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tv   About Books Fomer Rep. Steve Israel D-NY on Opening a New Bookstore  CSPAN  November 28, 2021 7:28pm-8:01pm EST

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to them as such even though they are in some cases one of the big income streams that is popping up. there's a whole other line of questions that have opened up and i wish we could keep talking longer because the book is fascinatingti with ideas of whee we've come from and where we are headed and we could go on the for hours talking about it so i would encourage folks to check it out, news for the rich white and blue is on sale at a bookstore near you. thank you so much for this exchange and for the book.
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>> thank you for chatting with me about it and open market. take care, everyone. on about books, we delve into the latest news about the publishing industry with interesting inside interviews with publishing experts. we will also give updates on current nonfiction authors and books, the latest book reviews and talk about the current nonfiction books featured on c-span booktv. welcome to about books. in this episode we will talk to the former congressman of new york about his opening of the new bookstore and we will also chat with the author about his latest book of political trivia but let's start with this week's publishing news. donald trump is releasing a book
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of photos from his time in office, the book is entitled our journey together and it's being published by a group called winning team publishing which is cofounded by donald trump, junior. it goes on sale december 7th. "the new york times" has released its annual list of the 100 notable books of the year, this year's nonfiction titles include annette gordon reed, the american war in afghanistan, woke racism, maggie nelson freed freedom and the chancellor, a look at angela merkel. those are a few of the books on the notable books of 2021. in other news, the memorial to the late english novelist virginia woolf is being criticized for its planned location. the statue of the novel is seated on a park bench to be positioned overlooking the river. critics argue the suicide by drowning in 1941 is a reason to
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move the memorial to another site. according to the bookscan, book sales were up close to 12% for the week ending november 13th. adult nonfiction sales had another strong week up nearly 7% for the entire year. when a lot of members of congress leave their seat, they often stay in washington and do some lobbying. congressman steve israel who spent 16 years representing long island and washington, d.c. did something completely different. congressman, what did you do? >> i opened up my own little independent bookstore and waterfront and where theodore roosevelt lived and died, everything in oyster bay is
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connected and i decided after 16 years in the house of representatives, it was time to turn the page and start a new chapter. >> you even named your bookstore theodore. >> i am in the bookstore now. we just opened over the past week and across the street from me is the building where theodore roosevelt had his summer executive offices when he was president, down the street is the cemetery where he's buried. if you drive for a mile you will reach the home that he purchased, built, lived and died in. around the corners the drugstore where reporters use to use the payphone. he had his own phone installed but the only telephone and town that's right around the corner from me so the bookstore
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emphasizes history and current affairs is open in the spirit of theodore roosevelt. >> as someone that shared the democratic national campaign committee, was it a tough call to name it after a republican president? >> adjacent to my house i think i can hear him spinning in his grave. this is in the republican party theodore roosevelt would have recognized. oyster bay is a notoriously independent place that evokes bh republicans and democrats and so we have been very careful to curate a selection of about 10,000 or 11,000 books that will satisfy curiosities on both ends of the spectrum. >> what was the biggest hurdle to open this bookstore? >> when i was in congress
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whenever i would travel as the chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee, my staff had instructions to let me know where the local bookstore was so that was my relief. i do some fundraising, meet with candidates, do some press conferences and then find a local bookstore so i always wanted to do this, but market conditions were not right, book stores over the past decade, decade and a half have really been going out of business and so i made a decision that despite the trends, i wanted to give this a shot. they wanted out of their homes, maybe not to go to a shopping mall but go downtown and small bookstores have done okay because people want to feel the
