Southern California Events discussion

How Can We Improve Our Swaps?

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message 1: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 17, 2009 12:59PM) (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
We'd like to make these events even better.

So far, we think that it would be a good idea to include better signage for the swap and also post swap guidelines in a place where people can easily read them. Any other ideas?

message 2: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie (bonlth) | 1 comments I have an idea for future swaps. To make it more interactive, there could be a stage or open mic corner where people could recommend or review a recent book they read. I was at the Book Soup swap (which was great) and took a book home because a stranger saw me looking at it and she raved about it. I was thinking how nice it would be to know what other people's opinions of the books on the tables might be.
Another idea could be to have a discussion theme at each book swap, like best sci-fi books, best recent nonfiction, best books by young authors, etc. People can come with their opinions and discuss.
For those who want more interaction, this might break the ice. Just some thoughts...

message 3: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments For the Vroman's swap, signage will be important. I'm assuming you plan to use the outdoor plaza area at Vroman's, like you did at Book Soup? If so, you will want signs to guide people both from the street and the parking lot. Also, there's not a huge amount of parking at Vroman's. For people using public transportation, Vroman's is about six blocks from a Gold Line station, and several buses run right in front of the store.
Also, I really like Bonnie's ideas for events to go with the swap. There's an area inside the Vroman's store that would work for readings or "open mike" reviews, if they think it's workable. The area where they do author readings, upstairs, is really nice.
Or, depending on which part of the area is used for the swap, there might be a place outdoors, between the bookstore and the Laemmle theater.
The Vroman's store is in an area that has had new and used bookstores for many years, so we may have a lot of newcomers. Guidelines for the swap would be good, and finding a way to post them at Vroman's ahead of time would probably draw in a lot of new people. Would they put it in their publicity?
I guess after attending the one at Book Soup, my real question is: is the swap mainly for Goodreads "regulars" or is it supposed to be bring in lots of the general public?

message 4: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 18, 2009 11:02AM) (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi Everyone,
These are really great ideas Bonnie and Nick, thanks so much for the feedback. I understand the desire for more interaction and mingling.

So, far I've noticed that each swap has had a very different feel, mostly due to the location. Book Soup's layout was not the most ideal because the swap tables were strung around the the building. At Equator Books and the Mar Vista library in Venice there was more interaction becaus the tables were consolidated in one place.

In terms of who these swaps are designed for, they are designed for Goodreads members. Also, they are a way to give back to other organizations that support and promote reading (libraries, bookstores, etc.). Also, the extra books at the end of the swap are donated, usually to libraries that sell the books to fund there programs.

The main goal of these swaps is not to recruit new members, but if someone new sees the swap, they should be able to figure out what organization it is associated with--hence the need for some signage!

message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinlf) | 4 comments Having been to both the Mar Vista and Book Soup swaps, I think layout is really important. The Mar Vista swap was great because there was plenty of room to browse and mingle. Book Soup was less successful for me because the space was so tight. I couldn't even get to the tables for the crowds and only ended up with two books. So, I vote for locations that have lots of open space for future swaps.

I like the idea of discussions or an open mic. Something to get everyone talking to each other.

These are great events and I really enjoy attending. Thanks so much for organizing them!

message 6: by MVG (new)

MVG | 2 comments love the idea of an open mic with a sign up sheet where we would enter book and reader. you would probably need someone to manage it to keep the "announcements" short and perhaps help by interviewing them about it. If you do it in Long Beach, I'll be your MC!! Never been to this before but i have a rubbermaid brimming with books to share (ranging from Omnivore's Dilima to the Kite Runner to The Shack). Do you include a children's book section? I've got two muchkins who would love to do some swapping. Keep up the good work!

message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
All of this is really helpful. Thanks everyone!

message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I think Erin makes an excellent point about having the space to browse and mingle. I was not at Book Soup but was a Mar Vista Library. I loved how all the books were singly displayed and you could browse and mingle very comfortably.

message 9: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi Diane,
Yes, we've thought a lot about that as well. The Vroman's swap will hopefully have more room to browse and mingle comfortably. We are also looking at doing another swap in a library very soon.

message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 3 comments I'm sure these questions have been answered somewhere already, but I'm not quite sure where to look: I haven't been to one of these book swaps before, and am hoping to attend the one at Vroman's. How do these work? Do we bring multiple books to swap? Do they have to be recently published books? I'm just looking for any guidelines. Thank you.

message 11: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi Daniel, please look at the general swap guidelines topic. Cheers, E

message 12: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 3 comments Got it, Elizabeth. Thank you!

