Monday, March 31, 2008

Run, Fat Boy, Run

Okay, we drove to Tallahassee to see the new Simon Pegg movie. It was good. Not great. But good. And worth seeing! (Take that, Carmike!!) Luckily we didn't mind driving to FL (only 90 minutes away) to see it, after a nice little lunch at Atlanta Bread (the portions are half the size they are in Columbus, GA, which surprised us). Then we did a bit of shopping. I looked around almost the only 2 kinds of stores I go in: dvd, and book. Not necessarily in that order. :)

In fact, going to the bookstore you see here (Borders, Tallahassee) is where I first found one of our books on the shelves. We were both excited. Because that's when we thought it was a Good thing. Well, just the next month, we started losing money on the deal. BIG money to us.

We got into bookstore chains very briefly last year via Midpoint Distributing. The first 4 months were great. We thought it was going to improve our life and the biz. Then the returns started coming...

We lost thousands of dollars in returns. And even 6 months after we severed our contract with Midpoint, the returns are Still coming in. Not only will we not make 1 cent, we might owe Them money. So, not only did I have to pay the cost of shipping several thousand books To them, I had to agree to unlimited returns, which bookstores for some reason are granted, which actually cost More per book than the money they gave me For each book! Go figure that one out! No wonder 90% of publishers - good ones, like Cemetery Dance - don't put their wares on store shelves. It's not worth it!

Most of the indie publishers said "don't do it" but I wanted to try for myself. You have to learn the hard way, right? I sure did! But. It did NOT stop my optimism. I am determined as ever to build UP the business, to make it more known, improve the good reputation we already have, and make BearManor Media as popular as can be in our nostalgia genre.

Friday, March 28, 2008

and speaking of evil corporations

I sincerely hope that the rumors of a mass take over are untrue. Click on the panda to go to a long, scary rumor about the publishing biz. I use Lightning Source for the majority of our titles, so Amazon trying to force us to use another printer could have a major impact. For MANY publishers. And ALL readers.

Send Amazon an email or call them at 1-866-216-1072 so we can try to stop this terror train before it starts.

Actually I like Amazon more than chain bookstores. Because EVERYONE can use Amazon. All the indie publishers and bookstores can list with them, new copies, used copies. It's GREAT for buyers AND sellers. If this changes, what will happen? The return of the old-fashion used bookstore? Will Tower Records reopen their stores if Amazon overreaches itself?

I tend to doubt it. Amazon is the biggest and they Have to see reason. It's one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, but to shoot yourself in the head...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

corp. minds

Well, I got a slightly bad surprise today. I was Really looking forward to seeing Run, Fat Boy, Run, the new Simon Pegg film, which starts tomorrow. Well, it doesn't start here. It starts in Atlanta, and Tallahassee, where we'll have to drive to see it, but not in Albany, GA where I live and not in Columbus, GA where we often like to go for day trips.

I've liked Simon Pegg ever since I first got hooked on The 99p Challenge, one of the Best British shows I've heard on BBC Radio 4 in the last 10 years. Alas, it's been a couple years since the last series, and even if they bring it back, will Simon Pegg be a part of it again, now that he's hot stuff? Well, at least it will have the beautiful, Very funny Sue Perkins in the chair. It must - it's her show.

From there, I saw Shaun of the Dead, but mostly because Dawn of the Dead '78 is one of my 5 favorite films. (Too bad they remade Dawn so that I have to type '78 from now on.) Then Hot Fuzz came out - well, not in Albany again, but I didn't Mind driving to Columbus to see it on their bigger screen. Saw it 3 times. Great, great movie, much like Simon's Spaced TV series.

After Hot Fuzz, I became a true Pegg fan by renting Big Train - a GREAT sketch show - then Spaced, also great. I'll see anything Simon's in.

But I won't see his latest in Albany, GA because Carmike doesn't want me to. And we've only got one theater in town. So even tho Carmike always thanks me for my patronage at the start of every showing, they don't mean it. Because I have no say in what comes in to my town. Instead of Run, Fat Boy, Run, Meet the Browns will remain in 2 big theaters, because that's the crowd here.

It's bad enough that these huge movie chains never play old films, but by limiting my choices, it hurts Everyone - eventually. Corporations aren't always bad, but I've thought less of them ever since I lost thousands of dollars trying to get my books into chain bookstores via Midpoint Distributing. Our books aren't mass market. They are niche books for old movie/tv fans, and that's not a mainstream mindset. So, the big boys are limiting what you can buy in the stores because the smaller guys like me don't have the $ it takes to take a $7k loss every couple months when books don't sell and are returned to the publisher at the publisher's expense. That's also why - believe it or not - 90% of publishers aren't on bookstore shelves. Blame the bookstore, not the publisher.

