Book Stores

Another One Bites the Dust

Washington's literary community was recently dealt another blow with the shuttering of Olsson's Books & Records, the independent bookseller that for more than three decades catered to throngs of readers looking for a good book (and someone who could recommend one), the chance to meet an author or two, and a stellar music collection. Olsson's weathered the rise of the chain discounters and the surge of the superstores that followed, which claimed many of the city's most beloved book nooks. And that includes various Olsson's outposts, such as Georgetown and Bethesda that vanished years ago only to be followed by the opening of new locations as the company strived to serve its loyal customers.

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Loyal Friends in London

Friends of the London (ON) Public Library turned 15 last month.

...great promotional image

In the coming months Friends will be offering two great opportunities for Londoners to pay equal homage to their library system. First is their gift to Londoners at their annual three-day book sale at the Western Fair’s Special Events Building Friday to Sunday, Oct. 24-26.

Then there’s the opportunity for Londoners to give back with the gift of literacy by donating to A Book For Every Child. The 2008 campaign begins on Nov. 8, which which most London bookstores offer a 20 per cent discount for books purchased and left at the store to be donated to the library and given to a deserving child. The Londoner.

Booksellers Asked to Encourage Authors to Ban Amazon.Com

Great Lakes Independent Booksellers were told by the association's outgoing president Carol Besse at their fall trade show October 3-5 that authors should disable any links they have on their websites to Amazon.com and "get out there in front" of store patrons to explain why consumers shouldn't buy from the online retailer.

Besse called for a "grassroots effort to re-educate every author they meet about the importance of buying books from independents rather than from Amazon.com. She said it's a matter of survival and qualify-of-life for entire communities.

Olsson's Closes in DC

If you live in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and you love books, you've probably visited at least one of Olsson's Bookstores. But no more.

PW reports, as does the Washington Post: Olsson’s Books and Records has filed for liquidation under the chapter 7 bankruptcy laws and has closed its doors after 36 years selling books in the Washington D.C. area. All five of its current Washington D.C.-area stores have been closed. The firm applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July with plans to reorganize and cut costs by closing some of its stores. But a combination of low sales and rising rent was more than the DC metro-area indie chain could overcome. This is what's left of their website if you want to read their history or post a testimonial. RIP.

Literary Symbiosis in Lititz, PA

Aaron's Book Corner in Lititz, PA, has announced that it's teaming up with the Lititz Public Library to sponsor the first "Lititz Loves Reading" week. Events from October 20 - 26 include author appearances, library fundraisers, and an all-night "Read-a-Thon."

Happenings at Aaron's include a discussion of the Lititz One Book One Community selection, The Grace That Keeps This World by Tom Bailey (Three Rivers), and an appearance by local author Jill Althouse-Wood (Summers at Blue Lake, Algonquin). The weeklong celebration culminates in a Read-a-Thon on October 25.

"Lititz Loves Reading" week is inspired by a national program, Great Expectations 2008, founded by RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH. For the week, Aaron's customers will be able to support the mission of Lititz Public Library in two ways. First, for any customer presenting a Lititz library card while shopping at Aaron's Books, 10 percent of the purchase price will be donated to the library. Second, the library is supplying Aaron's Books with a "wish list" of most wanted books, and supporters can buy a book for the library through Aaron's Books at 25 percent below retail price.

Bookweb has the story.

Bookstores vs. Online: How Can Bricks-N-Mortar Stores Survive

Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog has a 6 part series on suggestions for how the brick-and-mortar stores could better compete with the online retailers. Parts one through five can be found here, here, here, here and here.

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Mystery Store Proprietors to Reveal the Mysteries of Modern Publishing at the LOC

From Shelf-Awareness: Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald, owners of Poisoned Pen Books Bookstore and Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale, AZ, will be the featured speakers at the Library of Congress at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7, at an event that is part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The pair will address how book and print technology has developed; how electronic manuscript submissions, e-books, digital ink and wireless reading devices have affected the industry; digital rights management; the interplay of Web and print media; video trailers for books; the popularity of graphic novels and gaming based on books.

Who's Running the Bookstore?

No matter who's running the bookstore...September is almost always a nightmarish month for students attempting to acquire the necessary texts for their courses. Here are two articles that specifically point the finger at corporate bookstore management...

Follett: this one about what seemed like an attempt by new bookstore management Follett to gouge students at Cal State San Bernardino...

and Barnes and Noble: this one at Rowan University about insufficient stock since the takeover by B&N.

And for general griping about the cost of textbooks, here's one from Minnesota Daily...Bend over, we're going to the bookstore.

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Don’t Buy That Textbook, Download It Free

Article in the New York Times discusses open source textbooks, POD textbooks, and textbook publishers adopting different business models.

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The Megalisters--We Buy Books!

What becomes of library books after they are removed from circulation? They might end up in the Library Store or the annual friends sale, but another possibility is that they become the property of a 'megalister' who lists the book for sale, sometimes even without actually possessing them.

NYTimes Book Review reports on companies like Thrift Books ( three million books and 180 employees) and Harvest Book Company (140,000 books and 13 employees) where used books can sometimes be sold for as little as one cent.

After the great wave of creative destruction set off by e-commerce, the more adaptable breed of used-book seller seems to have survived with the ideals of Larry McMurtry (author of "Books" a memoir of his many decades as a book dealer) intact. Chris Volk, a store owner and the vice president of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, says her colleagues are frustrated but undaunted by the megalisters. “In the long run,” she said, “people who know what they’re doing will win out.”

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