Book Stores

Is the Comfy Bookstore A Thing of the Past?

The Baltimore Sun reports: Just a decade ago, the trend in the bookstore industry was to fit nooks and crannies with big chairs for browsing, which, it was hoped, would spur buying. The idea was to recast the bookstore as a community place or an extension of the home.

But now the availability of so-called "soft" seating - overstuffed chairs and sofas - is on the decline at some bookstores, done in by various complications: homeless squatters, overly enthusiastic young lovers, food trash left behind.


Something to Crunch on From is experimenting with selling and delivering fresh produce and other grocery items to customers on Mercer Island, near its Seattle, WA headquarters, according to the AP and the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Offerings do not include books.

Harry and the Strange Logic of Book Discounters

The tangled web of Harry Potter, author J.K. Rowling, Harry's British & US publishers, on-line bookstores (Amazon), bookstore chains (Barnes & Noble, Borders), non-bookstore chains (Wal-Mart, Costco), independent bookstores and all those Harry Potter fans/readers is examined in Saturday's New York Times.

Couple Plans Wedding, But There'll BeThree on the Honeymoon (Bride, Groom & Harry)

One Oregon couple's wedding night will be especially magical. Courtney Lanahan and Shawn Gordon of Clackamas are heading straight from their wedding reception Friday to a Barnes & Noble to get the final Harry Potter book.

How do we know all this??? WaPo has the story of the nuptials and the groom's little treat for the bride, an elementary school teacher. Wonder if they'll name their first kid Hermione?

U.S. Borders bookstores shelve `Tintin'

U.S. Borders bookstores shelve `Tintin': "Tintin in the Congo," an illustrated work removed from the children's section of Borders Group, Inc., stores in Britain because of allegations of racism, will receive similar treatment by the superstore chain in the United States. "Borders is committed to carrying a wide range of materials and supporting our customers' right to choose what to read and what to buy. That said, we also are also committed to acting responsibly as a retailer and with sensitivity to all of the communities we serve," according to a Borders statement issued Monday.


Independent bookstores find readers on the fly

The USA Today Reports Airports and bookstores are a natural fit as idling travelers look for ways pass their time.
In at least three U.S. airports, independent book sellers offer air travelers something a bit different from the big chains.


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 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."



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