Bookmarks Magazine Adds Digital Issues

I have been a Bookmarks Magazine subscriber for many years. They have recently broken out of the print-only model and now offer a print + digital subscription as well as a digital-only subscription. While it’s been fun collecting all of the magazines and passing them around with friends, I’ve really appreciated the ability to cut/paste books to my TBR and ‘To Buy’ lists.

Since starting in 2002, each issue has included a few fun features like book clubs that write in as well as quirky categories that only super-passionate book folks could come up with (think something like Have You Read ’18th-century time travel novels that have cats’ kind of a thing). Like I said, lots of fun.

They also do some straight-up features on categories and authors, as well as a trend piece here or there. Nothing fancy or thought-provoking, but always enjoyable reads from fellow book lovers who often add books to your list.

But I always enjoy the New Books Guide in each issue. Basically, they tally reviews from dozens of sources and average out the rating on a five-point system. Then, they pepper in a handful of sentences from the most positive reviews as well as a handful of sentences from the most negative reviews.

It’s fun to see math play out by categories, authors, etc., and to see which outlets pop up here and there.

If you’re not interested in subscribing, you can pick up Bookmarks Magazine at most Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million stores. I am sure many indie stores carry issues, too. While those print copies are fun to flip through, the functionality of each digital issue is winning me over.

Leopold’s Books Bar Caffé

Leopold’s Books Bar Caffé is one of the coolest and quirkiest shops I’ve visited. I loved it! It is such an original space and felt instantly comfortable and browsable. As soon as you walk in you have a choice of walking ahead to the full bar spanning the back wall or turning right and face a living room sized area wonderfully filled with books! Leopold’s Books Bar Caffé sells new books only, but they are so smartly organized… by country… and all of the fiction and non-fiction are mixed together. Blasphemy you say! Wait it gets better…

So you there you are staring at a small sign declaring the shelf to be Argentina. Spine out you can see fiction about Argentina or non-fiction about Argentina or books authored by Argentinians. Then on the shelf next to it are bottles of wine and spirits from Argentina. It’s brilliant!

Look at Japan or Greece and you’ll find the same set up and pairings. The curation and title selection is so well done. It is fun to browse (you actually feel like you are exploring) and it attracts a fun crowd, being near a university. Anyway, here are a few photos from my visit. Parking can be tough, but it’s a fun spot to check out if you have a sliver of time to kill.

Leopold’s Books Bar Caffé
(608) 256-7709
Bookstore Hours are different from the bar hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10AM-MIDNIGHT
Saturday, Sunday: 10AM-MIDNIGHT


Since the fall of Twitter I have struggled to find a place to share links and online articles that I find interesting. So I am now creating small ”link round up” posts and sharing here. Hope this ongoing series or posts surface some interesting news & thoughts for you.

Amazon is massive (that’s the kind of insightful breaking news you get here). But it is so stinking big that they have to automate many of their systems. If you did like many people have done and opted for a cheaper ad-supported kindle, be aware that ads for AI generate books are now in the mix. What a weird time to be selling books.

Here one of the most “fact of the matter” interesting take (or takedown?) on #BookTok and all of its influence. It’s worth a read. “BookTok isn’t actually a community driven by fans, writers, influencers, or even publishers. All of those people are merely a smokescreen.”

This last one is not an article but a 20-page report from the National Endowment of the Arts. It is titled Arts Participation Patterns in 2022: Highlights from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and drops data facts such as, in 2022, only 40 percent of American men read books only 57 percent of women did. Both of these numbers are down from previous years. So now that we know this… why is it so and what do we do about it?

Book Event: Paul Beatty in Tuscaloosa

Paul Beatty, Booker Prize winner and author of The Sellout, is speaking and signing books tonight at the Dinah Washington Cultural Art Center. The event runs 7pm-8pm. This is one local author appearance I wish I’d known about earlier. Beatty is here as the final guest speaker in The University of Alabama’s Creative Writing Program Visiting Writer Series.

Paul Beatty book The Sellout

While it’s tough to get away on weekday nights, this is one author appearance that is worth the drive.

Books, Publishing and Birmingham