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The audience of maybe 100 or so gathered just after noon Wednesday at Stacey's Bookstore on Market Street leaned forward, rapt, transported to Paris on the wings of words. Author Cara Black, the San Francisco mystery novelist was doing her ninth - and last - reading at Stacey's.
The big, handsome store is closing after 85 years in San Francisco, 50 years in the same location.
What kind of role Barnes & Noble will play in the digital future became a little clearer this morning with the retailer’s announcement that it has acquired Fictionwise, one of the largest independent e-book retailers, for $15.7 million plus incentives over the next two years for achieving certain performance targets.
"To help Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder and co-owner of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, San Francisco, Calif., celebrate his 90th birthday on March 24, the store is asking customers and fans to share birthday greetings and wishes. Send them to this e-mail; the store will pass them on to the birthday boy and share some of them."
Maybe something in verse?
Today's By Design/Shelf Life in the NYT celebrates real books in a real bookstore. You might be reading this online, but an architectural bookstore in San Francisco is a reminder that there’s nothing like beautifully printed matter.
Author Allison Arieff writes, "I felt so fortunate to attend a special presentation the other night: William Stout, owner of the eponymous architecture and design bookstore in San Francisco, had been invited to talk about his favorite books at Linden Street, a casual salon of sorts that aims to foster the design community in the city.
Bookstore owner Stout began with his favorite quote from Balzac: “I seldom go out but when I feel myself flagging I go and cheer myself up in Pere Lachaise … while seeking out the dead I see nothing but the living.”
It was evident that, surrounded by these volumes — some slim, some massive, some lush with color photography, some filled with impenetrable academic jargon — Stout felt inspired, in love, in awe, much as Balzac did wandering past the tombstones in that Parisian graveyard.
Some interesting comments including the fact that you can't use a Kindle as a doorstop.
Opinion from Alex Beam, who assumes the title of 'the perfect hypocrite' in relation to how our world is becoming more and more virtual and the places and things we love are disappearing.
I am the perfect hypocrite. I propagandize tirelessly for libraries, and I've railed in this space against what one blogger calls the "Googleization of America." But just a few days ago, while cooling my heels waiting for the Minuteman Library Network to deliver my copy of Garry Wills's 1991 "Under God," I wondered: "Is it available on Google Books?"
Keystroke keystroke keystroke, yes, it was available. I didn't need the whole book, I wanted only to read the 10 pages devoted to Julia Ward Howe's use of the Book of Revelation in composing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
I searched for "Howe" - voila! That was easy. No waiting, no putting on snow boots, no fumbling for my library card. Google Books 1; libraries - well, you get the point.
You behave normally, and you kill the things you love. Whatever happened to video stores? There used to be four or five within biking distance of my house, and now there is one, and it's one you wish hadn't survived: Blockbuster. Yes, of course I use Netflix - who doesn't? Whatever happened to Tower Records? That was a fun a place to hang out. Hanging out on its Web site isn't so much fun. And so on.
As for newspapers, our epitaph will read, "Loved to Death: Everyone Read Them, No One Paid for Them." Talk about unintended consequences.
From Shelf-Awareness, a discussion of e-books and print books from booksellers.
From Rachel Whang of Atomic Books, Baltimore, MD: I don't understand why anyone would go to a bookstore to download e-books, as some have proposed. Do people go to record stores to download music? No. People don't go to places to download anything. That's why they like it. And that's why music-selling stores are going away.
From Jodi Kaplan who runs Squidoo lens: For print and bookstores to survive, they have to add value. Bring authors in, host book groups, have authors blog on their sites (or connect to the authors' blogs). Send e-mails to loyal customers informing them of new books they might like to read. Invite people into the store to form connections with the store, the authors and other readers.
Michael Herrmann of Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, NH: As not only a bookseller but a booklover, I can see why e-books would be priced lower than real books. Not only do you not have printing, storing and distribution costs at the producer's end, but you also do not have a permanent artifact at the consumer's end. That is to say, e-books are not collectible. They are ephemeral. There is no guarantee that they will be readable or retrievable in two, 10, 50 years. They have less value than a real book. So perhaps they should cost less. -- Read More
The Oscar Wilde Bookstore in Greenwich Village which is believed to be the oldest GLBT bookstore in the country will close on March 29th.
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to weather the current economic crisis and find it’s time to call it a day. So thanks to all who have been a part of the Oscar Wilde family over the years, you have truly been a part of a great global community.
More from the Times.
Arnie Birren writes in the UWMLeader :
"Just imagine, one day we'll tell our kids about books. The way they smelled when first purchased, the graceful aging of the yellowed volumes that lined the shelves of resale stores and the satisfaction of turning that final page.
Start saying goodbye to the paperback. Say farewell to off-tune punk ballads bleeding through the low-ceilinged basements of Riverwest. Kiss your art goodbye Milwaukee. It's leaving you behind.
March 31 will mark the final day of operation for Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, a Milwaukee staple since 1927. Not only a bookshop, Schwartz also serves as a venue for book and poetry readings. It connects the loose network of local readers and writers to nationally touring authors. It has been a place to talk about books."
A New York City bookstore, McNally Jackson, has mounted an exhibit not of new books, but of books that inspired President Barack Obama as a young man in his 20's. The exhibit is entitled "How History Was Made: Books that Inspired a President."
"There is an incredible range of books and writers," said McNally Jackson's John McGregor, who came up with the idea for the display shortly after Obama won the election in November. McGregor conducted extensive research to compile the list of more than 50 featured titles, drawing on such sources as Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope and interviews given by Obama. "It was a really deep period of contemplation and study for him," said McGregor. The young Obama's reading selections ranged from Shakespeare's King Lear and Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook to Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son. Also included in the display are some more recent books Obama has indicated reading, such as Marilynne Robinson's Gilead and Gandhi: An Autobiography.
Here's the list of titles read by Obama. Great idea.