Friday, November 23, 2012

Winter Camp 2012

Summer Camp was so much fun, we decided to have a one-day winter camp while the kids were out of school this week.  Stephanie led the activities, with a "Silver Bells" theme to fit with the theme for the town of Seward's holiday events this year.  That's in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Seward Christmas ornament, which is designed by a Sewardian every year (I may have made up that word, but I like it.) and crafted in pewter in a limited edition of 200.  I have one for nearly every year we've lived in Seward.

So, our Winter Camp activities centered around Silver Bells today.  The kids made bells, ate bell-shaped candies and decorated bell-shaped sugar cookies, and read a story about an old lady who swallowed a bell--and many other unusual items as well.

Thanks to all the families whose children participate in our camps.  We love getting to know your children and appreciate the opportunity to do so.  Here are a few photos from today's activities.  There aren't a lot of smiles--I think everyone was concentrating too hard when I took the photos to smile.  But, it seemed that everyone had fun!

Also, thanks to Molly and Cara for providing extra hands to help with today's activities.  We appreciate your help!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Kobo eReaders at Chapters

Ever heard of a Kobo e-reader?

I hadn't either, until the American Booksellers Association announced an agreement with Kobo to make it possible for small, independent bookstores such as Chapters to begin selling their devices in our stores.  Kobo is used extensively in Europe and is very similar to that other device that shall remain nameless that only allows you to purchase your e-books from one source.

We'll offer two Kobo e-readers, the Kobo mini, which retails for $79.99, and the Kobo glo, which retails for $129.99.  We'll also have cases and accessories for your Kobo.  Stop by the store and test our demo model.  With the glo, you'll have a lighted touch screen, a variety of text sizes and fonts to choose from, and even sudoku and chess games and a web browser.  You can use the Kobo if you have a wireless network, or connect to a computer and download your books that way.  Cheryl and I have been playing with it.  Even Cheryl, who isn't a fan of technology, admitted that she could get used to it.

With Kobo and Chapters, you'll have access to nearly 3 million eBooks, including 1 million free titles.  At Kobo, you can read your eBooks on any open device, such as your phone, laptop, or ipad, by downloading the free Kobo app.

If you're considering purchasing an e-reader for yourself or as a gift this Christmas, please stop by Chapters and see if the Kobo meets your needs.  You'd be keeping your money local AND getting a good product.

To browse the Kobo store and set up an account--you can buy your eBooks from Chapters to read on your laptop or phone, even if you don't buy the reader itself--click on the link here.Chapters' Kobo Store

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thanks to everyone who participated in our reading-related events last week. 

I haven't heard yet whether we helped Jumpstart set a new world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day, or whether we just had a fun day of reading Ladybug Girl with friends on Read for the Record Day.  Either way, those who read with a child that day (or any day!) made a difference in that child's life, which is what really matters.

Thanks to Davisson Furniture Center for the use of the comfy chair and to the St. John CDC for the fun ladybug craft kit.  Here are a few photos from the event. 
I wasn't able to be there, but Cheryl said the Reading Invasion on the Courthouse lawn was a hit.  Sounds like everyone had fun visiting with other readers and even read a few pages.  It was a good reminder during Banned Books Week that we shouldn't take our "freadom" to read for granted.  It was a beautiful day to be outdoors, too.  We have to take advantage of those this time of year!  Watch for the Friends of the Seward Library and Chapters to host more reading invasions in the future.

I missed both of those events because I was in Minneapolis for the Heartland Fall Forum, sponsored by the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association.  I attended educational sessions, had breakfast with four fantastic children's and YA authors, and browsed the exhibit hall for ideas.  I picked up a few autographed books which we'll use as prizes during the coming weeks and a few ideas that will help Chapters meet our customers' needs in exciting new ways.

The biggest news from the Fall Forum is that independent bookstores will soon be able to provide our customers with e-reading devices and e-books.  By about November 1, you'll be able to purchase a Kobo Mini or Kobo Glo e-reader at Chapters.  Our online store already makes e-books available for reading on a variety of devices, but soon you'll be able to purchase them for your Kobo and support both a local business and your desire to read books electronically at the same time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Read for the Record and Reading Invasion and Books

We're gearing up for another event-filled week to start October, and my stack of books that I want to read right now is getting taller!  JK Rowling's first book since Harry Potter, Casual Vacancy, went on sale at 6 a.m. yesterday, and I haven't had time to open it yet.  The other book I can't wait to read is Lois Lowry's companion to The Giver, one of my top three all-time favorite books.  Son goes on sale October 2.  Maybe on the way to Minneapolis next week for the Heartland Fall Forum, hosted by the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, I'll have some reading time.

