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I’ll be at Barnes & Noble in Akron

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Just a reminder that I’ll be at the Barnes & Nobel bookstore in Akron tonight signing my latest book, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The signing will be between 7 and 9 p.m. at the store at 3015 Medina Road. Seven other authors will also be on hand to discuss and sign their books.

Hope to see you there.


Author Event Set for Akron B&N Store

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Craig Sanders will be participating in a local author exhibition on Saturday at the Barnes & Noble book store in Akron.

Sanders, whose book Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, was recently released by Fonthill Media, will be among 11 authors who will sign their books and discus their work with B&N customers.

The authors will appear at tables on the upper level of the store located at 4015 Medina Road in the Fairlawn-Montrose area.

The B&N store has set up a Facebook page about the event:

Other authors and their books scheduled to be at the event are: Louise Richards, A Christmas Story a Day; Wes Locher, Unit 44; Anita Fox, Bobby’s Journeys…; Kristen Lepionka, The Last Place You Look; Mike & Janice Olszewski, Cleveland Radio Tales; Dave Bair, The Lasso; Carmen Williams, FitOverIt and That Too; Robert J. Roman, Ohio State Football: The Forgotten Dawn; Brendan Bowers, LeBron James vs The NBA; and Irv Korman, Antuan was Hear.

For 2 Hours I Outsold a NYT Bestseller

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I’m sitting at a black square table just inside the front door of a Barnes & Noble book store in suburban Cleveland engaging in a ritual familiar to many authors. On the table is a stack of 19 copies of my latest book Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

I’m a niche author and not many people are interested in railroad history. Therefore I don’t have high hopes about selling all of those books.

Directly in front of me is a table piled high with books labeled “new releases.” One of them has an orange cover that catches my attention. Titled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, I’m hoping the book by Mark Manson won’t be a summary of how my book signing will go.

The railroad about which I wrote is known in Cleveland and last year carried a record 214,063 passengers.

Anyone who has visited the Cuyahoga Valley National Park probably has seen and/or ridden on a CVSR train. I’m hoping that that might help sell a few books.

A few people mentioned having ridden on the CVSR with some saying they had ridden several times. But they didn’t buy my book. Not today at least.

Twelve minutes into my book signing, a guy walked in, spotted me and immediately came over. In a matter of minutes he bought two of my books, one for himself and another for a friend.

I felt much better because at least I had made a sale. But he was more the exception than the rule.

As I expected, most of those who came into the store had little to no interest in me or my book. Many walked past as though I didn’t exist, not making eye contact or saying hello. They were not subtle in not giving a . . . well you know.

This is my eighth railroad history book and I learned a long time ago how these book signings are often about learning the art of humility.

What I experienced at B&N I’ve also experienced at events filled with railroad enthusiasts. That was tough to take at first, but it comes with the territory.

The afternoon wore on and I made a few more sales. I had interesting conversations with a few folks. Interactions such as these make book signings worth doing even when sales success is modest.

One woman said she had seen a poster advertising my signing and came in to get my book, buying two copies.

There were some near-misses in which people expressed interest but didn’t buy. Maybe later.

A woman pointed at my table and said to her daughter, “look, there’s an author. He wrote a book. Isn’t that great! Maybe someday maybe you’ll write one, too.”

The girl never looked my way, but I understood. Preschoolers have short attention spans.

I had plenty of time to keep an eye on those new releases, the Christmas-themed table to my right and the magazine racks slightly to my left. High on the walls were posters for such classics as Walden, The Maltese Falcon and To Kill a Mockingbird.

I wondered how many people come into bookstores and buy those books just to read them and not because the title is on a school reading list.

It was getting late. My publisher had said the signing was to be for two hours, but I stayed a half-hour longer.

As I was packing up my fliers and business cards while getting ready to leave, a B&N employee asked me to sign the unsold books. She placed a “signed by the author” sticker on each as soon as I finished signing. Sometimes that helps sell a book.

I don’t recall anyone even looking at Mark Manson’s book, but I might have missed it. He will sell far more copies of his book then I’ll sell of mine. It has been, after all, on The New York Times bestseller list.

I’ll never have Mark’s level of success, but for two hours on one afternoon in one store I outsold him.


