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24.04.2014 admin
So, this post is a companion to my earlier post, When Good Books Get Lost Behind Not-so-Good Covers. Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble – I love the typography and the swish ornamentation. Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine – Look how adorable that cover is!
Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler – This book was CREEPY, but look at the glorious, ominous vector imagery on that cover! Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham – This cover is my idea of the perfect Christmas scene! I think this happens so often and it’s frustrating but at the same time I guess publishers always try to give a book the best cover possible.
Argh, I hate it when this happens too because I’m sort of the kind of person who gets hooked by a cover and will buy a book if the cover is awesome and I sort of like the blurb. The last two books that had pretty covers but were bleh inside for me were Sweet Venom and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. My mind has been spinning thinking of the best way to make my preschoolers feel comfortable and happy in our classroom setting while helping them become acclimated to their new surroundings and our classroom and school procedures.
What better way to discuss those first day jitters, fears of the unknown and our daily separation than by reading some relevant Back to School Books and using them as a springboard for discussions on how we are all feeling. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn - I read this sweet book every year on the night before the first day of school. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg - this another one of my personal favorites as both a mom and a teacher.
I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas - This is another beloved first day of school book perfect for preschoolers. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney - I love all the Llama books but this one is especially sweet for kids who are just going to school for the first time and are worried about separating from their Mamas. The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing - another cute "nervous about starting school" read that shows how fun school is once the child gets there. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes - Erase some of your little ones fears away with Wemberly as she discovers that school isn't as scary as she imagined it to be. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child - we enjoy Charlie and Lola in our home and my youngest has a special fondness for Lola with all her spunk and imagination. The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing - I have read this one 2 years in a row as both Lil Divas start kindergarten and it has been a favorite of mine not only because it depicts children prepping for the first day but because it shows that parents are sad too. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes - Chrysanthemum always loved her name until she started kindergarten and the other kids laugh at her. The Night Before First Grade (Reading Railroad) by Natasha Wing - I like that this isn't a picture perfect rendition of first grade. First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman - Hayley thinks first grade is nothing like Kindergarten and she isn't happy with the changes.
Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books (Gilbert and Friends) by Diane deGroat - Gilbert is worried about what first grade will be like.
Disclosure - This post does contain affiliate links but the thoughts are my own regarding the books. Here on Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas you will find mom talk, family fun, learning ideas & resources, creative crafts, playtime fun, product reviews and giveaways and plenty of Lil Diva antics!Being a mom is its own unique kind of adventure! Wealthsmiths™ at Head Office had a chance to buy books at a book sale hosted by the Women’s Network Initiative in collaboration with Reader’s Warehouse. Wealthsmiths™ spent more than R67 000 over two days, 10% of which will be donated to charity and community outreach projects.
A portion of the funds raised will be donated to the Tygerberg Hospital’s paediatric ward as part of Sanlam’s Reach out and Read initiative, which aims to make a difference in children’s lives. Reader’s Warehouse, a Cape Town-based independent book wholesaler and distributor, runs book sales at workplaces, offering employees a wide range of books at discount prices in the convenience of their work environment. Keep to-read lists, with little handy boxes to shade in when you’ve read a book so you can track your progress at a glance! I also love how these #bujo users keep track of their reading challenges by giving them their own modules!
Sometimes you need a little extra motivation to get through those longer books, so create a module for the book and break it down into bite-sized pieces, like chapters or sections. This photo shows how one user tracks watching her TV shows, but I think the method could easily translate into tracking your progress through long series, or studying extra-long books.
The coolest thing about the bullet journal system is that it is highly adaptable to your needs, and it can do whatever you want it to.
Have you ever been walking through a book store, stopped dead in your tracks, and drooled a little over the latest eye candy on the book displays?
I read this while on a cruise, though, and the book is SO WRONG (nobody her age would be allowed to have her own cabin, for one thing.). But no, the romance in this book takes a backseat to the politics surrounding the French Revolution. Between prepping for the arrival of my preschoolers and getting my girls ready for their first day, my mind is a bit all over the place but all thoughts lead back to those first few days (and even weeks) of school.