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book again. they want to smell the book and be able to turn the pages, so i waited for conditions to improve. the biggest hurdle in all of that was doing in three months what it usually takes were in six weeks what it takes four months to do at a typical bookstore should take about four months to develop and open. my team and i did this in six weeks because we wanted to take advantage of the holiday market place, so the biggest hurdle was just ordering books and finding the right location and hiring an exceptional team and doing all the things any small business must do to open and be profitable. >> as a small independent bookstore, what is the reception that you got from the publisher? >> i must say i am most surprised by two things, number one, the extraordinary response by publishers, all the major
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publishers have been incredibly supportive and mentor gus. they helped us through the process and made it as easy as they could for us to order the books. books for an opening inventory, pretty tough deal suddenly you have to receive and catalog and shelf thousands of books, so the publishing companies have been very cooperative. people are walking in the store thanking us for opening up the bookstore in the downtown so the combination of the booksellers, the publishers and the book buyers, that response has just been up the charts i have to say. >> who curated the list of 11, 12,000 books that you have in stock? >> that's a great question. a wholesaler and distributor
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helped give us what's called our opening store inventory so we have all sorts of metrics. it's like a political campaign by the way. they figure out what is the media market where you are running in this case, selling books. who are the voters, what is their demographic makeup, who is likely to walk into a bookstore, what is likely to attract them based on local demography and your local market, so they provided us with an opening inventory of about six to 7,000 books and then the rest were curated so my team and i made our own determinations of what's going to sell again and we are about history and current affairs but we also need the bestsellers and that new fiction and new nonfiction so we spent time enhancing that initial inventory, then we are about to
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go through a period of experimentation. what sells and what doesn't and then based on the response, we will modify that initial inventory and continue to expand and improve it so that we are selling books that people want to buy. >> and we are talking with the former congressman a longtime democrat who has just opened a new bookstore in oyster bay new york. how big is your politics section? >> the biggest is the children's section about 40%, and that's where the demand is. i used to say you meet voters where they are. you've got to go to where they are in order to appeal to them, same thing with the bookstore, you've got to meet them where they are.
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we are working on speaker newt gingrich and so most of the author events will be politics and history, current affairs and bestsellers infection and all the other categories that make a small independent bookstore work. >> you have to go back and talk about why you invited newt gingrich to do an offer event. >> we are a relentlessly bipartisan. we are in business to satisfy. to give perspective on the issues that interest them and
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have something in the store that will offend everybody so we had nelson a couple of days ago, just a prolific and wonderful author, and he's fairly conservative and while he was in the store, congressman shift was shopping because he had just done a bookstore and somebody said to me you've done a very good job of having books that will offend just about everybody. there's something i like about that. i am in business to satisfy people's curiosities so it's wing to be broad, deep and balanced. >> the global war on morris and the big government. >> you are talking about two books that i wrote. originally my intention was to sell those two books but the publisher told me there probably
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wouldn't be a very big demand for that. the bad news for me is they were on the discount rack. >> what is in your front window right now? >> we have a very significant display of theodore roosevelt because of the connection to president roosevelt and all of the activities that he pursued features many titles by roosevelt and then we have books hot off the press, brand-new releases and bestsellers. >> coming in from the book signing as well with her new book, are the crowds turning out for these, are you getting the word out?
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>> the biggest challenge that we had was the number of people that have come in here. we are still in our soft opening. our soft opening has been about four or five days and we can't keep our front door closed. people are coming in. while the carpenter was building the shelves he told me the biggest complaint was people were coming into a construction zone asking to buy books that hadn't even been delivered yet, so the response has been crazy. there was a line outside of the door the first morning that we were open, and the addition of adam schiff and nelson and newt gingrich is attracting folks not only locally but to the online presence so we have a website and that's been a constant flow of activity as well.