Meanwhile, instead of spending my days at the store reading as my kids accuse me of doing, I'm filling boxes with books for a bookfair at St. Vincent de Paul School.  So far we have 21 boxes ready to go!  That bookfair will be October 6-16 and coincides with the Seward County Bridges' Family Night event Oct. 16, featuring author Jim Aylesworth.  It's exciting to have such a big name author in town!

Now that the boxes are mostly ready to go, I'm focusing on next week, which is Banned Books Week.  Check out the list of the most frequently challenged books of 2011 and previous years here.

We're celebrating our "freadom" to read in Seward by working with the Friends of the Seward Library to sponsor Seward's first ever "Reading Invasion."  Pull up a blanket or lawn chair to read together for a half hour on October 3 from 5:00-5:30 on the Seward County Courthouse lawn.  All you need is a book--a banned book, maybe--and a chair.  We're hoping that we have enough readers to cover the courthouse lawn.  Cheryl is closing Chapters at 5:00 so she can go.

October 4 is Jumpstart's annual "Read for the Record" day.  Bring your favorite child(ren) to Chapters anytime from 9 am-5 pm October 4, and read together in our big comfy chair (courtesy of Davisson's Furniture) to be counted for the world record-breaking effort to get as many people as possible reading the same book on the same day all across the world.  You'll receive a photo of yourselves reading, a FREE ladybug craft kit (courtesy of St. John CDC), and other fun items--and you'll be sharing the joy of reading with a child you love.  To learn more about Jumpstart or to make a donation, click on this link.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Live Streaming

I just put a link on our website for the live streaming video of tomorrow's Local Authors' Event.  Click here, and this link will also take you there.

Link to Live Streamed Video

If you watch it, let us know what you think!

Busy week!

What an exciting week it's been in Seward!  On top of Seward High's Homecoming (did you see what the freshmen did to our windows?) and Dish Network's decision to drop Big Ten Network and reinstate it just in time for today's game, there were thousands of kids in town yesterday to hear the authors who were participating in the Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival at Concordia.  We were thrilled that Clare Vanderpool, Ted Scheu (rhymes with "poetry guy"), and Gary Schmidt were able to stop by the store and sign books while they were in town.  Clare has a great story about the call from the Newbery committee notifying her that Moon over Manifest was the winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal!

Now we're ready for writers, aspiring writers, and friends from the Seward area to continue the excitement through tomorrow's Local Authors' Event here at the store.  The event is from 1:00-3:00 p.m. and features a panel discussion of the business aspects of a writing career.  The panel will convene about 1:30, with time for networking and refreshments before and after.  See blog entries from the past few days for details.  Hope to see you here!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dennis Kahl video

Here's another video preview for our Local Authors' Event, which is this coming Sunday, September 23, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Chapters.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Upcoming Local Authors Event

I'm learning a lot about technology this week!  Dennis Kahl gave me a tutorial on shooting and uploading video to our blog and facebook page.  You, too, can learn these skills if you come to our Local Authors' Event Sunday, September 23 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  Dennis will be there, streaming the event live for those who can't make it in person.

Other panelists who will be sharing their expertise on ways to market and promote yourself and your work include Connie Reimers-Hild and her husband Jim Hild.  Here's a preview of Connie talking about the event.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Business of Writing

Here's a video of Victorine Lieske, one of our panelists, introducing our upcoming Local Authors' Event.

This is Vicki at the Seward County Business Fair in 2011, talking about her writing career.  At our Local Authors' Event, she'll be talking about her success with e-books.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival

See yesterday's post for information about our annual Local Authors' Event, which is coming up September 23 at 1:00 p.m.

That same weekend, September 20-22, is Concordia's Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival.  Every year, the Festival brings well-known authors and illustrators of children's books to Seward.  I think our local kids have been spoiled by the opportunity to interact with "real" authors every year!  I still remember the first time I met a published author--it was Nancy Carlson, and I was a teacher in the Lincoln Public Schools.  Thanks to the Festival (and to Chapters, of course, since we've brought several authors to town over the last eight years, including Nancy Carlson), our kids don't have to wait till they're grown up to meet the creators of their favorite books.