You follow Sarah through her first day jitters only to be surprised at the end that she is the teacher. My girls always laugh so much when we read it and we get to discuss proper school behavior while learning about dinosaurs. It reassures little ones that Mommy will love them all day long - no matter where they go or what they do.
This is one of the books we read this year as we prepare for the Littlest Diva to start kindergarten and it was a perfect addition to our back to school reading. I like how she overcomes her fears to find that school is fun and later she is rushing towards the bus in excitement to get to school. Luckily, her music teacher comes to the rescue and pretty soon everyone thinks her name is perfect.
Have you ever bought a book without even caring what it’s about, just because the cover is drop-dead amazing?
A very cute story and it's wonderful for kids to know they aren't the only ones who experience first day jitters. This book is great to show them that it is ok to worry while encouraging them to face those fears and try new things as Wemberly soon found that school was fun.
There is lots of humor here for kids to enjoy and of course Hayley finds that although it is different, first grade really doesn't stink after all. Its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, also owns a major newspaper, the Washington Post. Cos we've got enough Podcast material to keep you occupied for roughly 2 years and 147 days. I was intrigued when I first learned about bullet journaling (#bujo), and I even started one myself. Have you ever gone home and read that book, and then thrown it against the wall because its was a major disappointment? I reviewed it at The Broke and The Bookish, if you’re interested in seeing what I thought. I would totally have picked up Someday My Prince Will Come and Glimmerglass if I’d seen the covers, by the way. It sets the foundation for the entire year and honestly,  I believe that these early elementary years set the tone for all that is to come.


The story shows that although that may happen and first grade is different from kindergarten if given the chance - it can be great too.
These are the fears my Oldest Diva has about starting first grade so this was a great read for us.
All these streams and tributaries make Amazon something radically new in the history of American business. I quickly went rogue on the organizational system (so many rules!), but I enjoy certain aspects of how it’s put together—modules, page-numbering, and an index to keep track of it all.
I wanted to love this SO bad, but the sequels have come out and I have no desire to read them… The plot was weak, with everything happening over and over again. This post is dedicated to all those books I didn’t necessarily hate, but had higher hopes for because of their deceptive book covers.
After Apple launched the iPod, Steve Jobs didn’t sign up pop stars for recording contracts. Amazon’s identity and goals are never clear and always fluid, which makes the company destabilizing and intimidating. Amazon is not just the “Everything Store,” to quote the title of Brad Stone’s rich chronicle of Bezos and his company; it’s more like the Everything. In 1994, at the age of thirty, Bezos, a Princeton graduate, quit his job at a Manhattan hedge fund and moved to Seattle to found a company that could ride the exponential growth of the early commercial Internet. Books are easy to ship and hard to break, and there was a major distribution warehouse in Oregon. Crucially, there are far too many books, in and out of print, to sell even a fraction of them at a physical store.
The vast selection made possible by the Internet gave Amazon its initial advantage, and a wedge into selling everything else. For Bezos to have seen a bookstore as a means to world domination at the beginning of the Internet age, when there was already a crisis of confidence in the publishing world, in a country not known for its book-crazy public, was a stroke of business genius. In 1995, in Chicago, Bezos manned an Amazon booth at the annual conclave of the publishing industry, which is now called BookExpo America. So what makes you Earth’s biggest?” “We have the most affiliate links”—a form of online advertising. Doeren considered this, then asked, “What’s your business model?” Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers. After collecting data on millions of customers, Amazon could figure out how to sell everything else dirt cheap on the Internet. It’s going to be really bad for books.” Before Google, and long before Facebook, Bezos had realized that the greatest value of an online company lay in the consumer data it collected. Two decades later, Amazon sells a bewildering array of products: lawnmowers, iPods, art work, toys, diapers, dildos, shoes, bike racks, gun safes, 3-D printers. Amazon’s code of corporate secrecy is extreme—it won’t confirm how many Seattle employees it has, or how many Kindle e-readers have been sold—so it’s impossible to know for sure, but, according to one publisher’s estimate, book sales in the U.S. Few notice if Amazon prices an electronics store out of business (except its staff); but, in the influential, self-conscious world of people who care about reading, Amazon’s unparalleled power generates endless discussion, along with paranoia, resentment, confusion, and yearning. For its part, Amazon continues to expend considerable effort both to dominate this small, fragile market and to win the hearts and minds of readers. The company claims to want a more literate world—and it came along when the book world was in distress, offering a vital new source of sales. But then it started asking a lot of personal questions, and it created dependency and harshly exploited its leverage; eventually, the book world realized that Amazon had its house keys and its bank-account number, and wondered if that had been the intention all along.
