cover

Robert Morgan, a book writing college prof

I met Robert Morgan when he was teaching a writers’ workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, a decade ago. He had written a bucketful of poems, several collections of short stories, and two novel by that time. Oprah had just selected the second novel, Gap Creek, for her book club. That selection shot the book to [...]

David Baldacci, also a writer of thrillers

Don’t we all love those stories about writers who just can’t get published, who write piles of manuscripts that no one wants, and finally – finally – an idea comes for one more manuscript. And it’s a real gem. The writer then, to use a baseball cliche, hits it out of the park. That’s David [...]

Jeffery Deaver, a writer of thrillers

Jeffery Deaver writes crime novels, many of them thrillers, and they sell very well. He has an international readership. I was in his audience two years ago at Love Is Murder, a mystery writers conference in Chicago, and I was thoroughly impressed by his quick wit and his insight into what makes a good story. [...]

When the soldiers returned from Vietnam

A friend of mine loved Bob Greene’s columns in the Chicago Tribune. But then Greene screwed up his life and got fired. Actually, he had screwed up his life 14 years earlier . . . it only came out in 2002. Stories at the time said Greene was forced to resign. Fired, forced to resign [...]

Who were the Borders brothers, anyway?

There really were two guys named Borders who started the Borders book stores, brothers Tom and Louis Borders. They were students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor when, in 1971, they launched their first bookstore. Tiny. Two rooms upstairs at 209 State Street. They called their store Borders Book Shop. Seemed logical. The [...]

How will the loss of 200 Borders stores affect writers?

The greatest fear among writers is that publishers such as Penguin and Simon & Schuster will lose so much money through the bankruptcy of Borders – the chain, for example, owes Penguin $41.1 million, and Penguin and the other publishers may only collect 10 to 20 cents on the dollar of the sums owed them [...]

Will a smaller Borders chain survive?

My guess, no. And big Barnes & Noble may not survive, either. When you can buy the bestsellers deeply discounted at Walmart and Costco, all bookstores have a problem. And then there’s Amazon. It seemingly has every book ever published in its online catalog. A big-box bookstore may be able to keep 10,000 titles in [...]

Where are Borders’ customers going?

Close 200 Borders superstores across the country – and that’s what’s going on right now as a consequence of the company reorganizing under federal bankruptcy court protection – a lot of customers have to find new homes where they can buy real books and have a cup of coffee and a bagel while they browse [...]

The Borders bankruptcy

Crime writers – members of the Midwest chapter of Mystery Writers of America – met in Chicago, Saturday, to talk about what the February bankruptcy of Borders and the chain closing 200 of its stores means for writers and the book business. I was there, one of the panelists. For today, let’s look at question [...]

Prowling the used book sales – Part 5

John Grisham and James Patterson sell books by the millions. There are so many copies out there that, when it comes to a used book sale, the sponsor of the event just can’t get rid of them. At our community’s recent AAUW used book sale, those piles of Grisham and Patterson hardbacks were heaped on [...]