This year's featured guests at the Festival are:
  • David Wiesner
  • Clare Vanderpool
  • Gary D. Schmidt
  • Andrea Pinkney
  • Jarrett Krosoczka
  • Ted Scheu
  • Tom Lichtenheld
  • R. W. & Zoe Alley
Read about the featured authors and illustrators and the Festival schedule at

While Chapters is not a host of the Festival and not involved in book sales at the event, we do have books by the featured authors and illustrators at the store.  Purchase your books at Chapters before September 19, and we'll have them signed for you while the authors are in town.  We're grateful to Vikki and the Festival committee for making it possible for us to have books signed for our customers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Events

It's September, and that means time for two big events at Chapters, our annual Local Authors' Event and Concordia's Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival.

This year's event for local authors focuses on the business aspects of writing--working with publishers, creating e-books, marketing yourself and your book, self publishing, paying your taxes, and other related questions our area writers may bring to the discussion.  A panel of experts, many of whom are familiar faces from previous events at Chapters and at area writers' groups, will share their advice and answer questions from attendees.  We're hoping one of these experts, Dennis Kahl of the Seward County Extension Office, will also help stream the panel discussion live for those who are unable to attend the event in person.

So far, our panel includes:
  • Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, author, entrepreneur, and academic.  Dr. Reimers-Hild is an Extension Educator in Innovation at the UNL Kimmel Education and Research Center in Nebraska City.  Learn more about her at
  • James Hild, author and Facebook guru, who will share his social media expertise, providing useful information about promoting yourself and your work.
  • Dennis Kahl, Seward County Extension agent, will also share his expertise in using facebook, twitter, YouTube, and other tools for marketing.  Dennis plans to stream the panel discussion live for those who are unable to attend in person.
  • Victorine Lieske, New York Times Bestselling author, will talk about self publishing and her success selling e-book versions of her books. 
  • James Reisdorff, owner of South Platte Publishing, will share his experience as a publisher and answer questions about the publisher-author relationship.
  • Annette Snyder, author, will discuss her experience with Whiskey Creek Press and ways she markets herself and her books, both through the press and independently.
  •  Laz Flores and Kathy Prevo, Revenue Educators with the Nebraska Department of Revenue, who will talk about taxes, specifically sales tax, and when and how to collect and report it.
Anyone who writes for adults or children, both published and aspiring, is invited to this event.  Friends and family are also welcome.  The event will be Sunday, September 23, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Chapters Books & Gifts.  We hope to see you then!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's been a busy summer at Chapters!  In the past two weeks, we've hosted four events--and that's not counting this coming Friday's appearance by Tacky the Penguin at the Seward County Fair or the August 16 event in David City with Shon Hopwood.

After a fun storytime with Nancy Carlson (see previous entries about Nancy's visit), we sold books at a Ted Kooser workshop and had the pleasure of meeting aspiring writers from Nebraska, Kansas City, and even Wisconsin at that event.  

The following day, we hosted Lincoln resident and newly- published mystery writer Joy Castro at the store.  Joy's first mystery-thriller, Hell or High Water, is set in New Orleans and features a spunky, realistically-flawed main character named Nola who is a reporter researching a story on sexual predators who disappeared in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  It's a compelling story that will keep you hoping Nola doesn't get herself into any dangers she can't get  out of.  Joy made everyone thoroughly comfortable as we spent the afternoon with her.  I'm hoping for future opportunities to get to know her better.  Wesleyan President Fred Ohles, who worked with Joy in Indiana, attended the event, and it was nice to see him, too.

We still have a couple of autographed copies of Hell or High Water at Chapters, so stop in soon before they're all gone.