Even in the iPhone age, books remain central to American intellectual life, and perhaps to democracy.
And so the big question is not just whether Amazon is bad for the book industry; it’s whether Amazon is bad for books. When Amazon emerged, publishers in New York suddenly had a new buyer that paid quickly, sold their backlist as well as new titles, and, unlike traditional bookstores, made very few returns. He was a skinny kid, he was young, he was excitable, and he was completely serious about what he was doing. In the late nineties, an Amazon vice-president named Mary Morouse e-mailed her colleagues after a trip to visit publishers in New York. And they love our sales numbers.” “Well, if you haven’t seen him, do you know a good recipe for puff pastry?” Share Tweet Buy a cartoon Publishers weren’t troubled that Amazon sold their books at dramatic discounts. By 1997, when the company went public, Amazon’s book inventory could have filled six football fields.
But someone who read Bezos’s year-end letter to shareholders might well have thought that Amazon’s eight-hundred-and-thirty-eight-per-cent sales growth had been in shoes, since he barely mentioned books. Books were his customer-acquisition strategy.” As long as Amazon kept growing like mad, investors would pour in money and Wall Street wouldn’t pay much attention to profits.
55—was a cultural critic from New York named James Marcus, who, in turn, brought in his friend Kerry Fried, who edited his pieces at the Village Voice. One day in 1997, Fried went into the company kitchen and found him absorbed in assembling an ant farm. Eighty per cent of them came in two or three similar categories, and Bezos is the same: introverted, detail-oriented, engineer-type personality. Even when Amazon’s entire business was in books, and its relations with publishers were fairly good, it nurtured a certain impatience with New York houses that supplied the products it sold.
There was “a general feeling that the New York publishing business was just this cloistered, Gilded Age antique just barely getting by in a sort of Colonial Williamsburg of commerce, but when Amazon waded into this they would show publishing how it was done.” During the 1999 holiday season, Amazon tried publishing books, leasing the rights to a defunct imprint called Weathervane and putting out a few titles.
Amazon was a megastore, not an indie bookshop, let alone a literary review, and its writers were under pressure to prove that their work produced sales. If a customer clicked on a review or an interview, then left the page without making a purchase, it was logged as a Repel. It’s a way for a retailer to get a larger discount without violating the 1936 Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits producers from offering price advantages to favored retailers.
Although co-op fees weren’t “dreamed up by Amazon,” Marcus told me, “Amazon proved to be particularly good at squeezing this money out of publishers.” Publishers paid ten thousand dollars for a book to be prominently featured on the home page.
They never knew exactly how much these payments helped sales, and negotiations over them became tense. When Marcus asked if publishers should be given sales targets in exchange for their payments, Lyn Blake, the executive who had created the co-op program, said no, adding, “Look, it’s the cost of doing business.” The editorial staff was reminded that the money, unlike the receipts on sold books, went straight to Amazon’s bottom line. Judgments about which books should be featured on the site were increasingly driven by promotional fees. Around this time, a group called the “personalization team,” or P13N, started to replace editorial suggestions for readers with algorithms that used customers’ history to make recommendations for future purchases. Author interviews became less frequent, and in-house essays were subsumed by customer reviews, which cost the company nothing. Tim Appelo, the entertainment editor at the time, said, “You could be the Platonic ideal of the reviewer, and you would not beat even those rather crude early algorithms.” Amazon’s departments competed with one another almost as fiercely as they did with other companies.