message 13: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments I noticed that that swap is in Pasadena, but that the books left at the end of the day will be donated to a group benefiting Los Angeles Public Library and to a charity in Santa Monica. It's not a big deal, but it seems to me that it would be better public relations if you included a group local to the swap, in the future.

message 14: by Elizabeth (last edited Oct 07, 2009 10:36AM) (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi Nick,
We agree. Fortunately, the Library Foundation supports libraries all over Los Angeles County. We did contact the Pasadena public library about taking the books. (I remember that you work there as well). When we called they told us that they closed at 6:00 p.m. on Sat. and no one would be able to come and pick up the books. Due to inventory issues, we need the books to be taken away immediately after the swap. Upward Bound and the Library Foundation were able to do that. If you have a solution, we're perfectly willing to donate a portion of the books to the Pasadena Library. Message me directly and we can talk further.

message 15: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinlf) | 4 comments Just wanted to say that I thought today's swap at Vroman's was the best yet. Great location, very good attendance and a little more conversation amongst members than I've seen previously. Thank you, GoodReads!! I had a wonderful time.

message 16: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 3 comments I too had a good time and was glad to see some of my books go to new readers. Thanks for organizing it! I'm looking forward to the next one.

message 17: by Arlene (new)

Arlene (arlenes) I agree. Today's event was well attended, had lots to choose from and the location was great. Thanks for organizing this event.

message 18: by Willa (new)

Willa Guadalupe Grant I enjoyed todays swap OK but it was really crowded around the tables & I would like to see one indoors where it is cool.

message 19: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi guys,
I'm glad people seemed to like this one. My own thoughts on the swap were that it could probably have benefited from music (we did have a DJ at the previous swap), but otherwise the event seemed to go smoothly.

Willa: The first two swaps were indoors and I imagine that we will continue to have a mixture of indoor and outdoor swaps--it all depends on the venues' capabilities!

message 20: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments The DJ at the Book Soup event was one of the obstacles to people talking. If there is music at the swaps, I think the volume needs to be low enough to allow communication.
If you plan far enough in advance, there are plenty of musicians who also love books that you might be able to get live performers, which would be more interesting. With the DJ, it felt like we were being urged to dance while waiting for our tacos.

message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Okay Nick, fair point. We'll try to take that into consideration too!

message 22: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments An idea struck me, after going to the West Hollywood Book Fair a couple of weeks ago. A stage for poetry or author readings at the event could be interesting, depending on the location. I think it would be worth trying, anyway. Or, as I mentioned, live musicians. In southern California, we're hip deep in those...last week the Taste of Encino event had everything from Bluegrass to Taiko drumming to Morris dancers.

message 23: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinlf) | 4 comments Not about the swaps, but about the pub crawl last night...

This was such a great idea and I hope GoodReads will sponsor another crawl in the future. I would definitely attend. The bummer about this one was that after driving all the way out to Silverlake, we got upstairs and discovered there wasn't enough space in the room and we could neither hear or see the authors reading. I was very disappointed, because that was the part of the evening I was particularly excited about. Hopefully next time the readings will take place in a larger space. There were a bunch of us stuck out by the staircase who couldn't hear.

Also, I think there's got to be a better way to get people meeting and mingling at these things. It would be fun to get to know other local readers, but this doesn't seem to happen much at events. Thoughts?

message 24: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi Erin,

Thanks so much for the feedback. Actually Charles (of Book Soup) and I were talking on Saturday (at the crawl) about how we could improve a future pub crawl as well. There were definitely several things that could be better. I was shocked by how many people showed up, which was good thing, but obviously too many for the venue. It's tricky with these online event "evites." We're never sure how many people will actually show up. There are so many factors: blogs, press, re-tweets, etc. For example, I went to the L.A. Opera's sample sale of extra costumes at their warehouse and they event had been blogged about and re-tweeted so many times that I waited 2 hours to get in before giving up entirely. I think when I left, there were still 100 people before me in line.

I think that we think some more about how to be prepared for this. Maybe we find a huge space, or only invite a small group of members, such as the Southern California Events group (and hope that it isn't re-tweeted too much).

One thing we thought could do to encourage people to mingle more would be to give people at the crawl some sort of sticker to wear or something to signify that you are part of the pub crawl. When I was at the various venues on Saturday I wasn't sure who was part of the crawl and who was not. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not the greatest at approaching strangers. Do you have any ideas? We're open to anything...and we do want to try a few more crawls.


message 25: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) This is just an idea...not sure if it's a good one or not but how about a book store crawl?

message 26: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments It could work. Ideally, you would want at least two bookstores in close proximity, with others not too far away. In Pasadena, one such cluster would include Vroman's, Cliff's and the antique mall at the Paseo, which includes a mid-sized bookstore. A few more blocks of walking would allow you to include Book Alley and Alexandria II to the east, or Distant Lands to the west. This particular book store crawl has the advantage of some nice coffee houses along the way, as well as good restaurants.

