Book Stores

San Mateo's 'M' is for Mystery finds success in specialty niche market

Some Good News about an Indie Bookstore for a change. It was a strategic move by Ed Kaufman that turned a small independent bookstore into the largest mystery specialty store on the West Coast.
Not that he ever figured to reach that lofty status, but Kaufman deliberately chose the mystery niche when he opened "M" is for Mystery 10 years ago in downtown San Mateo.

It was a genre he loved and knew a lot about, and in an industry dominated by chains and online giants, it was a survival move. The decision to focus on the mystery genre by Kaufman and his wife, Jeannie, proved to be the key to their success.

College Students Suing Follet HEG for Used Book Sale Practices

According to Central Florida News, two Daytona Beach Community College students (yeah, sun, fun and higher ed) are planning to sue their school and their college bookstore (Follett) for ripping them off on used book sales.

London's Finchley Bookshop Closing After 38 Years

A Finchley bookshop that has grown to become an institution' with Finchley residents past and present is closing its doors to customers after 38 years in business.
The Finchley Bookshop, a family run business, opened in 1968 in Hendon Lane, but moved to Ballards Lane, Finchley, where it established itself at the heart of what was then a rather bookish community.

Michael Hart, 55, took over running the shop from his parents Hilda and Norman who, when they first moved to Ballards Lane, found queues stretching down the street in anticipation of its first day. But with competition from supermarkets and the internet, there is no longer demand for the bookshop. This is London has the obit.

Please Buy Our Store Says Bookshop Owner in Chapel Hill

After twenty-one years in business, the Bookshop will most likely close within a year if it doesn't find a buyer, say co-owners Bill Loeser and Linda Saaremaa. Loeser said someone with energy and passion could keep The Bookshop alive. Whether he hands over the reins or liquidates the 150,000-book inventory, Loeser plans to get out of the business by his 65th birthday in September.

"One would like to think that if there's one place a second-hand bookstore could survive, it would be Franklin Street in Chapel Hill," he said. Story from the News Observer.

Jeff Bezos' Risky Bet

Business Week Reports Amazon's CEO wants to run your business with the technology behind his Web site. But Wall street wants him to mind the store. Yes, Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, the onetime Internet poster boy who quickly became a post-dot-com piñata, is back with yet another new idea.Bezos wants Amazon to run your business, at least the messy technical and logistical parts of it, using those same technologies and operations that power his $10 billion online store. In the process, Bezos aims to transform Amazon into a kind of 21st century digital utility.

Keeping Track of Inventory With RFID

Computer World has a story on a book chain in the Netherlands, Boekhandels Groep Nederland's Selexyz bookstores, and how they use RFID to maintain their inventory. Selexyz tracks books until they are sold to the customer; the tags are deactivated at the time of sale because of privacy requirements. "We don't want to have a link between the RFID and the customer information," Vink says.

New York City's Lost Bookstores

Article in Sunday's New York Times by Dan Kois about bookstores that live "only in the mind." Maybe you've visited one or two in years past...if so, post your recollections.

Read Between the Lines

Pete writes "Wired columnist Tony Long laments the demise of the independent bookseller in this piece : "I can think of no reason why anyone within 10 miles of an actual bookstore would buy a book at Costco or Wal-Mart. Ever. The point is, the corporations and the internet have changed the commercial landscape in this country {ed note: and around the world) and for the worse. Independent booksellers are but one victim of this disturbing trend. Entertainment technology threatens the single-screen movie house and the local music store with extinction. Likewise, your local video rental store is also an endangered species. The corporatization of coffee annihilates small cafes, leaving us with the uniform blandness of Starbucks. The big losers are small merchants of almost every type, and those of us who see mom-and-pop businesses as the backbone of a healthy, vibrant community.""

Borders to Open in Mall of Emirates

If this doesn't convince you that the big-box chains have an international death-grip on ma and pa (i.e., independent) bookstores, nothing will...

Borders is opening a new store in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). A store is planned for Oman the following year. Wonder what books women will be able to purchase. Story from tradearabia.

Venerable NYC Bookstore, Coliseum Books Closing

birdie writes "From the New York Times , news that Coliseum Books, a Manhattan bastion of independent bookselling since the early 1970s, is apparently closing for good. "I believe we will simply disappear," George S. Leibson, a founder and co-owner, said yesterday in the store's second-floor office on 42nd Street opposite Bryant Park, as he composed a poster to inform customers that Coliseum had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. "The book business has changed a great deal," Mr. Leibson said.
The checkout line at Coliseum is often too small to make the store profitable. Many independent booksellers are in the same predicament."

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