Monday, June 28, 2010

Outsell The Bible...without the vomit

Outsell The Bible...without the vomit

By Walter Haan,,

I have stickies posted near my computer with quotes, mostly about publishing, printing and bookselling, that I like and want to use on this blog. So instead of waiting any further for places to use them, I thought I'd just publish the following examples on their own.

Here goes.

Comedian Kathy Griffen, in a Publishers Weekly interview by Rachel Deahl published in the September 9, 2009 issue, had a quote that I think all authors and publishers would agree with. Griffen had just published a book (or was about to publish one) and that's why she said:

"My goal is to outsell The Bible. The Random House people tell me that The Bible is the number 1 seller every year, so this year I'm gonna outsell The Bible."

That would be a dream come true for many of us in book publishing.

I found this quote somewhere by Jay Pearsall, author of Mystery and Crime: The New York Library Book of Answers, (paperback--published March 1, 1995). I love it:

"Bookselling must be a lot like tending bar, without the vomit."

Pearsall was also the former owner of the bookstores Murder Ink and Ivy's Books and Curiosities. He probably knows what he was talking about.

Of course the latest trend in independent bookstores is combining book selling with trendy little restaurants or snack bars. I myself head to the Atticus Bookstore in New Haven, Connecticut every once in a while because it combines a great menu with great books on its shelves. That menu includes a black bean soup that I can't get enough of.

Rethinking the two quotes above, I wonder if there is a combination bookstore and bar somewhere. If you know of one, let me know so I can check it out and alert others to the possibility of using The Bible as a coaster. By the way, I think The Bible should be located in the Myth and Folklore sections of bookstores.

I like the following quote too, even though its relation to book publishing is just that it was published in a suspense novel:

"Our great universities will never be able to furnish inner strength, no one can. What teachers provide is always superimposed on the person that already exists."

In other words, teachers burnish what the student furnishes. Sorry college professors and teachers everywhere. You just polish the already existing diamond. I found this quote in the novel Spy Sinker by Len Deighton (hardcover-- published March 3, 1992), page 198.--Copyright © 2010 by Walter Haan,,