ would also be welcome
  • and how about if we start using circulation stats in a big way to drive the creation of displays

Hmmmmm ….. it seems like I’ve just hit a new spark of inspiration!

We're going on a bear hunt

Three years ago, when Walker Books celebrated the 25th anniversary of the publication of “We’re going on a bear hunt”, Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury in an interview recorded by The Guardian, revealed little known details about the origins of the story and its magical illustrations.

Guardian article

And if you have never heard or seen Michael Rosen’s rendition of this all time classic, you simply must!!

This, more than many other fabulous picture story books from that era, fill me with warm memories of years gone by when I used to tell this story to eager young students during my very early years as a teacher librarian – and then of course brought it home to read to my son!

What could be more cool than a bookmark?!

Most definitely a bookish badge!!

Having just come across this fabulous collection published in a post by Bookish – I’m definitely hooked!!

Just have a look at a couple of the badges displayed:

I just gunna have to drop hints to family and friends now.  🙂

If you just can’t be without a book in your hands, then this is for you!

aqua-reader

Light and easy to carry and both water and UV resistant, it’s certain that AquaReader is  one of those accessories that you just must have!  Check it out!

When you love books and you love art – it’s nothing but sheer joy when the two intersect!

Oh the pleasure when this happened to me recently when I spotted a painting by Massimo Giannoni while window shopping in one of the world’s most magnificent locations  – Capri.

Fresh from discovering a most beautiful gallery in Positano – Liquid Art System – it was like finding an old friend when we bumped into another branch of this gallery while wandering the streets of Capri.

An hour zipped by as we wandered around enjoying the most amazing paintings, sculptures and installations we’d ever seen in a gallery.

And then, there, tucked away in one room was this beautiful painting, an oil on canvas, by Massimo Giannoni – Libreria con scala a chiocciola – which in English translates to Spiral staircase bookcase.

Book painting photographed at liauid art system - Isle of Capri -April 2017

This photograph of the painting which we took, doesn’t fully capture the rich and warm colours that kept us mesmerized for some time.  Sadly too, it was a smidgen too big for our suitcase.

If you ever happen upon one of the Liquid Art System galleries in different locations around the world though, be sure to set aside an hour or more to enjoy your visit.  And – be sure to ask one of the knowledgeable assistants to explain the thinking behind the art.  Complex explanations of some of the pieces we enjoyed seeing still reverberate within us – even now after we’ve returned home.