Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coping with Our Disease Crisis

• Concerns over the rapid spread of COVID-19 are leading to more event cancellations or postponements. The Mystery Writers of America announced that there will be no Edgar Awards Mystery Week this year; it had been scheduled to take place in late April. This means, in part, that there will be a delay in the presentation of the 2020 Edgar Awards (all of the nominees are here). The MWA says: “We still plan on celebrating the achievements of our finalists and announcing the winners; how we will do that is currently under discussion. We also still intend to publish this year’s Edgar annual.”

• Meanwhile, the organizers of Mystery Fest Key West sent around a notice yesterday, explaining that the convention—scheduled for June 28-30—has been postponed “until early next year.” Mystery Fest co-founder Shirrel Rhoades adds that “The annual Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition will continue as usual this year. However, the award presentations will be by notice, rather than during the Mystery Fest.” Submissions to that contest (soliciting “the first three pages of a finished, never-before-published mystery novel”) are due by April 15, and should be sent to

• Also rescheduled: The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, now set to take place in the Chicago suburb of Lombard from September 11 to 13. In a Facebook note, writer-editor Ron Fortier notes that “this year’s Pulp Factory Awards winner will be announced via a special video and press release. Once the actual awards have been made and addresses for the winners obtained, regular hosts Ron Fortier and Rob Davis will do a short video announcing the winners of each of the five categories. At that same time, the actual awards will then be mailed out to each recipient.”

• And In Reference to Murder brings us a discouragingly long list of international film festivals and TV crime/thriller productions that have been shut down by this novel coronavirus. “[T]here's no telling when or if these shows will be going forward,” writes B.V. Lawson.

• Our current contagion scare is adversely affecting struggling independent bookshops, including the one at which I work part-time in one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods. Beginning today, that small retailer will serve customers at the front door and via local deliveries, but people will be asked not to come inside and browse—eliminating of the most enjoyable parts of visiting a bookshop. Other stores have closed temporarily, or have found creative ways to get their wares to customers, such as delivering even-more-needed-now-than-usual reading material via skateboards and bicycles. Josh Cook from Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers advice here on ways to support indie stores during this trying time. And Literary Hub editor-in-chief Jonny Diamond reminds us that if there isn’t an indie in your area to support, it’s always possible to “order from, a great—and important—alternative to Amazon that shares proceeds of every sale with small, independent stores, and is a much-needed affiliate revenue stream for anyone who covers books online. You can also use to find your nearest indie, and if you like audiobooks, (same people behind BookstoreLink) are offering two-for-one deals if you use the code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW (and 100 percent of the money goes to the store!).”

• declared this morning that it will now “give more money to [independent] stores in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on small businesses,” increasing its “bookstore partners’ affiliate share to 30 percent for every sale they refer to the site. The other 70 percent goes to operating costs like fulfillment, fees, and paying publishers.”

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

1 comment:

Rick Robinson said...

FYI, Powell's Bookstore in Portland, OR has shut it's doors for the nonce. It's still up for online sales, of course.