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Home / Jim Cox Reports / Jim Cox Report: April 2021
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Jim Cox Report: April 2021

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

The theme for this month is the bookstore - be it brick & board or online. 

Confessions Of A Bookseller
Shaun Bythell
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
9781567926644, $25.95 HC, $12.85 PB, $10.99 Kindle, 324pp

Synopsis: Shaun Bythell is the owner of Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop in the rural community of Wigtown. But if you think his days are taken up with sorting through rare and valuable first editions, snoozing by the fire with the latest literary gem, or chatting with interesting, well-informed readers -- think again. Bookselling, Shaun reveals, is far from the idyll you might imagine.

Beset by bizarre requests from customers who appear not to know what a book shop is, locked in an endless struggle with Amazon, the frustrations of computerized online order receiving and fulfilling, the diverse experiences of going out to people's homes for on-site book buys, participation in several annual village events, and exasperated by his bin-diving, poultice-making dramatically opinionated employees, Shaun faithfully records his daily trials and tribulations for a complete year with a sharp eye and an even sharper wit. "Confessions of a Bookseller" is the colorfully inside story of a life lived in books ranging from the pleasures of the unexpected find, to the friendships forged over shared tastes, to the sadness of finishing a really good book -- and a few really good friendships.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and fully engaging read from cover to cover, "Confessions of a Bookseller" is a unique and utterly compelling read. Of special note is that in addition to the daily tallies of Online Orders/Orders Fulfilled, and the daily Total Sales/Total Customers, each individual month is prefaced with an extended bookshop oriented quote from Augustus Muir, 'The Intimate Thoughts of John Baxter, Bookseller (Metheun & Co., London 1942) and an extended commentary by Shuan Bythell on the vagaries, trials and tribulations of owning and operating a bookstore.

Offering a wealth of invaluable insights for authors and publishers into the bookstore business today as it is today, and an absolute 'must read' for all dedicated bibliophiles and anyone who has ever aspired to one day having a used bookstore of their own, this large print edition of "Confessions of a Bookseller" is an essential addition to any and all community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Confessions of a Bookseller" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781094178745, $34.95, CD).

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops
Shaun Bythell
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
9781567926927, $18.95, HC, 128pp

Synopsis: From behind the counter of his used bookstore, Shaun Bythell catalogs the customers who roam his shop in Wigtown, Scotland. There’s the Expert (divided into subspecies from the Bore to the Helpful Person), the Young Family (ranging from the Exhausted to the Aspirational), Occultists (from Conspiracy Theorist to Craft Woman). Then there's the Loiterer (including the Erotica Browser and the Self-Published Author), the Bearded Pensioner (including the Lyrca Clad), and the The Not-So-Silent Traveller (the Whistler, Sniffer, Hummer, Farter, and Tutter). Two bonus sections include Staff and, finally, the Perfect Customer -- all adding up to one of the funniest book about books any dedicated bibliophile will ever find.

Critique: An inherently riveting, entertaining, and thought-provoking read from cover to cover, "Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops" is deftly written with memorably humorously presented insights that will be of immense interest to bibliophiles, writers, publishers, and anyone who has ever had (or aspired to having) a bookstore of their own. Simply stated, "Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops" should be a part of every community collection on the subject of bookselling and bookstores.

Editorial Note: A resident of Wigtown, Scotland, Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop, the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland. He also is the author of "Confessions of a Bookseller".

Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers
Stuart Husband, author
Horst A. Friedrichs, photographer
Prestel Publishing
9783791385815, $45.00, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: Independent bookstores offer treasure troves of knowledge and ideas, are invaluable for the imagination, and often reflect their owners' unique personalities in ways that internet behemoths like Amazon could never re-create.

With an impressively informative and descriptive commentary by Stuart Husband, "Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers" is enhanced with the full color images of photographer Horst A. Friedrichs as he visually opens the door to a world of bricks-and-mortar bookstores, showcasing their variety, quirkiness, and vitality with lavish photography. It celebrates the passion and commitment of the owners with interviews and anecdotes.

Bibliophiles will fully enjoy exploring William Stout Books, a specialty store for architecture and art books in San Francisco, and Baldwin's Book Barn in Pennsylvania, a 5-story bookstore housed in a dairy barn open since the mid-1940s. Discovering Gay's the Word, the UK's first and only dedicated LGBTQI bookshop and Livraria Lello, whose Art Deco interior is a temple to reading in the middle of Porto, Portugal.

Some of the featured bookstores specialize in a certain genre, some are massive with vaulted ceilings, some are tiny and filled to the brim with books, some are in historic buildings that evoke a different time and place, and some are brand new, hightech, architect-designed spaces. What all these bookstores have in common is that they are all dedicated to spreading the written word to their communities.

Critique: A browsing bibliophile's delight, "Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers" is an original, unique, and ideal armchair travelogue and guide for anyone who loves to read, browse, or simply linger in the analog world of books and bookstores -- and an ideal, unreservedly recommended Memorial Fund acquisition for community, college, and university library collections.