In December, 1999, at the height of the dot-com mania, Time named Bezos its Person of the Year. One day, Fried discovered a memo, written by a programmer and accidentally left on a printer, which suggested eliminating the editorial department. Anne Hurley, the editor-in-chief of the DVD and Video section, was viewed dismissively by her boss, Jason Kilar, who went on to run the video-streaming company Hulu.
For the first time, Wall Street lost faith in the company, and Bezos announced that the next eighteen months would be devoted to making “serious profits.” Marcus and Fried quit before they could be laid off.
The fact that Amazon once devoted significant space on its site to editorial judgments—to thinking and writing—would be an obscure footnote if not for certain turns in the company’s more recent history.


According to one insider, around 2008—when the company was selling far more than books, and was making twenty billion dollars a year in revenue, more than the combined sales of all other American bookstores—Amazon began thinking of content as central to its business. By then, Amazon had lost much of the market in selling music and videos to Apple and Netflix, and its relations with publishers were deteriorating.
In its drive for profitability, Amazon did not raise retail prices; it simply squeezed its suppliers harder, much as Walmart had done with manufacturers. Amazon demanded ever-larger co-op fees and better shipping terms; publishers knew that they would stop being favored by the site’s recommendation algorithms if they didn’t comply. In 2004, when Melville House was just getting started, Johnson’s distributor called him and described his negotiations with Amazon as being “like dinner with the Godfather.” Amazon wanted a payment without having to reveal how many Melville House books were sold on the site. Before the impasse, Amazon had represented eight per cent of Melville House’s sales, more than Johnson could afford to lose. According to the marketing executive, the larger houses, which used to pay two or three per cent of their net sales through Amazon, now relinquish five to seven per cent of gross sales, pushing Amazon’s percentage discount on books into the mid-fifties.
For a smaller house, Amazon’s total discount can go as high as sixty per cent, which cuts deeply into already slim profit margins. Because Amazon manages its inventory so well, it often buys books from small publishers with the understanding that it can’t return them, for an even deeper discount. Publishers sometimes pass on this cost to authors, by redefining royalties as a percentage of the publisher’s receipts, not of the book’s list price.
Recently, publishers say, Amazon began demanding an additional payment, amounting to approximately one per cent of net sales. Once the fee was paid, publishing executives could discuss marketing strategies with Amazon staff; otherwise, they’d have to rely on the company’s algorithms. If a publisher resists when Amazon asks for a “bump” in payments, its books “can’t be promoted.” In 2003, Amazon introduced Search Inside the Book, which allowed customers to hunt for a phrase in a book without having to buy it. Publishers warily allowed Amazon to scan some of their titles and convert the images into searchable text.
They didn’t realize that they were giving Amazon a huge head start over potential competitors when it decided to go into the digital-books business. In 2004, he set up a lab in Silicon Valley that would build Amazon’s first piece of consumer hardware: a device for reading digital books. According to Stone’s book, Bezos told the executive running the project, “Proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job.” Meanwhile, Amazon began pushing publishers to digitize and sign retail agreements on as many titles as possible. Bezos announced that the price of best-sellers and new titles would be nine-ninety-nine, regardless of length or quality—a figure that Bezos, inspired by Apple’s sale of songs on iTunes for ninety-nine cents, basically pulled out of thin air. The price was below wholesale in some cases, and so low that it represented a serious threat to the market in twenty-six-dollar hardcovers.
Bookstores that depended on hardcover sales—from Barnes & Noble and Borders (which liquidated its business in 2011) to Rainy Day Books in Kansas City—glimpsed their possible doom.
The next year, 2008, which brought the financial crisis, was disastrous for bookstores and publishers alike, with widespread layoffs. By 2010, Amazon controlled ninety per cent of the market in digital books—a dominance that almost no company, in any industry, could claim. The literary agent Andrew Wylie (whose firm represents me) says, “What Bezos wants is to drag the retail price down as low as he can get it—a dollar-ninety-nine, even ninety-nine cents.
