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Picture books are so unpopular these days at the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Mass., that employees there are used to placing new copies on the shelves, watching them languish and then returning them to the publisher.
“So many of them just die a sad little death, and we never see them again,” said Terri Schmitz, the owner.
The shop has plenty of company. The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading. It is not going away — perennials like the Sendaks and Seusses still sell well — but publishers have scaled back the number of titles they have released in the last several years, and booksellers across the country say sales have been suffering.
Charles Mysak sees a decline in the life of the mind from his perch selling used books along Columbus Avenue.
Full article in the NYT.
Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal columnist writes: At many area Walmarts, the book section is extremely well-organized. The self-help books are here . . . the religion section is there . . . cooking and diet books farther down . . . and right over here is the black section.
You think I'm kidding? At Walmart, apparently, skin color trumps all.
The ''black section'' contains everything written by and about blacks: romance novels, self-help books, religion, sports, even an autobiography by the current president of the United States.
Now, whether or not you're a fan of Barack Obama, can't we at least agree that the thing that defines him is not his skin color but his job title? We have lots and lots of African-Americans in this country — about 38 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — but during this country's entire 234-year history we have had only 44 presidents.
Yet there he is, right in the middle of six monochromatic shelves, peering out at us from the cover of The Audacity of Hope.
The reporter of this piece in the Ohio.com asked WalMart to respond to book placement. When asked why many of its stores have a ''black section'' that lumps together everyone from romance novelists to preachers to the president of the United States — even though they have little in common beside skin color — WalMart Stores Inc. responded without really responding.
On Monday afternoon, Jai Cha walked out of the Barnes & Noble at 66th Street and Broadway in Manhattan as he does nearly every week — without a book.
“I’m just killing time,” said Mr. Cha, a 30-year-old lawyer, his hands stuffed deep in his pockets. “I’ve been coming here to read Bill Simmons’s ‘Book of Basketball,’ about a chapter at a time.”
He might have to hurry. Barnes & Noble announced on Monday that at the end of January it would close the store, a four-story space across the street from Lincoln Center that has been a neighborhood landmark since it opened nearly 15 years ago.
Bookstore beloved of Lesbian and feminists to close. Online bookstores and the acceptance of Gay literature in chain bookstores are blamed.
(Sorry to censor, but this site's spam filter wouldn't accept this submission otherwise.)
New York Times: WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. — Ever since Books & Books opened its doors on Main Street here last month, it has missed out on some of the adulation usually reserved for new independent bookstores in the age of Amazon.
Several storeowners nearby have ordered their staffs not to shop there. Indignant older women have marched inside the bookstore to yell at employees. And someone, or perhaps several someones, may have sneakily placed used chewing gum between the pages of new books.
The animosity seems to have stemmed from the fact that Books & Books moved in when there was already an independent bookstore, the Open Book, around the corner. And as some people saw it, there was no room for another one.
"Saying that bookstores won't be around in the future because Wal-Mart and Amazon sell books is like saying Italian restaurants will go out of business because we have canned spaghetti sauce."--Michael Norris, a senior analyst at Simba Information, in a Houston Chronicle piece headlined "Booksellers buck e-trend: Analysts say there's a place for stores that do their job well."
Blog entry by publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin
There are two questions about the impact of digital change on publishing that are just about impossible to answer.
One is: how much of the sale of ebooks is incremental business and how much of it is cannibalization of prior print sales?
The other is: what will be the fate of independent bookstores?
The two are connected.