At a time when the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is suffering from deep county-wide budget cuts, local booksellers are banding together to offer financial support this August.
Three libraries closed indefinitely June 19, and to keep the remaining libraries open, the book-buying budget was reduced by 58 percent since last fiscal year.
That means the average wait time for a new book is six months - sometimes longer.
"We were able to keep the libraries open with the deals made with the municipalities, city and county, but we still had to make cuts elsewhere," said Angela Haigler, communications and marketing director for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
To help out, 18 bookstores in the greater Charlotte area have agreed to hold their own three-day book sales and give a portion of profits to the library's book-buying fund.
"Customers will be asked if they're interested in supporting local libraries, and if they're interested, 10 percent of their purchases for that day will go to the libraries," said Edward Lee, general manager of the Books-A-Million at Concord Mills Mall.
Online competition forces price cuts on used books
The rise of the digital book has prompted one of Detroit's last independent bookstore operators, John K. King, to promote cutthroat pricing in an attempt to keep alive his two satellite used bookstores.
"What I can't stand is the free pass the e-books are getting," King said. "Like they are the greatest things and they have no negative aspect. Besides the closing of bookstores like mine, what about the toxic nature of those devices? Books are biodegradable."
Tough times, but some bookstores have a different story
But while some of the competition is retrenching or worse, BakkaPhoenix, which recorded a double-digit increase in sales last year, is expanding. In stark contrast to the recently shuttered This Ain’t the Rosedale Library, BakkaPhoenix is readying a fall move from the Queen St. W. location it currently rents to the larger, two-storey Harbord St. digs it has purchased.
The New York Times reports that later this summer, Google plans to introduce its long-awaited push into electronic books, called Google Editions. The company has revealed little about the venture thus far, describing it generally as an effort to sell digital books that will be readable within a Web browser and accessible from any Internet-connected computing device.
Now one element of Google Editions is coming into sharper focus. Google is on the verge of completing a deal with the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independent bookstores, to make Google Editions the primary source of e-books on the Web sites of hundreds of independent booksellers around the country, according to representatives of Google and the association.
The partnership could help beloved bookstores like Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore.; Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, Calif.; and St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York. To court the growing audience of people who prefer reading on screens rather than paper, these small stores have until now been forced to compete against the likes of Amazon, Apple and Sony.
The Google deal could give them a foothold in this fast-growing market and help them keep devoted customers from migrating elsewhere.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 27, 2010 - 2:45am
I am a huge fan of the book store, the library and all things book-related. The library has narrowly edged out the bookstore as my favourite air-conditioned hang-out (I do not have air conditioning) because of the free wifi. But is that enough? Can the bookstores and libraries of this world stay viable and relevant in this age of e-downloads?
I think they can. But they need to expand their definition of business a little if they’re going to do so. One clue as to how this may evolve can be found in the way other businesses are updating themselves these days. And in my news feed these days, the big buzzword has been the ‘hub.’
The Washington Post reports today that the bookstore will soon announce what customers and employees have long feared: The place is for sale.
The 26-year-old store's owners, Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, both 74 and so in sync they often wear the same colors without planning to, say they are simply too tired to keep steering Washington's most prominent non-chain bookstore -- a premier stop on top-shelf author tours and a frequent setting for book talks televised on C-SPAN -- through the uncertainty of an industry threatened by e-books. Cohen is also seriously ill.
"It's time for us to stop and let somebody else take over for the future," Meade said during a quiet interview in the store's cramped office. Cohen, eyes reddening, said, "I just don't have the energy like I used to."
The closure of three independent vancouver bookstores in three months has teacher-librarians worried.
"There are people who just really appreciate the incredible customer service, being able to walk in and say I'm looking for a book for a seven-year-old boy and have somebody who actually knows what seven-year-old boys appreciate," she said.
New York Times Book Review of 'The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It' by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake. 290 pages. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. $25.99.
Gas pipelines explode. Chemical plants release clouds of toxic chlorine. Banks lose all their data. Weather and communication satellites spin out of their orbits. And the Pentagon’s classified networks grind to a halt, blinding the greatest military power in the world.
This might sound like a takeoff on the 2007 Bruce Willis “Die Hard” movie, in which a group of cyberterrorists attempts to stage what it calls a “fire sale”: a systematic shutdown of the nation’s vital communication and utilities infrastructure. According to the former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke, however, it’s a scenario that could happen in real life — and it could all go down in 15 minutes. While the United States has a first-rate cyberoffense capacity, he says, its lack of a credible defense system, combined with the country’s heavy reliance on technology, makes it highly susceptible to a devastating cyberattack.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on April 23, 2010 - 11:44am
By now it must be clear to all but a handful of diehards that the business model based on returnability of books for credit, a practice instituted by the trade book industry some 75 years ago, is no longer viable. In fact it has proven to be a bargain with the Devil.
