Monday, July 7, 2008

A Week of Miniviews!

What’s a miniview, you ask? It’s a mini-interview, of course! These are short, oh-so-sah-wheet bits of info from folks who have different perspectives on the children's publishing biz. Don't blink, or you just may miss something. This week, you’ll hear from:

One hard-working, independent bookstore owner

One top-notch New York City agent

One debut novelist from the Class of 2k9

One aspiring writer


One famous, contemporary children’s book author


Today, we talk to Vicki Erwin. Vicki is the owner of that charming bookstore called Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO.

Located in historic St. Charles, Main Street Books is a cozy, warm escape into the world of literature. If you’d like to buy a new novel, check out a guidebook, browse the children’s section, attend a book club, or rub elbows with an author, then 307 South Main Street is the place to be.

Vicki, please tell us about your bookstore.
We are a general bookstore, located in an historic district in an historic building -- which can present challenges. Our store is on three levels. What we call the mezzanine houses the picture books and readers, a major part of our business. The early chapter, middle grade and young adult titles are on the second floor of the store. We separated these from the younger children because we wanted this age to feel a sense of having their own place. The books are shelved in a hallway and displayed on tables in the kitchen. We have bean bag chairs and a sofa that they often take advantage of! I estimate half of our space is children's books.

What children's programs have been most successful? Why?
Our most successful children's programs have been in partnership with local libraries. Partly that's because we don't have space available for big programs. It's also partly because we combine our marketing efforts to reach a larger audience. A book being featured in the newspaper or on local television also nudges sales.

What is the most exciting part about being a bookseller?
There are so many exciting parts! One is matching the right reader with the right book. It's wonderful when they return to tell you how much they loved a book. Another great part of bookselling is discovering a wonderful book early on and feeling like you have a role in the presentation and building of that book -- telling people about it, promoting it, etc. Finally, just having the opportunity to see everything and read so much is a dream.

In one sentence, tell us how bookstores are changing.
We have to be better than ever to compete, so SHOP LOCAL!

Thanks, Vicki. We love our indies!

Tune in tomorrow for another miniview. We'll be featuring a top-notch NYC agent from a world-reknown agency.


Anna M. Lewis said...

When I first read this, I thought, "No, no, no, the cool indy bookstore in St. Charles is Townhouse books." But, then, I looked at the pic.

Great miniview!

St. Charles, IL

Unknown said...

i love hole-in-the-wall bookstores! great miniview!

Barrie said...

Sounds like the perfect place to spend an afternoon! Thanks for the interview, ladies. ;)