The Briny Books Reading Challenge

So HERE’s something fun, something inspired by my own serendipitous reading encounters and also by Vicki Ziegler’s recent year-end round-up, where she writes about “reading as exploration, revelation, often deliciously meandering journey, shared experience, opportunity to bust out of staid categories and forge new ones … and more.”

Part of the reason I created Briny Books was to give readers an opportunity to walk less conventional paths as readers, to recommend books that are different from the same books everybody else is talking about, and also to encourage people to think more deeply about where their books come from, and learn how much richer a reading life can be when we do.

This is a pretty low-stakes challenge, encouraging readers to use the library and read books they’ve got at home, but also to seek out books in other places, even curious places. Completing this challenge will be a deliciously meandering challenge, no doubt—and if you’re up to it, please keep us up to date with what books it leads you to. What bookish magic will you discover?

You can get the PDF here.

The Book Drunkard Festival Comes to Uxbridge

Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge Ontario announces the inaugural Book Drunkard Literary Festival.  Putting Uxbridge on the literary map in Canada is not a stretch for 30-year-old Uxbridge mainstay, Blue Heron Books. Paying tribute to former Durham resident, Lucy Maud Montgomery, who once quipped, “I am simply a book drunkard”, The Book Drunkard Festival aims to capture the wonderment of the written word and its ability to intoxicate, transport and transform. Festival runs October 17-November 3 and the schedule is spectacular.

What’s Coming Up Next?

Heads up! We’re winding down Briny Books V. 1 this week and going on a brief hiatus before our return in October with a brand new lineup of excellent fiction. If you’re subscribed to our newsletter, you’re going to find out FIRST when the new selections are announced and therefore get a head-start on our FREE DELIVERY DEAL (which will only be available for a limited time). See you in the Fall.

Important Update from Briny Books

Whew! It’s not even been three weeks since the launch of Briny Books, but what a time it’s been. We had no idea what to expect when the project launched because we’re working with a new model of bookselling and learning as we go. 

The Good News? Briny Books has been a success beyond our expectations. We’ve put these amazing titles on the radar of so many readers, made readers think about where they buy their books and why that matters, we know readers have purchased these books in-store at their own indie bookshops (including at Blue Heron and the amazing Forster’s Book Garden in Bolton, ON, who sent us a photo of their display) and best of all: we sold SO many books to readers across the country. Thank you to everybody who has supported this project. 

The Bad News? We’ve sold SO many books to readers across the country…that funds to pay for free shipping have been exhausted. This is the best bad news ever, to be honest. But for small businesses like Blue Heron Books, using Canada Post is already prohibitive, and it’s not sustainable that they pay shipping costs that sometimes cost as much as the item being shipped. 

So what to do? (We’re learning as we go, remember?)

We have decided to suspend the FREE SHIPPING option for Briny Books for now. We will continue to promote these titles, and encourage you to buy them at Blue Heron or Forster’s Book Garden, or to ask your local bookseller to order them if they’re not in stock already, or you can order online through our site with shipping charges now included. Some of our books are also for sale through the amazing indie book retailer All Lit Up

And when Briny Books’ Fall Lineup makes its debut (in October!), we will once again have free shipping on our new titles, but for a limited time only—which is good encouragement to buy early. 

Thanks for understanding, for continuing to support this project, and for everything you do to enliven book culture in Canada, whether by writing books, selling books, recommending books, blogging about books, and by reading books (which is the most important part!). 

On Book Mail, and Free Shipping

Have you read Helene Hanff’s epistolary memoir, 84 Charing Cross Road, the absolutely delightful story of her correspondence with London bookseller Frank Doel? Their relationship was forged over two decades as Doel sourced the obscure titles Hanff requested and sent them across the ocean to her home in New York City. Via “book mail,” special postal rates for sending books, which—alas—are no more… These days, mailing books is a costly endeavour, although a certain online retailer’s dominance has led to readers forgetting this fact, making us take begin to take “free shipping” for granted. But for a small business—like the one featured in Hanff’s book, like the independent bookstore you’ve got in your town—the cost is a big one, and one that under most circumstances they can’t afford to cover.

Which is why the FREE SHIPPING on #BrinyBooks titles is something we don’t take for granted at all, and I’m grateful to Blue Heron Books for making it work—in the same of making it as enticing as possible to get our great books in the hands of great readers. 

And it’s true that one thing that hasn’t changed since Hanff’s book was published is how exciting it is to wait for—and get!—books in the mail.

Talking Briny Books on the Radio

Thanks to CBC Ontario Morning for having me on today to talk about Briny Books and our incredible inaugural selections. Listen again to the segment on the podcast here—I come on at 33.00.

Books Are Magic