But more so, blame the economy, I suppose. There actually is an INCREDIBLE amount of choices in the world. But only online, when you think about it. If you like to browse, like I do, and go into bookstores, like I do, you're going to be out of luck unless you're looking for Really Popular items. You won't find BearManor Media books there. And that same reasoning means I won't find Run, Fat Boy, Run anywhere around here.

The moral to the story. I don't think there is one. I can only think of solutions. But our Star Trek society of "the wants of the many outweigh the wants of the few or the one" dominates today, and in this Walmart generation - I shop there too - it's hard to muster the gumption to fight Giant corporations.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

more on Frances Langford

I've had a couple people lately tell me they're looking forward to the Frances Langford book - that's Always good to here.

Well, here's one picture we snapped of the collection on display at the museum we visited. Her dresses; and they have a Ton more in storage. We got more shots of the collection - but you'll have to wait until the book's out!

Friday, March 21, 2008

going to Jensen Beach, FL

When we last left our couple - us - they were headed toward Jensen Beach, FL. But do you know why? Having written books on The Bickersons and Don Ameche and now finishing up a massive bio on the creator, Phil Rapp, not to mention having edited 2 books of Bickersons scripts - the cycle is not complete without doing a book on everyone's favorite singer, patron of Florida, and Mrs. Bickerson - Frances Langford.

When she was alive, Frances was So supportive with what I was doing. Not only did she send me goodies (illustrations and info) to use in the Bix bio, but she signed hundreds of postcards for me! of the Bix bio and Bix Scripts vol. 1, most of which I still have, and which I'll offer with the Langford bio when it's ready.

I got official permission from the Langford estate to do the book, and they sent a letter to the museum on Hutchinson Island, near Jensen Beach, where Frances gave all her stuff, which gave me permission to go thru All the material. So we went out and spent 7 straight hours scanning 100s of photos, copying over 100 articles from her scrapbooks. It was quite an experience!

I've been very fortunate in all my Bickersons quests. To have so many cooperative people help with these projects - the Phil Rapp family, the Don Ameche family, and now the Langford estate - has really been the reason these books exist. Without the estates' permissions, I never would've tackled these projects in the first place.

Oh, and a couple of these pictures show our nice drive up the beach toward Jensen. We'd never been south of Orlando together, so it was fun exploring new territory!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a trip to Jensen Beach, FL!

Hi again. Sorry for such a delay in updating, but now that we're back from our latest week trip, I'm gonna update this site Often. So watch out!

Where did we go? To Jensen Beach, FL of course! We gave ourselves 2 days to drive down, because it's a couple hours south of Orlando (where we often like to go), just so we wouldn't have to rush for our Wed. morning appointment. The first night we stopped in Orlando anyway - it was on the way.

And we Finally got to try a restaurant - Bahama Breeze - that always looked good to us. On International Drive, the Main hub of the walking tourist area. Theme restaurants galore - enough theme min. golf to make us all die happy. And tons of gift shops that can make you spend all your money on Mickey and Minnie without ever going to Disneyworld.

The food at BB was Great, just as I'd hoped, since we've been wanting to go there for 2 years now. It's a busy place. Luckily we went on Monday night, because I figured a week night when kids are still in school would be less of a tourist time. Correct!

First up was black bean soup - we love black bean stuff. The crunchy corn chips in it made it even better. Then we each had a chicken dish that super. You know how a lot of places you go, the chicken might taste the same even if you order something different, just a different sauce on top? Well, these chickens were Totally different. I can't recommend the food and ambiance of Bahama Breeze enough.

After a nice meal, we did 2 rounds of Pirate Golf about a block away (we walked). The hard course and the easy course. And the hard one Is hard.

Part 2 of the trip tomorrow!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Rambo was good too

A lot of people criticize films like Rambo for being too violent or braindead, but to me, it's fun. It's probably the most violent of the series, probably because of the cartoon effects, so there's an easier way to put more blood in in a safer way. You can tell that a lot of violence is post-production, and unfortunately, just like the last Rocky, Stallone isn't up to what he once was. His arms are strong, but who knows if he's still got the - pun here - killer body that he did, and if you watch, you'll see that he doesn't have to do a Lot of physical stuff. He runs for a while, but the editor is working hard too to make sure that it's not a Long run. That's how I felt with Rocky. Lots of editing to keep the fight punching more than it is, and very few training scenes.

Still, this Rambo is a crowd pleaser, and that's what it's all about. Worth seeing, especially for the ending, which I think ties up everything nicely.

Now if he'd only get back together with Kurt Russell for Tango & Cash 2 (the first was Great), that'd be perfect.