Book Stores

Publishers Beware: Amazon has you in their sights

Jessamyn points to an interesting Post Over At Tim O'Reilly's Place on Amazon's big plans. Tim says that Amazon has serious plans for vertical integration of the publishing industry. Having got retailers on the ropes, they now are aiming at publishers. "Amazon has, so far, created huge value for the publishing ecosystem. Now, as they become more powerful, they need to be especially watchful that they don't irreparably damage an industry on which they too depend.

Jessamyn Adds: "How do libraries fit into this model? We’re frequently told that we’ve got crazy buying power in the aggregate but what happens when we’re not even given the option to see these books brought to market?"

More on the Amazon/Booksurge Issue

As previously reported here on LISNews last month , Amazon is continuing to insist that all Print On Demand books to be sold on their site,, be printed by their own subsidiary, BookSurge.

Sound monopolistic? Is it. Here's a statement from aother POD company, Author Solutions; here's more on Amazon's decision in Publishers Weekly.

To get an idea of the number of POD publishers Amazon's decision will be cutting out, check out John Kremer's Bookmarket list of POD publishers. These people are trying to make a living too.

Acres of Books could be in its final chapter

The Owners of the Long Beach shop have agreed to sell the property to a redevelopment agency and don't know if they'll relocate.
"It's been a family business since 1934," said 68-year-old Jacqueline Smith, who owns the store with her husband, Phil. "It's been my life and my dream, but it's reality," she said.

Employees at the store have been selling off remaining inventory for months. Generally, they keep about 1 million books in stock, but that number is now closer to 700,000, and many employees do not expect the store to reopen.


Where Do You Shop for Books?

Inspired by the realization that she "hadn't patronized a single local, independently owned bookstore" despite owning hundreds of books, Rachael Daigle wrote an article for Boise Weekly detailing her book-buying transgressions, while simultaneously offering an in-depth look at the history and current state of indie bookshops in the Idaho city.

She points out a stunning statistic provided by the American Booksellers Assocation: Only 45 percent of books are sold in traditional bookstores, the remaining majority are put into consumers' hands at coffeeshops, hardware stores, supermarkets and over the Internet.

Do you have a favorite indie bookstore in your city? Tell us about it and then go look for books there!


Amazon Explains POD Move; Ingram Raises Questions

Amazon has sent an open letter to “interested parties,” explaining “what we’re changing with print on demand and why we are doing so.” Amazon has caused a major stir in the pod field with its decision to have publishers who want to sell pod titles directly through its Web site use its BookSurge pod subsidiary. And late Monday afternoon, Ingram, parent company of BookSurge rival Lightning Source, issued a statement from John Ingram noting the concerns it has fielded from publishers about Amazon’s actions.

Complete article at Publisher's Weekly.

A Utopia's Days are Numbered

Dutton's Bookstore in LA is closing for good on April 30.

Short story and photos from LA Observed. Former LA Mayor Richard Riordan said, "I feel like I'm at an Irish wake...Doug, we love you." LA Times also reports on the closing.


ABFFE challenges Indiana law

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is challenging a new Indiana law which requires dealers of sexually explicit materials to register and file a statement with the secretary of state. Full story at the Bookfinder Blog.

Revenge of the independent book stores

Revenge of the independent book stores: something odd is happening in Toronto: New little bookstores are popping up like crocuses in the spring earth. Type, the eclectic bookshop that two Toronto scholars opened two years ago on Queen Street West across from Trinity-Bellwoods Park, last November opened a second store in a nook in Forest Hill Village. And two weeks ago, Book City, the 32-year-old chain of small bookstores, gave Type some competition of its own, opening a location on Queen West. Type and Book City share the same streetcar stop, Niagara Street.

What gives? It appears that, Internet age be damned, a growing number of people like to read actual books, and seek them out in little shops with literate staff.


Book Selling: An industry under fire

A Short Column takes a look at Borders and Barnes & Noble. Peddling books is a tough business, relying on a relatively small number of best-sellers to grow sales (and competitive forces have forced a lot of margin-killing discounts).
Barnes & Noble hasn't had quite as difficult a time as Borders, although its fourth-quarter net income dipped 9.2% as the competitive climate led to lower margins. However, in contrast to Borders' tidings, Barnes & Noble was able to increase its dividend and said that it will be profitable in the first quarter, even though it's by no means indicating an easy year ahead. It's guiding for annual earnings about flat compared to 2007.


Borders' about-face aims for book sales

WSJ had an article titled "Borders' about-face aims for book sales". I am linking to the article in a Detroit paper because it was reprinted there and you can see the full-text. The article is not available at WSJ without a subscription. At the WSJ opinion page some book sellers have written to comment on the article. The original story is here and the commentary by the other book sellers is here.



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