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  • Kris Chau
Kim Ricketts Books Events recently sent out a pair of e-mails announcing the end of their Words and Wine series of readings. Here is the beginning of the e-mail that went to their publisher-partners:

Our list of corporate clients is growing (Starbucks HQ has re-energized their author series, we have a new one with Nordstrom, the Seattle Design Center and one in NYC for CBS) and many of these companies are working with us to find new ways to weave authors and books into their work lives. Kim Ricketts/Book Events and Hooks Book Events in DC will be working together even more closely to support our mutual endeavors running workplace author series—now on both coasts! As we focus our energies on our growing list of corporate author series, we will be stepping back from our many public events: we will be very selective in what public events we do going forward. Our popular Words & Wine series will end with our event on Nov. 10, 2010 and our Cooks & Books series will continue only on a limited basis. We do have some future book and author ideas percolating here, too—and will send you the details on those exciting developments soon.

This is a shame. Words and Wine was a series where an entry fee—usually something around $50—got you into an intimate Q&A session with an author, a copy of the author's newest book, and all the wine you could drink. It was a good idea for a series. I went to a Words and Wine event with Ethan Canin back in 2008 and I enjoyed myself. So did Canin:

Words & Wine isn't going to replace any of Seattle's traditional book readings—Canin read at Third Place Books the night after this event—but there's something to be said for the idea of getting an author liquored up and letting him talk for an hour or so to a wobbly, blush-faced audience. Canin's talk certainly ranks among the most relaxed and revealing discussions I've ever attended. Nobody I talked with seemed at all unsatisfied, and people who had no idea who Ethan Canin was going in left as huge fans. Words & Wine had a new fan, too: Afterward, over still more wine, Canin toasted the evening as a favorite book event of his entire career.

Now that Kim Ricketts Books Events is focusing more on their corporate events side, I'd love to see a local bookstore take up something like this series. While I wouldn't want it to become the new kind of book reading, I think paying for more intimate access to an author in pleasant boozy surroundings would be a nice way for a bookstore to make a few extra bucks on the side. If you'd like to join the Kim Ricketts Books Events e-mail list for information about any upcoming public events they may be hosting, you can go over to their website. Both e-mails announcing the end of Words and Wine are after the jump.

This is the entirety of the e-mail that went to publisher-partners:

Here at Book Events it is time to plot our direction for 2011 on and we wanted to let you see where we are headed and the best ways we can work together in support of your authors and books.

Our list of corporate clients is growing (Starbucks HQ has re-energized their author series, we have a new one with Nordstrom, the Seattle Design Center and one in NYC for CBS) and many of these companies are working with us to find new ways to weave authors and books into their work lives. Kim Ricketts/Book Events and Hooks Book Events in DC will be working together even more closely to support our mutual endeavors running workplace author series—now on both coasts! As we focus our energies on our growing list of corporate author series, we will be stepping back from our many public events: we will be very selective in what public events we do going forward. Our popular Words & Wine series will end with our event on Nov. 10, 2010 and our Cooks & Books series will continue only on a limited basis. We do have some future book and author ideas percolating here, too—and will send you the details on those exciting developments soon.

We will be continuing our monthly newsletter—which goes to thousands of readers on the West coast—where we will be giving a shout-out to cool author events happening in our community and of course: suggesting good books for people to read, so we hope you continue to send us information about your new books and authors. We will also happily be a resource for you as you consider sending authors on tour—working with you to secure high impact corporate events but also advising you on groups that may be a perfect host for a public event.

When I left the bricks-and-mortar publishing world in 2003 to start this company I was determined to create events with authors that were more interesting, interactive, delicious and engaging than traditional bookstore events. To create these kinds of events would involve, I knew, not only seeking out unusual venues and additional audiences but also creating effective media partnerships, creating a large subscriber base, finding promotional partners and doing a lot of outreach that bookstores simply do not do. I strove to break books and authors out of the stale format of “reading at 7” and find an expanded and direct audience and remind people that books and ideas matter, entertain, enlighten and change lives.

After creating over 2100 events in a wide variety of venues and with all kinds of authors: from politics to poetry, science to food, technology to fiction—I have learned a lot about both the changing publishing and media world and about what works and what doesn’t in both. When I look around at how our Seattle community has grown and see the wide variety of ways you can now interact with books: from the Sorrento Hotel’s Silent Reading to Michael Hebb’s Midnight Symposiums to blogger/author meetups—I feel confident we have helped create a richer literary community.

We thank you for your support of our efforts in the past seven years and truly look forward to creating some great author events with you in the future. If you have any questions at all about Book Events, do not hesitate to call or email me, or even send me a DM on twitter:)

This is the relevant part of the e-mail that went out to the Kim Ricketts Books Events mailing list:

When I started my company in 2003 I left the bricks and mortar bookselling world determined to create events with authors and books that would be more delicious, interesting, interactive, and engaging than traditional bookstore events. In these seven years we have created over 120 Cooks & Books events, bringing some of the top chefs and food writers to our community; created over 2000 author based events in an amazing array of venues and in an even wider range of topics, from politics to poetry, science to parenting, technology to fiction and everything in between. In those seven years I have seen the bookselling and publishing world change dramatically — and in many good ways — but then, I am a person who likes change.

Support The Stranger

It is time for Book Events to head in a bit of a different direction in 2011: refocusing our company toward our busy and expanding list of corporate author series. We will be creating a few, highly select public events, and of course you will be the first to know about them. We have a few other book ideas, projects, and plans in the works, but are not ready to give the details out quite yet... but stay tuned! We will continue our monthly newsletters giving great info on upcoming events, community news and of course: good books to read.

For all of you who have shared dinner with us at our Cooks & Books events in Seattle and Portland over the years: thank you! For all of you who have shared laughter, wine, stories and tears with us in our many public events (Words & Wine, The Good Life, evenings with so many brilliant writers) again, we thank you.

And we hope you will join us at one of the fabulous events we've described above, before the end of this year and the next chapter begins in the story of Book Events.

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