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Phoenix News

  • Phoenix Books will partner with the Fletcher Free Library to ensure that every one of the hundreds of children who participate in the Summer Reading Program takes a free book home at the end of the Program.

    Earlier this year, Phoenix Books received a $5000 check from James Patterson, part of the author's personal distribution of grants to independent bookstores.  Now, the bookstore is putting that money to use.  Phoenix Books for Kids will - via a Partnership with the Fletcher Free Library's Summer Reading Program - distribute free books to the approximately 1400 children expected to take part in the Summer Reading Program this year.  Phoenix Books for Kids also aims to establish permanent libraries of forty or so titles at each of the Summer Reading Program's many satellite locations.

    Beth Wagner, Phoenix Books' children's book buyer, says, "We are absolutely thrilled and grateful to receive a grant from James Patterson's $1 million indie bookstore campaign.  Like Mr. Patterson, we wholeheartedly believe that developing a love of reading in children is one of most important things we can do.  Phoenix Books has always been committed to serving our local schools and libraries, and the generosity of Mr. Patterson will allow us to step up our outreach efforts."

    The Fletcher Free Library's Summer Reading Program is a free eight-week program designed to motivate elementary and middle school students to read and maintain reading skills during the summer.  All children entering grades K-8 in the coming school year are eligible to participate.  One third to half of the children who sign up live in low-income families.  About half of the 1400 participants take part at the Fletcher Free Library’s main branch, while the other half of the children take part in the Summer Reading Program via satellite locations.  Satellite locations include the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, King Street Youth Center, Parks & Rec Champ Camps, Sara Holbrook Community Center, Burlington School District summer schools and area USDA food distribution sites.

    Wagner will select dozens of titles for the Phoenix Books for Kids program.  Summer Reading Program participants will each be able to choose one title to bring home at the end of the summer program.

    This year, the bulk of the capital for Phoenix Books for Kids will come from Patterson's grant.  Phoenix Books co-owner Renée Reiner has, however, already started raising funds in hopes that Phoenix Books for Kids might be able to provide an additional book for each child, and plans to make the program a permanent part of Burlington, Vermont's summers.  "The Phoenix Books for Kids program will continue summer to summer," says Reiner.  She hopes Patterson will continue to be a patron of the program, but is committed to continuing it one way or another, through community fundraising efforts.
    Posted 05/27/2014
  • Co-sponsored by Phoenix Books

    The Renegade Writers' Collective is sponsoring a writing contest to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Burlington Book Festival. Submit up to 750 words of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. One winner in each genre will have the opportunity to share their work at a special reading during the festival and will have their piece published in Green Mountains Review Online. Phoenix Books is offering a $100 honorarium to the winner in each genre.

    Send submissions to with the subject heading "Writing contest submission." Include a brief bio and the genre in which you are submitting. The contest is open to all writers, but submitters should plan to attend the festival for the reading, should they be selected as the winner in their genre.

    Deadline: August 1, 2014

    The Renegade Writers' Collective will announce the winners by the end of August.

    Posted 05/27/2014
  • There’s an excellent article in the combined Feb. 17 and 24 issues of THE NEW YORKER magazine, by George Packer, called “Cheap Words: Is Amazon’s Business Model Good for Books?”

    After reading Packer’s article with increasing outrage and anger, I can answer that question in one word: No.  By under-pricing both print and electronic books in order to drive “traffic” through their website, and otherwise monopolizing the bookselling business, Amazon is making it exceedingly difficult for serious publishers, writers, and booksellers, and therefore serious readers, to survive.  (Of course, Amazon doesn’t usually refer to readers who shop at their online site as “readers.”  In the Amazonian argot, readers are referred to – I kid you not – as consumers.”)

    That’s why it’s so important for readers, writers, and booksellers everywhere to support brave, new publishing ventures like Green Writers Press, in Brattleboro, Vermont, which is committed to publishing serious fiction, non-fiction, and poetry with place-based or environmental themes.  Using recycled paper and other environmentally friendly materials, Green Writers is publishing beautifully-made books by some of Vermont’s and America’s best writers.  Please look for the just-published poetry anthology SO LITTLE TIME and, next month, acclaimed Vermont poet Leland Kinsey’s seventh collection, WINTER READY, as examples of what GWP is doing to keep both good literature and what’s left of the natural world around us alive and well, in Vermont and far beyond.Howardbandw

    And by the way.  If you have the slightest doubt concerning Amazon’s ethical bankruptcy, but don’t have time just now to read the entire George Packer article, please scan what he as to say about the working conditions at Amazon’s “fulfillment centers” (aka warehouses), on pp. 73-74 of the magazine.  Where is Charles Dickens when we need him?

    Reposted with permission from Howard Frank Mosher, this was originally posted on Howard's blog and on Green Writers Press' website.

    Posted 03/03/2014
  • Essex, Vermont – February 20, 2014:  On Wednesday, February 19th, Phoenix Books received something unusual in the mail: A letter from bestselling author James Patterson, along with a $5000 check.