There used to be another cluster of small bookstores in Pasadena, but I think at least one of them closed. That cluster had a cookbook store, one or two fiction stores and a religious book store all in the same block. I'll have to check and see what's still there.

Can anyone identify other bookstore clusters in their area?

message 27: by Suneeti (new)

Suneeti fun idea. there are a couple art-focused bookstores (hennessy+ingalls and aracana) near 3rd street promenade in santa monica, with the standard barnes and noble as well. i think also a couple on abbott kinney in venice (did equator close?).

message 28: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Nick -- bookstore clusters with coffe shops sounds really nice! I am familiar with a few in the Westwood area (near UCLA). There is a big Borders on Westwood Blvd. and The Mystery Bookstore on Broxton. There is also a Barnes & Noble on Westwood. None of them are walking distance though, so your location sounds better than mine. I'll keep my eyes open.

message 29: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments I took a closer look and realized there's even a really cool graphic novel shop, Comics Factory, in the same block as Book Alley. It depends on how far people want to walk, as it's several blocks from those two to the main cluster...6 or 7 blocks, but that walk takes you past several good eating places.
This could be a cool project. Why don't each of us try to find a group of bookstores that could work, and we can plan from there. If Suneeti could check further into the Santa Monica situation, that would be great.

message 30: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I'm excited that this may take off !

Nick, I live in Marina Del Rey so I will check out that area out as well.

So far, I still like your locale...the 6-7 blocks sounds good to me!

message 31: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments And in case anyone thinks I never leave Pasadena, I found a nice cluster of bookstores in Glendale. Two good used bookstores [Brand Bookshop and Mystery & Imagination Bookshop:] within walking distance of both a Borders and a Barnes & Noble, on Brand Blvd, which has some really wonderful restaurants. That's another area that would make for a good bookstore crawl.

message 32: by Jo Anne (new)

Jo Anne | 1 comments Nick--just to add an idea to your Pasadena bookstore crawl--we could hop on the gold line to mission street in South Pas and hit the mystery bookstore there...

message 33: by Swantje (new)

Swantje (swan4) | 4 comments Nick wrote: "I took a closer look and realized there's even a really cool graphic novel shop, Comics Factory, in the same block as Book Alley. It depends on how far people want to walk, as it's several blocks f..."

And just beyond the Comics Factory, around the corner, is the Hill Avenue Branch of the Pasadena Public Library. They have a bookcase full of books for 10c each, with varying subjects depending on what is withdrawn etc.

message 34: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments Yes, the Hill Ave. branch is very close to Comics Factory and Book Alley, and they have a small book sale area.
Alternatively, if we did this on the 2nd Saturday of some month, there is the much bigger Friends of the Library monthly book sale at the Pasadena Central Library which is really cool. From 9 am to noon on the 2nd Saturday, the Friends put out a whole patio of books to peruse and buy, really cheap. If we started the crawl there, the other places are all either longish walking distance or very short drive/bus trips.

message 35: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I would think the second Saturday of a month is a great idea given the Library sale, Nick. Maybe we can pick May, after the Festival of Books? I checked Marina Del Rey, and I still think your Pasadena Crawl sounds like the best location.

message 36: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments I think it's up to Elizabeth to make this an official Goodreads event. If it works out, I would be happy to make a list of places to go on the crawl, with addresses, directions, etc. for book places as well as food and coffee places along the way.
Saturday, May 8th would be the date Diane suggested, and we could find out if Vroman's is doing an author talk that day.
Also, there's pretty good public transit in the area we're talking about. Pasadena Central Library is close to the Gold Line, so people wouldn't necessarily have to drive. I could include that info as well, as I use the trains and buses all the time.

message 37: by Diane (last edited Mar 01, 2010 08:20PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hi Nick, absolutely agree that Elizabeth needs to "bless" our thoughts on this event :)
If she does, I love your crawl venue!

message 38: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hey Nick,
I just saw this thread. Ideally, we try to do one swap/crawl per month because we don't want to bombard people with emails. :)
But, I think this is a great idea. Let me chat with the team over here and see what we can do...

message 39: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments Great! May 8th isn't the only date that would work, just the earliest one. The 2nd Saturday of any month would be feasible. The only difference is that on May 8th I could more actively help out, but I'm already tied up on the 2nd Saturdays of June and July.
I can begin compiling addresses of bookstores and eateries as soon as you give the go-ahead.

message 40: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 10 comments Mod
Hey Nick,
One of the things I'm trying to come up with for the site is a platform for people to plan and host their own meetups. These wouldn't be official Goodreads events (there's really a limit on how many of those we can do because of manpower), but we would provide funny "Hello My Name is" type stickers and maybe a few other items of GR-related support.