Some pundits ascribe the woes of our business to printed books themselves, saying that the medium is no longer appropriate for our times. In truth nothing is wrong with printed books. Everything is wrong with the way they are distributed.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on March 25, 2010 - 10:28pm
After delivering a speech on health-care Thursday at the University of Iowa, President Obama made a surprise stop a small bookstore in Iowa City, where he bought books for his daughters and his press secretary -- and lamented that he can no longer browse for reading material as he once did when he was a little-known candidate.
"Well, this used to be my favorite place," Obama told the owner of Prairie Lights, an independent downtown bookstore, as she showed him around. He had mentioned the shop in his speech, noting that it has been offering health-insurance benefits to full-time employees for the last 20 years, only to see premiums shoot up 35 percent last year, making it harder to afford the same coverage.
Full story in the Washington Post and...here's the raw video via youTube:
Determined to stake out a strong digital future, Barnes & Noble on Thursday named William Lynch, president of the company’s Web division, as chief executive, succeeding Stephen Riggio, who will remain as vice chairman. The company was founded by Riggio's brother, Len Riggio (a native Brooklynite) in 1971.
William Lynch, who introduced the company’s electronic book reader in October, had been president of the company’s Web division. He has no previous experience in the book business.
In the unexpected move, Mr. Lynch, 39, was named to the top spot a little over a year after arriving at the company. He is also the first person outside of the Riggio family to be named chief executive since Leonard Riggio, the company’s chairman, bought the company in 1971. He appointed his younger brother, Stephen, 55, in 2002.
Looks like the Nook v. Kindle battle is heating up. Story by Motoko Rich from The New York Times.
If you happen to be in the WNY or Southern Ontario area (like me!) don't miss the 2010 Buffalo Small Press Book Fair Saturday March 27th. The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair is a regional one day event that brings booksellers, authors, bookmakers, zinesters, small presses, artists, poets, and other cultural workers (and enthusiasts) together in a venue where they can share ideas, showcase their art, and peddle their wares. There's a Kickstarter fundraising page to help defray the costs.
The event is being held in the Karpeles Manuscript Library. The Karpeles Library is the world's largest private holding of important original manuscripts & documents. The archives include Literature, Science, Religion, History and Art. Among the treasures are .... "The original draft of the Bill of Rights of the United States", The original manuscript of " The Wedding March", Einstein's description of his " Theory of Relativity", The " Thanksgiving Proclamation" signed by George Washington, Roget's " Thesaurus", Webster's " Dictionary" and over one million more.
Most beautiful bookstore
BoingBoing points the way to Bueno Aires's Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid used to be a beautiful movie palace. Saved from the wrecker's ball, it is now one of the most majestic bookstores I've ever clapped eyes upon, a veritable temple to books.
Do you think Amazon.com and other internet-only businesses have a right to sell product without collecting sales tax when brick & mortar businesses have been collecting and sending in taxes for years?
If so...skip to the next story...or add your comment below.
E-FACT provides independent businesses and booksellers in particular in the 42 states that collect sales tax but do not have e-fairness legislation state-specific templates to their state legislators and Governor calling for e-fairness. Businesses can simply go to E-FACT and navigate to their state, where they will find the relevant documents that can be adapted and then e-mailed to the appropriate person. We plan for E-FACT to grow over the next few weeks to include op-ed pieces, FAQs, relevant articles, and practical suggestions for advocating on behalf of e-fairness.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on March 7, 2010 - 2:55am
Excerpt from article at Slate.com
Our attachment to independent bookshops is, in part, affectation—a self-conscious desire to belong a particular community (or to seem to). Patronizing indies helps us think we are more literary or more offbeat than is often the case. There are similar phenomena in the world of indie music fans ("Top 40 has to be bad") and indie cinema, which rebels against stars and big-budget special effects. In each case the indie label is a deliberate marketing ploy to segregate, often artificially, one part of the market from the rest. But when it comes to providing simple access to the products you want, the superstores often do a better job of it than the small stores do: Borders and Barnes & Noble negotiate bigger discounts from publishers and have superior computer-driven inventory systems. The superstores' scale allows them to carry many more titles, usually several times more, than do most of the independents; so if you're looking for Arabic poetry you have a better chance of finding it at Barnes & Noble than at your local community bookstore.
Later in the article is this: Spend more time in public libraries, which offer many of the best features of indie bookshops, including informed staff, diversity, and offbeat titles. Of course, public libraries aren't exactly atmospherically "cool." The clientele is often young children, women over 40, and retired men. I visit five public libraries on a regular basis, and each one makes me feel old. But they deliver the goods.
Another indie (FL) bookstore is about to close...Urban Think! Kim, from the blog Bookstore People stopped by when visiting relatives and spoke with the owner whose news was not good news. From the blog:
While my nieces were destroying the children’s section (I love being the aunt and just watching them), I distracted Jim by asking how business was going. Not great. He mentioned how the locals would drop by, pick up a dog biscuit for their pooch, then recommend he carry a great book they loved and bought from Amazon. Ouch! I suggested he try the message I saw from the Capitola Book Cafe – just don’t buy ALL of your books from Amazon. Alas, even before I could post this review, the store announced it would be closing at the end of the month. Bookstore closings tend to trigger terrific sales, so stop by to say goodbye and purchase.