Riverby Books D.C., a used-bookstore on Capitol Hill, closed last year after owner Steve Cymrot was hit by a truck and killed. His son Paul reopened the store in the fall — and didn’t hesitate. “The business side of it never gave us a moment’s pause,” he said. “We’ve never had better business.”
And it’s a business with good economics. Used bookstores can beat Amazon and other online booksellers on price, offering shoppers both a browsing experience and a money-saving one. Also, profit margins on used books are better than new ones — so good that many indies are adding used sections.
Sensing a good deal, entrepreneurs are jumping in.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has written a forceful defense of the company’s plans to offer limited, free internet access in India, comparing Facebook’s Free Basics service with libraries and public hospitals. In an op-ed written for The Times of India, Zuckerberg says that although libraries don’t offer every book to read and hospitals can’t cure every illness, they still provide a “world of good,” suggesting that just because free internet services like Free Basics only offer access to a limited number of sites — which third-parties can apply to join but that Facebook ultimately controls — they’re still an essential public service.
Libraries cost money. Do we need large buildings, heavily staffed, full of paper, if “everything of importance” is online, in databases, collections, and so forth? For a university accountant, the answer is self-evidently not. A generation may be needed, but those volumes will be sold, the staff dismissed, and the building repurposed.
Such changes in information technology have happened before.
With hundreds of thousands of books published every year, the choice of what to stock can prove bewildering for booksellers. The owner of one small bookshop in Tokyo has taken an unusual approach to the problem: Morioka Shoten, located in the luxury shopping district of Ginza, offers just one title to its customers.
Amanda Brennan is a librarian for the Internet. Her career in meme librarianism began in graduate school at Rutgers, where she received a master’s in library science.
But instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar library, Brennan continued documenting online phenomena at Know Your Meme and then at Tumblr, where she solidified her profession as information desk for doge, mmm whatcha say and the other viral Internet sensations in need of classification, categorization and preservation.
Here’s the meme-ish story from the Washington Post.
In quieter decades, the absence of charismatic, visionary library leaders might not have mattered, writes Peter Brantley. But in the Internet age, it is a self-inflicted wound.
Big Talk From Small Libraries 2016 will be held on Friday, February 26, 2016 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will be able to present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.
If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal by Friday, January 8, 2016. Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.
German trade publisher Bastei Lübbe and book retailer Hugendubel have come up with an unusual idea to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents.
The companies have invented a vending machine (pictured below) where consumers can dump a present and exchange it at the touch of a button for a book.
Last month nearly 200 entries turned up in a strange event on GitHub challenging programmers to write computer code that can generate 50,000-word novels. “The only rule is that you share at least one novel and also your source code at the end,” posted the event’s organizer, Darius Kazemi, who’s been staging “National Novel-Generating Month” every November since 2013.
Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.