Book Stores

What Slate doesn’t get about bookstores

What Slate doesn’t get about bookstores
Bookstores enjoy a rare trait: To many, the store itself is seen as at least as important to the community as the product it sells. There are several reasons for this, which is why a Slate story published earlier this week called “Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller” has sparked a small online uprising of indignant bookworms. In the story — so paint-by-numbers counterintuitive that it almost reads as a parody of a Slate piece — Farhad Manjoo argued that people should buy books on Amazon and let independent bookshops wither. “Buying books on Amazon is better for authors, better for the economy, and better for you,” he writes.

Founder Of Shakespeare & Co Bookstore In Paris Dies

The founder of a venerable literary institution in Paris has died at 98. George Whitman founded the Shakespeare & Co bookstore, across from the Notre Dame cathedral. The shop was a magnet for English speakers in the French capital.

Piece on NPR

Website for Shakespeare & Co has nice tribute to Mr. Whitman.

Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller

Buying books on Amazon is better for authors, better for the economy, and better for you.

Full article at Slate.com

Excerpt: I realized that he’d made a critical and common mistake in his argument. Rather than focus on the ways that Amazon’s promotion would harm businesses whose demise might actually be a cause for alarm (like a big-box electronics store that hires hundreds of local residents), Russo hangs his tirade on some of the least efficient, least user-friendly, and most mistakenly mythologized local establishments you can find: independent bookstores.

Slate story is a response to this op-ed in the NYT

Novelist Fights the Tide by Opening a Bookstore

NASHVILLE — After a beloved local bookstore closed here last December and another store was lost to the Borders bankruptcy, this city once known as the Athens of the South, rich in cultural tradition and home to Vanderbilt University, became nearly barren of bookstores.

A collective panic set in among Nashville’s reading faithful. But they have found a savior in Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist who grew up here. On Wednesday, Ms. Patchett, the acclaimed author of “Bel Canto” and “Truth and Beauty,” will open Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore that is the product of six months of breakneck planning and a healthy infusion of cash from its owner.

Full article

Booksellers Through the Ages

Booksellers Through the Ages
Stories from around the New York City, including adventures in fabric stores and the subways.

DC COMICS OVERHAULS SUPERHEROES

With the proliferation of big-budget superhero movies, it’s easy to forget about the pulpy comic books on which the characters are based. But it seems many people have: sales of comics are way down. As fanboys have become fanmen, publishers are desperate to find new — and younger — readers.

So this month, DC Comics — the home of Superman, Batman, and dozens of others — is overhauling its entire lineup of superheroes. They’re called the “New 52.” All the old classic storylines have been thrown out the window. Clark Kent and Lois Lane? No longer married. And that’s just the tip of the Kryptonite.

“I think they’re just throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks,” says Tom Adams, owner of Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn.

He tells Kurt Andersen that while the reboot has boosted sales considerably, he still worries about the long term trends. “I think [DC] should be writing comics that are a little more geared toward the smart 12 year old,” Adams says, “as opposed to the smart 20-45 year old who’s reading [the same] comics that he’s been reading for years.”

Listen to audio here

This was a piece on Studio 360 on NPR

Borders Employees Vent Frustrations in Ode to a Bookstore Death

Borders Employees Vent Frustrations in ‘Ode to a Bookstore Death’
As Borders closed forever this weekend, one patron snapped a photograph of a bitter bookseller’s manifesto an unidentified store: “Things We Never Told You: Ode to a Bookstore Death.”

The massive list collected years worth of pent-up sarcasm and frustration, spawning thousands of angry (and bemused) reactions from bookstore patrons.

Serendipity Books, R.I.P.

Story in the NYT has this catch line behind the title -- A legendary bookstore in Berkeley, Calif., closes, another casualty of the shift to e-commerce.

Here is the full article: Serendipity Books, R.I.P.

Here is one paragraph that mentions libraries: The lack of direction was on purpose and in earnest. Mr. Howard wanted people to search for books and find not just what they were looking for but the book next to it, which they might want more if they only realized it existed. “The bookstore is an infinite array of material and knowledge of which you know nothing,” he said. “If you’re focused, you go to the library.”

In the story it says that the store owner died of pancreatic cancer. Connecting the demise of the store to e-commerce or e-books seems like a stretch.

Ann Patchett, New Bookstore Owner Talks about Touring, Bookstores & More

From the New York Times article entitled "Of Bugs and Books", author Ann Patchett (State of Wonder) speaks about books, ebooks, bookstores, best-sellers, reading habits, author appearances, cicadas (the bug part) and so on:

"Everything cycles back around. Things I didn’t think could ever make a comeback — Newt Gingrich and platform shoes — proved capable of startling resurgence. Now when someone tells me a trend is dead, I think, no, probably just dormant.

Take bookstores, for example. With the demise of the Borders chain and the shaky footing of Barnes and Noble, one might be tempted to write off the whole business. But as one who spent her summer on a book tour, I would like to offer this firsthand report from the front lines: Americans are still reading books. Night after night after night I showed up in a different bookstore and people were there with their hardbacks. Sure, I signed a couple of iPad covers, Kindle covers. I’ve got no problem with that. But just because some people like their e-readers doesn’t mean we should sweep all the remaining paperbacks in a pile and strike a match. Maybe bookstores are no longer 30,000 square feet, but they are selling books. "

Patchett and her business partner, Karen Hayes, and will open the doors to Parnassus Books in her hometown of Nashville in October.

The End for Old Greenwich's Just Books

Three years ago, one of Greenwich's remaining independent book stores was saved from impending closure.It looks like there won't be a happy ending after all.

Just Books owner Marion Boucher Holmes says the increasing popularity of electronic readers, in particular Apple's iPad, is forcing her to close the beloved Old Greenwich shop. Boucher Holmes bought the Arcadia Road store in 2008 from Greenwich resident Jenny Lawton, who at the time said financial pressure was forcing her to sell the store or seek investors. While she knew it was a difficult business, Boucher Holmes said sales had dropped significantly in the past 10 months.

"We were always dealing with the Kindle and Amazon, but the iPad has really accelerated," Boucher Holmes said. "Old Greenwich is a small community, and if you start losing 25 to 30 percent of your readers to the electronic medium, the business is just not sustainable."

The 10-year-old store is selling its inventory at 50 percent off, and will permanently shut its doors when everything is sold, though the plan is for the store to be out by the end of the month. Just one of many sad endings for America's indie bookstores. Who can you have an intelligent conversation with at Amazon.com?

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