Publishers looked around for a competitor to Amazon, and they found one in Apple, which was getting ready to introduce the iPad, and the iBooks Store.
Apple wanted a deal with each of the Big Six houses (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster) that would allow the publishers to set the retail price of titles on iBooks, with Apple taking a thirty-per-cent commission on each sale. This was known as the “agency model,” and, in some ways, it offered the publishers a worse deal than selling wholesale to Amazon.
But it gave publishers control over pricing and a way to challenge Amazon’s grip on the market. Apple’s terms included the provision that it could match the price of any rival, which induced the publishers to impose the agency model on all digital retailers, including Amazon. In an e-mail to a friend, Sargent wrote, “Am on my way out to Seattle to get my ass kicked by Amazon.” Sargent’s gesture didn’t seem to matter much to the Amazon executives, who were used to imposing their own terms. Seated at a table in a small conference room, Sargent said that Macmillan wanted to switch to the agency model for e-books, and that if Amazon refused Macmillan would withhold digital editions until seven months after print publication. The next day, Amazon removed the BUY buttons from Macmillan’s print and digital titles on its site, only to restore them a week later, under heavy criticism.
Amazon unwillingly accepted the agency model, and within a couple of months e-books were selling for as much as fourteen dollars and ninety-nine cents. In April, 2012, the Justice Department sued Apple and the five publishers for conspiring to raise prices and restrain competition. As proof of collusion, the government presented evidence of e-mails, phone calls, and dinners among the Big Six publishers during their negotiations with Apple. Sargent and other executives acknowledged that they wanted higher prices for e-books, but they argued that the evidence showed them only to be competitors in an incestuous business, not conspirators.
As Apple and the publishers see it, the ruling ignored the context of the case: when the key events occurred, Amazon effectively had a monopoly in digital books and was selling them so cheaply that it resembled predatory pricing—a barrier to entry for potential competitors. Since then, Amazon’s share of the e-book market has dropped, levelling off at about sixty-five per cent, with the rest going largely to Apple and to Barnes & Noble, which sells the Nook e-reader.
In other words, before the feds stepped in, the agency model introduced competition to the market. But the court’s decision reflected a trend in legal thinking among liberals and conservatives alike, going back to the seventies, that looks at antitrust cases from the perspective of consumers, not producers: what matters is lowering prices, even if that goal comes at the expense of competition. When Bezos talks about serving the customer, it’s as if he were articulating his purpose in life. With Amazon’s patented 1-Click shopping, which already knows your address and credit-card information, there’s just you and the BUY button; transactions are as quick and thoughtless as scratching an itch. If you pay seventy-nine dollars annually to become an Amazon Prime member, a box with the Amazon smile appears at your door two days after you click, with free shipping.
In December, the company patented “anticipatory shipping,” which will use your shopping data to put items that you don’t yet know you want to buy, but will soon enough, on a truck or in a warehouse near you.
For years, Amazon fought furiously against paying sales taxes in states where it had no warehouses (and even where it did). California and other states, under pressure from retailers complaining about Amazon’s unfair advantage, passed online-sales-tax laws.
Amazon, with fulfillment centers across the country, favors a national online-sales-tax policy, perhaps because smaller online rivals would find it overwhelming to navigate all the tax jurisdictions across the country.
You don’t have to think about how much the cashier, with her wrist in a splint, makes per hour. The Internet’s invisibility shields Amazon from some of the criticism directed at its archrival Walmart, with its all-too-human superstores. Online commerce allows even conscientious consumers to forget that other people are involved. Amazon employs or subcontracts tens of thousands of warehouse workers, with seasonal variation, often building its fulfillment centers in areas with high unemployment and low wages.
Accounts from inside the centers describe the work of picking, boxing, and shipping books and dog food and beard trimmers as a high-tech version of the dehumanized factory floor satirized in Chaplin’s “Modern Times.” Pickers holding computerized handsets are perpetually timed and measured as they fast-walk up to eleven miles per shift around a million-square-foot warehouse, expected to collect orders in as little as thirty-three seconds.



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