How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon
Penny Sansevieri
Author Marketing Experts
9798562626929, $9.99, PB, 142pp

Synopsis: In the pages of "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon", book marketing expert Penny Sansevieri teaches self-published authors exactly how to sell their books on (the 800 pound gorilla of bookselling) -- but smarter and with more success.

Penny Sansevieri is a true book marketing guru who has also taught Amazon-centric classes and webinars to thousands of authors leading up to the release of this ultimate guide to mastering the Amazon marketing system. This 2021 edition of "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon" also introduces a brand new Powerhouse Amazon Ads chapter!

Authors and publishers will learn how to set up, manage and run Amazon ads to gain more visibility for a book with a great economy and minimal finances. The proven strategies in this step-by-step instruction manual will have immediate results and increased target market exposure while dramatically upgrading any books marketing efforts to sell more copies!

"How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon" covers: Developing book descriptions that convert more browsers to buyers; Finding keywords that help connect with more shoppers; Increase sales through perfectly timed pre-order campaigns; Create Amazon ads that sell more books; Boost sales with strategic eBook marketing strategies; Capitalize on the secret Amazon relevancy score for a product.

To get any book ranked #1 in its category, "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon" is an essential instruction manual and guide with. It is an effective go-to resource for finally making sense of all the features Amazon offers that have already proven successful for thousands of other authors!

Critique: From 'How to Respond to a Review'; to 'Gifting eBooks'; to 'Bonus Marterials', to 'Turning Your Book into a 24/7 Sales Tool', "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon" is the best investment any author and any publisher can make to insure a commercially successful book in today's highly competitive and volatile online marketplace. A great deal of the 'tips, tricks & techniques' showcased in "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon" are also applicable to other online book selling websites such as Barnes & Noble. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, if you as an author and/or publisher only have time to read on DIY book on selling books, make it "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon" by Penny Sansevieri!

Editorial Note: For reviews of other writing/publishing related books and activities by Penny Sanvieri, go to:

Now here is a review of a book that will be of particular and special interest to writers and their publishers:

Book and Baby
Milda M. DeVoe
Brooklyn Writers Press
9781952991073, $19.99, PB, 314pp

Synopsis: "Book and Baby: The Complete Guide to Managing Chaos and Becoming A Wildly Successful Writer-Parent" by author and parent Milda M. DeVoe is an inspiring, practical, and effective writing craft book that deftly addresses the various stages of parenthood and how a writing career can be affected at every stage.

Drawing on her personal experiences gleaned from ten years of running a literary nonprofit that helps writers stay on creative track after starting a family, Milda M. DeVoe (founder of Pen Parentis), put her Columbia MFA to good use in creating a fun, readable, helpful and inspiring instructional reference book for parents, caregivers and others who feel they lack the time needed to write.

"Book and Baby" shows how aspiring writers who are also committed parents : How to write in short spaces of time; How to make time out of no time; Provide guidance for nurturing a writing career along with children. Additionally, "Book and Baby" will inspire parents who want to be writers with true-life stories drawn from an archive of interviews with serious, professional and even bestselling writers (all who have kids) and introduce resources that will keep those parents writing.

Critique: A unique and seminal DIY instructional for writers who are parents (and parents who aspire to become writers), "Book and Baby: The Complete Guide to Managing Chaos and Becoming A Wildly Successful Writer-Parent" must be considered a mandatory read. A thoroughly comprehensive and 'user friendly' instructional manual in both organization and presentation, "Book and Baby" is especially and unreservedly recommended for professional, community, college and university library Writing/Publishing collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Book and Baby" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Editorial Note: M ilda M. DeVoe earned her MFA at Columbia University as a Writing Fellow under Michael Cunningham and Helen Schulman. Her explorations of identity through creative writing have brought her to publish in nearly every genre: literary fiction, poetry, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, even musical theater. She has won or been a finalist for more than 20 writing awards. She won her first grant for Pen Parentis from NYC's Department of Cultural Affairs in 2009 and remains its founding director.

Finally, "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" is a monthly roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating to our postage stamp fund this past month:

Deborah Fox
John P. Boyle
David McElrath
Jorge Torrente -- "The Uprising"
Rob Couteau -- "Selected Poems"
Stephanie Hurlbert -- "Replaced Parts"
Jean Alfieri -- "Blessed to be Your Dog"
Samuel Sanders -- "Your Next Big Idea"
James L. Hockenberry -- "Send The Word"
Margaret Rodenberg -- "Finding Napoleon"
Alan Logan -- "The Greatest Hoax On Earth"
Owen Bryon Jr. -- "Observation of the Moment"
Anitha Perinchery -- "One Monsoon in Mumbai"
Nadine Block -- "This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You"
Tushar Choksi -- "Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge"
Jane Culp -- "Jane Culp: Echoes of the San Andreas: Paintings and Drawings"
Ellen Pober Rittberg -- "Why is Grandma Naked?: Caring for Your Aging Parent"
Tamara S. Raymond -- "Careering: The Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career"
ImMedia, Inc.
Gale Force Press
Voicework On Demand
Role of the Least-Aspected Planet
M. J. Fievre -- Logan Masterworks
Katherine Massey -- Pearson Jagoe Publishing
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company, LLC

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support to our postage stamp fund for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community. Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at:

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If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.

So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
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James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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