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August 26, 2005

Happy Anniversary,

Posted by admin

Today, August 26th, marks the 9th anniversary of, and its parent company, The Book Report Network. This week I pulled a late night at the office and went through some old files and paperwork. Along the way I took a trip down memory lane. As I am quite a pack rat, I found the original drawings for our first site, endless papers with all kinds of notes and ideas for features, and screen shots of some of our early "issues" of the site.

I remembered when we started we were updating the site daily and then twice a week, before we settled into this oh-so-much-more-civilized routine of weekly. There was a day when I said, "Just how fast do we think people read?"

Then I went through a stack of business cards that had been stashed on a shelf and saw names of people who were with us at the beginning like the folks at AOL like Martha Girard, Jim Maloney and Jeff Bellin who were there when we launched our first site. As I sat there I realized that The Book Report Network is about a lot more than books and authors. It's about people. I starting running a film in my mind of the names and email addresses (as this is how you know many people in a virtual-based business) of so many people who I have encountered. In my 17 years at Conde Nast, I never met or worked with as many people as I have encountered in these last 9 years.

It's about the people who work with us now --- Sunil, Gena, Tom, Wiley, Jen, Marisa, Shannon, Joni, Joe, Shannan, and my son, Greg --- and those who worked there in the past. It's about Cindy and Suzanne who answer mail for us.

It's about our reviewers, who live all over the country, most of whom I have not met, but I do read weekly. I never say thank you to them enough, so I am taking a moment to do that now!

It's about the publishers and authors and literary agents and publicists who get books into our hands. At one point Tues night I turned around and looked at the wall of bookcases behind me. There I shelve books for the authors for whom we have done projects. Looking there I saw a piece of our history --- shelved. This summer Emily, our intern, organized all the books alphabetically, by author. It's just lovely.

It's about the 1,000,000 readers --- and yes, we are 1,000,000 strong now --- across the Network, who write us great mail, give us killer ideas and who are the reason we do what we do each day! Hmmm...when I was at Mademoiselle we had 1,100,000 subscribers. I love that TBRN is going to best that number soon.

It's about the family and friends who stood by me when I told them I was starting the company when no one even knew what the Internet was. It's thanks for their encouragement to keep it going when there were days when they did not know where we were headed --- and I was figuring it out, sometimes minute by minute.

The same mission we started the company with is still true:

1) To connect readers with authors --- Where Readers and Writers Click
2) To provide a place to talk about your last great read --- and find your next one.

But I am adding a third this year:

3) To introduce readers to books and authors that they might never find on their own. I think that has been my favorite part.

I already am thinking about the 10th Anniversary celebration. But first, I am off to do some reading at the beach. Thanks for reading.