Sanders Presents at Michigan Conference

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Craig Sanders gave a presentation at the 14th Michigan Railroad History Conference titled Michigan’s Bootstrap Campaign: Passenger Rail Development in the Amtrak Era.

The conference was held on Sept. 23 at the Maas Conference Center of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Sanders described how the now-named Michigan Department of Transportation sought to improve rail passenger in the state following the inauguration of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.

Michigan’s intercity rail service in the early Amtrak years was limited to two daily roundtrips between Chicago and Detroit.

Since then service in the state has expanded to three routes linking Chicago with Detroit, Grand Rapids and Port Huron. The Detroit corridor also reaches north to suburban Pontiac.

The state has purchased much of the Chicago-Detroit corridor within Michigan, buying from Norfolk Southern 135 miles between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, and landing $511 million in federal funding to upgrade the line for higher speed service.

The state and communities served by Amtrak have also invested in station rehabilitation and many cities not served by Amtrak are linked to it by connecting bus service.

Despite these successes, the state has also had some misses. It stopped funding an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter operation after ridership fell substantially, and a Detroit-New York train funded in part with the state of New York ended in 1979, in part due to lower ridership between Detroit and Buffalo, New York.

Several proposals to establish service between Detroit and Grand Rapids have failed to come to fruition.

The Michigan Railroad History Conference began 30 years ago at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn as an educational outreach program of the Bluewater Michigan chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

The conference features a full day of presentations on Michigan’s railroad history and is rotated among various cities in the state.


Written by csanders429

November 3, 2017 at 5:22 am

Buckeye Book Fair is This Saturday in Wooster

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The 30th Buckeye Book Fair will be held this Saturday (Nov. 4) at Fisher Auditorium in Wooster, Ohio.

On hand will be 100 authors who will be signing their books and speaking about their work.

The event opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. Admission is $2.

Four author presentations have been planned for the auditorium. Between 11 a.m. and noon, Jeffrey Ebbeler will conduct a draw-along.

Between noon and 1 p.m., author Mary Kay Carson will discuss her book Mission to Pluto. James Willis will talk about Central Ohio Legends & Lore between 1 and 2 p.m., while Ian Adams will discuss his book Ohio in Photographs between 2 and 3 p.m.

More information is available from


Written by csanders429

October 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

My Latest Book Hits the Streets Today

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Today is one of those landmark days in my life that I probably won’t remember, but it is important. My seventh published book, Akron Railroads, is being released today by Arcadia Publishing.

It is the second book of the same title that I’ve published with Arcadia and the identical names aside, they do not have quite the same focus.

book-coverMy first Akron Railroads, published in 2007, focused more on the overall history of railroads serving Akron, Ohio, thus having a broader focus in time. It was part of Arcadia’s Images of Rail series and featured black and white photographs.

The second Akron Railroads has a narrower focus of 1960 to present. Nearly all of the images in that book are in color.

I was able to receive an advance copy of the book about a month ago and was pleased with how it turned out. The quality of the printing is good and it has a glossy cover.

All of the photographs in the edition of Akron Railroads, were contributed by members of the Akron Railroad Club. Some of those members had contributed photographs that appeared in the first edition of Akron Railroads.

Here is the summary of the content of the second edition of Akron Railroads that I wrote that appears on the back cover:

“In the six decades preceding 1960, Akron’s network of railroads had been relatively stable. Then a series of mergers began that year, changing the face of the city’s railroad network. By the early 1970s, the industrial base-particularly the rubber industry-that had sustained the region’s economy was in decline, and the fortunes of the railroad industry fell with it.

“The self-described “rubber capital of the world” was hit hard, and the production of tires for the automotive industry all but disappeared. The 1960s also saw a precipitous decline in rail passenger service, with the last passenger trains discontinued in 1971. A restructuring of the railroad industry that began in the mid-1970s left the Akron region with three railroad companies. Some railroad lines were abandoned, while others saw the scope of their operations changed or reduced. Today’s rail network in Akron may be slimmer, but the railroads are financially healthy and continue to play a major role in meeting the region’s transportation needs.

The book retails for $22.95 and is available from


Written by csanders429

October 31, 2016 at 7:56 am