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>> when you were in congress you did write those novels but also founded the congressional writers caucus. what is that? >> it was a bipartisan group of members that had a passion for reading and writing and we would meet in the most beautiful room in my view in all of washington, d.c. at the library of congress and we would bring authors and historians. we had writers of fiction, i had walter isaacson come in once to talk about his biography. i have to say in a highly polarized environment, it was almost a moment of liberation to have members on both sides of
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the aisle come and talk about books and now i get to do this as a career i get to stand here while somebody comes in and they don't want to talk about joe biden or donald trump, they want to talk about a good history book and what do i recommend, so i'm having a blast. >> what do you recommend? >> i just finished he passed some time ago the last book he did before passing. i thought it's gold silver view, good book. in terms of history, i am working on a brand-new book about theodore roosevelt and jane addams, three political leaders leading into world war i called approaching storm and it's a wonderful treatment of the positioning that these three national leaders took going into
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world war i. >> downtown oyster bay, new york. >> the roosevelt family is very proud of president theodore roosevelt. there is a place across the street from us called teddy's bar and grill and the roosevelt family let me know as good a place as it is, they do not appreciate the shortening of theodore's name, so we are adamantly theodore's. >> we look forward to visiting you. thanks for your time. this is about books, the publishing news and nonfiction books. here's some books being published this week. mark meadows the former chief of staff to president trump details his experiences during the final years of the trump
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administration. another trump administration official, white house press secretary discusses how her christian faith has guided her life and career, her book is called such a time as this. also being published this week in profit and punishment journalist tony messenger explores how charging fees for minor criminal offenses impacts on americans. in the churchill sisters, rachel examines the relationships between winston churchill's three daughters and founder and president of the research center looks back at his life and career here in washington. his memoir is called stops along the way. have you ever laid awake at night and wonder which first lady appeared on the mary tyler moore show or which president hunted rats in the white house or more importantly which former u.s. president it's a national hero in paraguay?
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the answer to all those questions are in this book the great american political trivia challenge, 2,100 trivia questions from american politics, past and present, rich is the author who joins us from marblehead massachusetts. how did this project get distorted? >> it got started when i was probably 9-years-old and i started watching c-span. i'm a political junkie i don't know where it formulated about for some reason i had a gravitational pull and its interest specifically with the facts and it's interesting after the first book was about the facts in american politics, then a book tour asking about rotations, so political quotations in american politics then the kind of all encompassing political trivia and all he could find is the presidential trivia books on question and answer so i came up
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with the idea with all of this new information inside of my head and i want to put it together in a trivia game that also one where you can learn something as well as interesting so i make 21,705 and put together an amalgamated the primary sources go back to one primary source this happened as well, this happened as well and pretty soon you get seven more questions out of it. >> is this a full-time job writing political books? >> right now i also do some analysis. >> you mentioned watching c-span at 9-years-old. however old you are now are you still watching c-span? >> i am 43-years-old and it's interesting one came to my municipality and i started watching it it it became almost
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an addiction and gravitational pull you just want to get as much information as possible. it's entertaining and i really enjoy it. >> how did you find out reuther for days as a hero? >> it's pretty much a household word. i don't know where i found out but there is a very little information about him in the united states. as a matter of fact, the birthplace in delaware ohio is a gas station and in terms of paraguay, part of it was the secretary of state when they saw the records that show that but e was an agreement between paraguay with about 50% of the land today and it's credited with that and there is a national holiday and postage stamp for him.
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he was born and there is a reality tv show where the winner got to go to fremont ohio to visit the presidential library and museum and another fact by fax bythe way kind of interestie was the only president ever born in delaware. >> first of all it is self published. and what is that process like for you? >> there's definitely pros and cons in terms of the order you want to put it. publicists for the past book but basically you pretty much write it and then you do all the editorials and it's pretty much ready but you use a company that is a subsidiary and then you get
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endorsements and it's basically you write a book itself and publish it yourself and then if you don't have a publicist, you promote it yourself as well. >> one more piece of self-serving news you dedicated to c-span. >> that i don't know of anybody else that has done that but i was thinking should i dedicate it to an individual and i thought where would that come from coming in and watching c-span. some of the speakers i would watch in the house i remember watching some members more than others like team taylor mississippi talk about the budget deficit and had a very charismatic way of thinking about it and they would have others talk about this type of
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stuff so that was also how much time i spent going through the archives and it was fascinatingw much you found out you go back for example i remember watching a speech michael dukakis made when they were running for the public nomination and this is some of the great lines george hw bush says he isn't much of a leader. at this time i agree with both and neither of them as much of a leader, that is just kind of a great lion and you can only find that through c-span so i thought it was obviously kind of appropriate to dedicate it to c-span. >> something i've never said out loud as a part of watching c-span is during a senate to vote with all the interactions on the senate floor.
