Book Stores

Striking a blow for the independents

The Guardian Takes A Look at the world of the small book store. With book giant Waterstone's closing 30 shops, the outlook for the country's independent booksellers isn't as bleak as some had forecast.According to the Booksellers Association, a trade group for retailers, the number of independents has fallen from 1,700 in 2000 to 1,400 today. But that figure now appears to have stabilised. There are an increasing number of small publishers targeting the independents.

Will the closing of the libraries spur a Bookstore boom?

The Mail Tribune - Medford,OR - asks Will the closing of the libraries spur a ... Bookstore boom? It turns out when Jackson County's library system locked its doors last Friday, Barnes & Noble lost one of their best customers.
The reading public is adjusting.

"I think people who can afford it, will buy new books and trade them," Stoddart said. "The people who can't are out of luck."

She cited one client who calculated what he would pay in taxes if the proposed library levy on the May 15 ballot were to pass.

"He had figured out how much his taxes would increase," Stoddart said. "He told me: 'For that money, I would rather buy what I want to buy and then trade them in.' "

Cody's Books to leave S.F. -- 'It just didn't work'

Cody's Books will shutter its only store in San Francisco after 18 months of trying to survive in a cutthroat environment for independent booksellers.

The 22,000-square-foot store on Stockton Street, between Union Square and Market Street, will close on April 20. It will send 20 percent of its inventory to the last remaining Cody's location, on Fourth Street in Berkeley.

Cody's President Andrew Ross, who mortgaged his house to open the San Francisco store, said it has been losing $70,000 a month. He expressed disappointment in its failure.

"It wasn't like it almost didn't work -- it just didn't work," he said. "To make it work, we would have had a long, long way to go."

Further Reading On Iraq's Al-Mutanabi Street

You may have caught the news from Iraq this morning: Baghdad book market bombed. This was the first time I had heard about Mutanabi Street, so I did a little digging and came up with some links should you want to learn more about "an ancient centre of learning and culture." It sounds like a neat place, or at least it was a neat place. I don't have the time it would take to compile more complete list, but here's some reading to get you started. There must be better stuff out there.
A Similiar Explosion apparently happened a few years ago. Gulf News has a nice report on the area; "The road attracts readers from all walks of life, even professors who usually acquire books from the university library, since there are some books which are only found here," They call it "The road to a literary world."

Violence Changes Fortunes Of Storied Baghdad Street from the Washington Post last fall, where they call it "a shadow of its revered past" Many of the original booksellers have been forced to shut down. Others have been arrested, kidnapped or killed, or have fled Iraq. "We are walking with our coffins in our hands," said Mohammad al-Hayawi, the owner of the Renaissance book store, one of the street's oldest shops. "Nothing in Iraq is guaranteed anymore."
From 2002 Historic Baghdad street hit hard by sanctions Booksellers forced to sell private collections to stave off hunger.
A radio report From NPR is 2003. They call it mostly deserted, after an explosion hit a building at the street's entrance. Cafe patrons, poets and booksellers still debate, but now it's about the U.S. military occupation.
Selling Books in Baghdad from 2003 has a little bit of history.
And one more, from Cox News, Baghdad street market starving for new books with pretty much more of the same sad news.

Love at the Bookstore

Appropriate to the romantic nature of the day, here are the results of a contest sponsored by The Harvard Book Store(part of an institution soon to be headed by esteemed historian and scholar Drew Gilpin Faust, who is, incidentally, a woman)...stories of love found (or lost) in the aisles of a bookstore.

Your Library Can Make Money with a Bookstore...Serendipity Has

Just three aisles of books in a room it would take about 30 seconds to walk through yet you could spend an hour or more browsing the shelves and probably find something you just have to have.

And at prices up to about $5, even for hardbacks, a book lover will almost certainly come away with an addition to his or her collection.

The most amazing thing about the Serendipity bookstore, upstairs at the Humboldt County (CA) Public Library, however, is the milestone it reached on Jan. 6: Seven years and two months after it opened, Serendipity's total sales reached $200,000. That's an average of more than $28,700 per year. It is manned completely by volunteers, including the woman who gave birth to the idea Frances Rapin, still an active friend. More from the Times-Standard.

Amazon Launches Product Wiki: Amapedia

mdoneil writes "Amazon has just released a new Wikipedia clone, called Amapedia. It's
described as "a community for sharing information about the products
you like the most." Anyone with an Amazon.com account can edit the
site."

CA Supreme Court denies funds to bookstore contesting Customs censorship

If you've been following along the troubles at Little Sisters then This Press Release will be of interest. "A ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada last week has effectively put an end to Little Sisters bookstore's two-decade long fight for its free expression rights."

The Publishing Contrarian and Independent Bookstores

At "The Publishing Contrarian" blog there is a discussion about what independent bookstores need to do to survive or even if they can survive.

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