Book Stores

Remembering A Long-Lived Bookseller, Charles Elder

Here's a nice remembrance of Charles Elder, who died recently at the age of 100 at his home in Nashville.

Elder was born in 1907 on a farm in East Tennessee. Unlike his six brothers and three sisters, "he gravitated toward the world of books," said his son, Randy. During the Depression, Charles Elder opened bookstores in Chattanooga and Knoxville, as well as Nashville, but they didn't last long. He eventually took a job with the U.S. Postal Service.

"He was a grouch and irascible post office clerk," said Egerton, whose books include Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South.

Mr. Elder "made a bad post office clerk," Egerton said, "but he made a great bookstore owner." Here's the website of Elder's Bookstore still open Monday through Saturday on Elliston Place in Nashville.

Booksellers Upset Over NPR's Amazon Link

No one questions the power of National Public Radio (NPR) to sell books, but it's how it sells them that is generating complaints from booksellers. When NPR released its summer reading list and linked purchases to Amazon, booksellers like Josie Leavitt, co-owner of Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vt., had mixed feelings. On the one hand, she advised other members of the New England Independent Booksellers Association listserv to print out the list, because she had three customers in one day ask about books on it. On the other hand, she said, "I was aghast when I noticed that the Buy This Book link goes right to Amazon.com and no one else." Story continued here.

Raising the Bar on Handselling

There is an article in Publishers Weekly called Raising the Bar on Handselling.

Most booksellers enjoy handselling titles that combine strong literary merit and commercial appeal, like Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. For the most part these are books that publishers and reviewers also support. But what about unpublished books with no U.S. publisher?

Article continued here.

When An Independent Bookstore Closes, Anger and Loss

"I used to sell stories," Larry Abramoff told the Worcester Telegram, which profiled him and his wife more than a year after the closure of their bookstore, Tatnuck Bookseller & Sons.

The Abramoffs still live in Worcester (MA), but Gloria said the transition out of the bookselling life has been difficult: "It was awful. I actually stopped doing my grocery shopping locally because it was a traveling funeral. People would stop me in the produce section. One person said, 'You ruined my Christmas.' They were sad but a lot of them expressed it as anger."

Although they considered buying another bookstore recently, Larry commented "It doesn't make sense, not today. . . . The finances don't work. It's a service to the community."

A Tempest in a Book Shop

The New York Sun: A recent dispute over why the Metropolitan Museum of Art bookstore decided not to carry a book that closely relates to one of the museum's current exhibitions has raised questions about the management of the bookstore and the role of the retail division within the institution.

Bookstore Study To Be Announced at BookExpo America

The following is a press release but still may be interesting to some. Anyone have any additional info on this study? Is more of the information on the web somewhere? Update: 06/05 22:34 GMT by B :The results of the Book Industry Study Group are in a later LISNews story, here; they were announced at BookExpo America

Within the book selling industry, strong pricing power exists for national chains and independent stores, but web-based sellers have significantly lower pricing power with consumers, according to a recent study conducted by Kanbay Research Institute (KRI). Strong ratings have allowed Independents to win a substantial share of consumers even though they make up only 9% of the market. The study, "Book Selling Demand Today," shows that although revenue growth is up in the book industry, same store sales is down, masking the need for organic growth in this industry. Article continued here.

How Low Can 'Harry Potter' Go? Indie Bookstores Diss Amazon

Indie bookstores say they might end up buying their stock of the final Harry Potter book from Amazon.com if their price beats the publishers, Scholastic. Publishers Weekly's Claire Kirch reports.

San Francisco, Shame onYou!

Out of all American cities, I thought you could hold on to an independent bookstore.
From Publishers Weekly: San Francisco, I'm giving you a time out. Sit in the corner and think about what you've done. No, not that corner. The other one;the darker one. Shame on you. You've shot yourself in the foot. Out of all the cities in the U.S., I thought you could hold on to an independent bookstore. You gave me hope. You are a city of composting, bike riding, free-to-be-you-and-me do-gooders. But I was wrong. I don't like being wrong, and now I am cross. Don't give me those puppy dog eyes. You know what you did. You killed Cody's.Article continued here.

Both Sales and Earnings Rise Sharply at Amazon

The typically slow winter months for traditional retailers did not seem to put a chill on the shopping at Amazon.com.

The company, based in Seattle, announced yesterday that its quarterly profit increased 38 percent, to $145 million, compared with $106 million in the period last year. It cited improving margins in its core retail business and increased sales in categories like electronics and soft goods, including jewelry, apparel and shoes.

Wall Street reacted positively to the report, which was released after the close of regular trading. Shares of Amazon.com shot up more than 12 percent after hours to over $50. During regular trading, Amazon shares fell to $44.75, down 2 cents, after slowly gaining all week on expectations of a strong quarter.
Story continued here.

Borders to reopen Web site; sell/close stores

Borders Group Inc. on Thursday plans to announce its intention to reopen its own branded e-commerce Web site in early 2008, ending an alliance with Amazon.com Inc. that had been the core of its online strategy, The Wall Street Journal reported. Story continued here.

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