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i spend hours watching them. you have a whole section on political insult. why did you include that? >> i find them fascinating. they are good in terms of being able to somehow be creative in terms of the way they insult people. i remember for example watching the house one time and marion barry the congressman from arkansas with a southern accent a congressman from florida basically said he had mischaracterized his view on the budget he went after him and
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then i go back to someone that was overrated for his rhetorical flourishes and he had to supported of the affordable care act and he comes back and gives a statement and calls them lying sacks of scum. they also think they can be very underhanded for example jesse jackson was running in 1984 he didn't go after walter mondale who was from minnesota talking about hubert humphrey a former vice president that ran in 1960, 68 and 52 as well the 1972. no matter what side you're on
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it's something you can appreciate the way politicians are able to insult and for others it can be creative. >> the author of the book the great political trivia challenge, available online. thanks for spending a few minutes with us on about books. >> it's nice to be on the station that i dedicated the book too. >> as 2021 wraps up the list of notable books starting to emerge from publications such as "the new york times," wall street journal, here are some of amazon's notable nonfiction titles of the year. atlantic staff writer smith looks at the legacy of slavery in america and how it's impacted history and how the word is passed. in beautiful country, reflects on the journey as an undocumented child in america, the impact of the mothers of
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james baldwin, martin luther king jr. and malcolm x and on their son and the three mothers. and in travels with george, nathaniel examines george washington's presidency by retracing his journey through the republic and new yorker staff writer patrick reports on the families wealth that was built by the selling of oxycontin, valium and other pharmaceuticals. his book is called empire fate. patrick spoke about his book in andthe author interview program "after words." here's a portion of that. i think what he's getting at is we live in a society where there there's a great deal of complexity as sometimes it's hard to figure out what's going on with a particular story,
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particularly i think if it intercepts in the legal system or the financial system. if you read the coverage into the business pages sometimes it's a little harder to see the forest through the trees. one thing i think about as a writer is kind of subverting that and taking situations that are maybe innately very complex. making the challenge for myself because i turn this into a great story, is there a way to translate the complexity into a narrative that has a kind of hook that will grab people, and so for me part of the reason i was interested in the family, i'm interested in the family story and dynamics that are
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interesting but i also thought that this was an opportunity to kind of tell a story about the opioid crisis and big pharma and i would argue the kind of corruption of medicine, but in the form of a family saga that i hope is pretty approachable both with people who may have been touched by the opioid crisis and may have a personal prior connection or also for people who don't, who never made in article you don't feel like there aren't that many people who are not directly or indirectly touched at this point. but they try to find a way to engage those people as well. >> that was patrick on "after words" earlier this year. you can watch all previous episodes on the website,, and it's also available as a podcast on c-span
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or wherever you get your podcast. finally, tonight here is the best-selling nonfiction book currently at politics and prose bookstore in washington, d.c., a place that we often cover the author events. topping the list is archaeologist david into the lead anthropologist in the critical look at the development of human society in the dawn of everything followed by betrayal abc news chief washington correspondent jonathan karl's report on the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and there are two memoirs on the best-selling list on politics and prose both by actors, cal you can't be serious and stanley's taste my life through food. wrapping up the look on the best nonfiction book journalist stephen roberts tribute to the life and career of his late wife and that is a look at this
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week's publishing news and the latest nonfiction books. thanks for joining us on about books, a podcast available on c-span now which is our new app or wherever you get your podcasts. . now here's author and professor sheryll cashin.


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