I was thinking your bookstore crawl idea sounds like a good candidate to be the first ever Goodreads Meetup (at least, the first one that I know of being organized on the site). What do you think? Would you want to try this out for us?

message 41: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Hawk (aflyonthewall) | 7 comments Elizabeth - did you get my message? I sent a suggestion for a possibility in October?

Robyn Hawk

message 42: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments Patrick, your idea sounds like fun, but I want to hear what Elizabeth and the other Goodreads staff think first.

message 43: by rivka (new)

rivka | 32 comments Nick, Patrick IS Goodreads staff.

message 44: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments Sorry, since Elizabeth was the one we were discussing this with, that wasn't clear...and since Elizabeth was the one who said she had to check and get back to us... :-)
Okay, so I'm short of sleep on the first day of Daylight Savings Time. That's my story, anyway.
I was hoping for it to be a more "official" Goodreads event, simply to limit the amount of it that would fall on my shoulders, but if Goodreads wants this to be a test of a new idea, I will try to help as best I can.

message 45: by rivka (new)

rivka | 32 comments Nick wrote: "Sorry, since Elizabeth was the one we were discussing this with, that wasn't clear...and since Elizabeth was the one who said she had to check and get back to us... "

And Patrick is fairly new. :) That's why I thought I'd clarify.

message 46: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hi everyone -- I'm glad this bookcrawl seems to be taking off. Let me know if I can be of any help; although I don't live in Nick's part of the woods where it seems like the best place, I'd be happy to help if you need.

message 47: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 10 comments Mod
Nick, no worries on the mix up. I just sort of jumped into this thread anyway, so I understand the confusion.

I'm still working out the kinks with this, but I envision this being a very important aspect of the site. People all over the world use Goodreads, and it's not going to be possible for our staff to get involved with every event. BUT we still want to make it easy and fun for people who know each other through the site to meet up in person.

Give me a day or two to set up some stuff, and we should be ready to go.

message 48: by Nick (new)

Nick (smithnik) | 45 comments I've been working on things for the Bookstore Crawl here in Pasadena for June 12th, and if we can confirm it, the library will even send out a little publicity to support it. Patrick, if the stickers are ready, I will need some of those, and I will print out the bookstore information and have it on hand at the start point. The current plan is to start at the Friends of the Library Booksale, at the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena 91101. At the Friends sale, people would pick up stickers and "route maps" for the stores. It appears that there is an author signing at Vroman's that afternoon, as well as a poetry reading at one of our branch libraries, so there are two events as well as the crawl itself in the daytime.
Patrick, you had said there might be a platform on the Goodreads site for doing this as a localized meet-up, but I haven't seen any sign of it. Will it be possible to announce it to the whole Southern California list as an event, even if it's not an "official" Goodreads event due to staffing considerations?
Also, I've been told that you're "the" Patrick who used to be at Vroman's, so you know the local book scene. What do you suggest to improve this event?

message 49: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 23 comments Mod
Hi All,
Patrick is taking over on all events-related items at Goodreads, so please pass on your requests to him!

message 50: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 10 comments Mod
Nick wrote: "I've been working on things for the Bookstore Crawl here in Pasadena for June 12th, and if we can confirm it, the library will even send out a little publicity to support it. Patrick, if the sticke..."

The stickers are ready. If you'll send me a PM, I'll send you our mailing address, and you can send us a SASE, and we'll get you some stickers. The platform isn't quite ready yet, but I recommend creating an event. We won't announce it to our entire email list, but it might go out in the newsletter to people in the right zip codes (that's an automated process, so we don't have any editorial control over it).

Lastly, I am "the" Patrick. I don't have too much advice regarding venues (other than Vroman's), but you might want to shoot an email to Vroman's (email at vromansbooksore dot com) letting them know that they are on your stop. They might want to help spread the word about the event. Oh, and you could always try to work in some book-specific locations, such as lunch at Pie and Burger, which is featured in Michelle Huneven's book Blame. Just a thought...

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