Then, on July 31, the Where's Waldo in Seward Grand Celebration and Prize Drawing brought excitement and fun to Chapters.  Waldo himself made an appearance to help a group of kids find him in his books, enjoy red and white cookies and kabobs in his honor, play "Pin the Glasses on Waldo"--a poster of him, of course--and make binoculars to help them see him more clearly.  To cap the month-long promotion, Waldo drew the names of 28 lucky winners, including Grand Prize winner Hannah Kolterman, who won $100 in Seward Bucks in our drawing.  See all the winners' names at the Where's Waldo in Seward website.  And thank Cameron Pfeiffer and Kyle Rojewski if you can find them for playing Waldo throughout Seward in July.  See more photos of Waldo on Chapters' facebook page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One of my favorite fringe benefits of owning a bookstore is spending time with authors.  We had a fabulous visit with author/illustrator Nancy Carlson this morning.  Nancy is the first "real" author I ever heard speak, in about 1988 when I was teaching in Lincoln.  Nancy was in Seward on that trip to Nebraska, too.  I still have an autographed copy of I Like Me!" from that visit, and hearing her read it again today was a treat.  I read it so many times to my classes and my own kids that I could have almost recited it with her.

I had the honor of having lunch with Nancy, too.  She told me about her travels over the years, including a trip to Saudi Arabia to talk about her books.  What an experience!  Hopefully, now she can fondly tell others about her stay at the Liberty House Bed & Breakfast here in Seward.  It's not as exotic as Saudi Arabia, but still a change from her home in Minneapolis.

We're glad that the group from St. John's CDC was able to join us for this fun storytime and drawing lesson with Nancy.  Thanks to everyone else who attended, too.  If you weren't able to make it this morning, stop by the store to see the picture of Harriet that Nancy drew for us.  Harriet is the golden retriever hero of Nancy's books.  Anyone who likes goldens has to be a good person.

I've posted more photos from this morning's storytime on our facebook page, and we do have a few signed books remaining.  

Thanks, Nancy Carlson for a fun morning, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week in Nebraska.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We had great fun at our summer camp last week.  Our theme for the week was "WE LOVE BOOKS," and we showed that love by reading and writing books, creating and learning things from books, even making things out of books--with a strong warning NOT to do this at home without permission!

Here are a few photos highlighting events and special guests from the week.  If you'd like to see all photos from the week, visit us on facebook.  To print photos, send me an email, and I'll share the picasa web album with you.

Thanks to all who participated.  Camp is one of our favorite weeks of the year, because we get to know so many wonderful kids and their families.  Also thanks to Cheryl and Stephanie for running camp activities and keeping the store open at the same time, and to our volunteer helpers, Hailey and Molly Newburn, Megan Runyan, and Emma Orwen.  You're all wonderful!

 Terese Svoboda, author of Bohemian Girl, kicked off our summer events with a signing and reading in early June.  Bohemian Girl is set in Nebraska in 1861.  It's not a pretty story of life on the prairie, but it's an intriguing one with characters you'll care about and a storyline full of adventure.

 Dr. Jason Summa also visited Chapters, and he read his favorite book to read to his own kids, Good Night, Good Knight, to a rapt audience.  After Dr. Summa read to the group, all the kids made posters advertising their own favorites.  You may have seen them in our windows and aisles last week!

Tim and Grace worked hard on their posters!
 On Tuesday, Seward's own Charlie Volnek, author of Bethany's favorite book, Horse Called Trouble, talked to our group about writing books and how to think of ideas.  Then, the kids wrote their own books, which they shared with the group.

 Tara found a quiet place to write--in the closet.
 Xander worked hard on a book about stormchasers.
Eating "s'more books" was as much fun as reading and writing books!

In the afternoon, Anna Meyer, who creates the blank journals we sell at Chapters, gave a lesson on book binding.  We each made a book and learned how "real" books are assembled.
 Wednesday, we cooked and created, finding inspiration in books!  Like the little red hen who baked a pizza, we baked pizzas, too.  And in the afternoon, we made book bags out of blue jeans.

 Thursday's camp was all about the things we can learn from books, such as how to make balloon animals, Lego creations, paper airplanes, microwave oatmeal bars, and much more.  Isabelle made "finger friends," and Molly helped our campers make balloon animals, while Jordan made a telescope for space exploration.

 And, finally, on Friday, we made things OUT OF books.  It pained us to do it, but we cut off the covers, tore out the pages, and folded, duct taped, and stapled discarded books into amazing new creations.  Doesn't Martin look pleased with his book creation?  Mackenzie and Tessa concentrated very hard on their projects, as did all the campers.  Stephanie's "wordy birds" and "thinking caps" were a big hit, too.

 Where's Waldo?
He was at Chapters last week, and he's right here in Seward in July!
Find him at 21 businesses around town and win great prizes!
for details.