    Back in September of 2013, Patterson appeared on CBS This Morning to announce his pledge to give $1 million to independent bookstores.  The author invited bookstores with children's departments to send in informal submissions detailing how they would use the grant money.  All sorts of ideas were welcomed, ranging from funding an employee bonus to fixing a computer system. The program expands on Patterson's work via, a web site designed to help parents, teachers, and librarians ignite the next generation’s excitement about reading.

    Phoenix Books' own grant submission discussed the prospect of expanding on the store's already successful community outreach program by reaching out to under-served populations, strengthening partnerships with local schools, and establishing staff incentives for literacy-related volunteer work.  Patterson's reply reads, in part, "it was clear to me that Phoenix Books would be a worthy recipient of the funds.  Very worthy..... I hope that this check will allow you to continue doing good work in your store."

    Beth Wagner, Phoenix Books' children's book buyer, says, "We are absolutely thrilled and grateful to receive a grant from James Patterson's $1 million indie bookstore campaign. Like Mr. Patterson, we wholeheartedly believe that developing a love of reading in children is one of most important things we can do. Phoenix Books has always been committed to serving our local schools and libraries, and the generosity of Mr. Patterson will allow us to step up our outreach efforts."  Co-owner Mike DeSanto adds, "This grant allows Phoenix Books to do something for the community that we would otherwise not have been able to do, and for this we feel grateful and privileged."

    The round of grants that went out this last week totaled $267,000 to 55 bookstores as well as California Bookstore Day.  Phoenix Books was one of just two Vermont bookstores included in this distribution, the other being Norwich Bookstore.  Patterson is still taking submissions, and the rest of the $1 million will be disbursed in stages during the rest of the year.

    As Julie Bosman reported in the New York Times, "Mr. Patterson, the 66-year-old author of the Alex Cross detective books, young-adult fiction, nonfiction and even romance novels, has been one of the loudest voices in the book world warning about the publishing industry’s troubles. He is also one of the industry’s wealthiest writers. Each year, his publisher, Hachette, releases about 13 of his books, which seem to occupy semi-permanent spots on the best-seller lists. (From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Patterson’s books accounted for one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States.)"

    About Phoenix Books:
    Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability, and is a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Phoenix Books Burlington and Phoenix Books Essex are locally-owned, independent bookstores.  Our Essex location also houses a gallery and cafe. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies.  Seven Days readers voted Phoenix Books the "Best Bookstore in Chittenden County" for the newspaper's 2013 Daysie Awards. Phoenix Books is located in Burlington at 191 Bank Street and in Essex at 21 Essex Way, #407. For more information, visit
    Posted 02/20/2014
  • Posted 02/11/2014
  • In this article from The New Yorker, George Packer explores the internet behemoth's influence on books.  "At the moment," writes Packer, "...people are obsessed with how they read books—whether it’s on a Kindle or an iPad or on printed pages. This conversation, though important, takes place in the shallows and misses the deeper currents that, in the digital age, are pushing American culture under the control of ever fewer and more powerful corporations. Bezos is right: gatekeepers are inherently élitist, and some of them have been weakened, in no small part, because of their complacency and short-term thinking. But gatekeepers are also barriers against the complete commercialization of ideas, allowing new talent the time to develop and learn to tell difficult truths. When the last gatekeeper but one is gone, will Amazon care whether a book is any good?"

    Read the full article here.

    Posted 02/11/2014
  • The following letter from Phoenix Books co-owner Mike DeSanto was published in the Burlington Free Press on December 12, 2013.

    Jeff Bezos claims to be planning to deliver books to your doorstep with drone aircraft.

    The national media, led by 60 Minutes, fawned and drooled all over this patently ridiculous idea.

    Millions of dollars of free publicity accrued to an company that hardly needs free help from the media, any more than it needs special protection from collecting sales taxes on what it sells, yet the avalanche of coverage was out of all proportion to the newsworthiness of the claim.

    Did any one think to ask why, since Bezos believes print books and the book stores that sell them are going the way of the Dodo, he would invest in something as absurdly impractical, expensive and unlikely as flying thousands of drones loaded with pounds and pounds of soon-to-be-extinct printed books to your doorstep? Seen any pigs in the air lately?

    Good grief, I thought the future was all about E-books. Perhaps someone should alert the Wall Street oligarchs that Bezos has a very odd bee in his bonnet.

    If you believe this was a serious thought, may I sell you a bridge in Brooklyn? The media has sunk to a new and all time low by covering a joke and treating it as news. Dumb and dumber!

    As an aside, I think it might be safer to get your books the old fashioned way, by going to the library or even a bricks and mortar book store. Happy Holidays!

    Posted 12/16/2013
  • As Bookselling this Week reported, "More than 1,000 authors could be found handselling books and chatting with customers in more than 400 independent bookstores nationwide on November 30, Small Business Saturday, which also marked the launch of bookstores’ Thanks for Shopping Indie marketing efforts." Phoenix Books was featured on the first page of this article!


    Authors appearing at Phoenix Books Burlington over the weekend of Small Business Saturday and Sunday included Rusty DeWees, James Kochalka, Dr. Arnie Kozak, Dr. Dave Landers, Daniel Lusk, Angela Patten, Tracey Campbell Pearson (who drew the illustration pictured below), Robert Resnik, and James Tabor.

    Posted 12/11/2013
  • Posted 08/29/2013
  • Posted 08/28/2013