A Chapter in The Indie Bookstore Saga: Kepler's Books

There's a great independent bookstore in Menlo Park (CA), Kepler's, now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

As another chapter in the story of how it's going for the independents (see Counterpoint: Chain Bookstores), here's an article about Kepler's at age fifty .

By the way, Kepler's like most indies, will sell any book via the internet (you don't have to live in Menlo Park), so Amazon is NOT your only alternative.


Counterpoint: Chain Bookstores

Counterpoint: Chain Bookstores - Work Magazine Issue #1 (Work magazine is a quarterly analysis of the U.S.A.'s work culture and its influence over the world.)
"Chain Bookstores", by Paula Katz, looks at her job as a lowly retail clerk at a local, independent bookstore. She says a "corporate" atmosphere can be created anywhere; it's not just about the size of the store or the profit margins.
Because money has become the only thing the store worries about, the employees are left feeling unappreciated. The smart ones leave, and the ones who stay, lose interest in making the store a better place.

"Eventually this bookstore will fail. But what is most frustrating is witnessing myopic business practices that should be reserved for huge corporations being put into practice in what should be a haven for customers and employees alike."

Hawkers' novel idea: a books-only zone

Anonymous Patron writes "From Mid-Day Mumbai - Bombay,India The 45-odd booksellers lining the artery from Churchgate to Flora Fountain were evicted by the BMC on May 6.

The BMC swooped down on the booksellers and carted off nearly a lakh books saying they were acting on court orders and that the pavement was a no-hawking zone.

Angry over the treatment, the evicted booksellers say they want the government to designate a book zone in the city, dedicated to booksellers."


ProQuest CFO resigns?

An Anonymous Patron writes "ProQuest Company has added a news release to its
Investor Relations website.
Title: ProQuest Company Announces Resignation of Chief
Financial Officer

Date: 5/6/2005 5:00:00 PM

For a complete listing of ProQuest News Releases, Please go
to this url:"


Going Under Cover with Book Search Tools

The great and powerful Gary Price has a good one over at Search Engine Watch: Going Under Cover with Book Search Tools. Google, Amazon and others offer really useful "search inside the book" tools, but they're not always the easiest features to use. He takes a closer look at getting the most from online book search services.


Waging war against `the McDonald's of books' in Israel

Anonymous Patron writes "A paper from Israel, Haaretz Reports, here and there around the country, courageous - and, of necessity, creative - attempts are being made by small bookstore owners to survive in the face of the large chains. The proprietors of the small shops are calling for book buyers to leave the beaten track sometimes and to just come into their shops for a moment. Even if the book costs a bit more, in the final reckoning - which isn't a financial reckoning - it pays off. "Books are like friends, they give us wings.""


A reluctant farewell to Blackbird Books

The Nashua Telegraph, (NH) has a short report on the closing of another indy book seller. Give Maggie Hinkle and her staff an A for striving to operate a small bookstore in downtown Nashua. Unfortunately, Blackbird Books and Cafe will close at the end of the month for lack of sufficient patronage.


The Globe and Mail: Literary gem to cut staff, book list

One of Canada's literary gems, The Porcupine's Quill, Inc., received word Tuesday morning that the country's booksellers had nominated the Erin, Ont.-based publisher for a Libris Award in the Small Press Publisher of the Year category.

Ironically, the nomination has come at a time when the press is planning drastic measures -- reducing its staff, cutting its publishing list in half -- just to stay in business.

More from The Globe and Mail


Shop till you drop for books at this store

Anonymous Patron writes "The Hindustan Times - India takes a look at The Hindi Book Centre, in New Delhi. Anil Varma, one of the three brothers who owns the store, claims it is the only bookstore that sells titles from over 500 Hindi publications, the largest in country.

The bookstore stocks Indian publications in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Gujarati. Books published in local dialects can also be found.

These are especially sought by the United States Library of Congress for research scholars in the US universities."

Topic: Knows, Predicts Shopping Habits

One From The AP on Inc., who they say has one potentially big advantage over its rival online retailers: It knows things about you that you may not know yourself.
Though plenty of companies have detailed systems for tracking customer habits, critics and boosters alike say Amazon is the trailblazer, having collected information longer and used it more proactively. It even received a patent recently on technology aimed at tracking information about the people for whom its customers buy gifts.


The Long Tail

Anonymous Patron writes "The Long Tail is a Wired article from last year on an entirely new economic model for the media and entertainment industries, one that is just beginning to show its power. Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what's available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble."


Schools, libraries prep for ISBN-13

Anonymous Patron writes "This eSchool News online article on ISBN-13 is marked as being subscription, though clicking through via A Google News Search allowed me to read it.

They say In a move that could cause problems for schools with older versions of library automation or book-cataloging software, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), the unique identifier used to track published materials worldwide, is being changed from a 10-digit format to a 13-digit code. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ordered the change to conform the code to a unified worldwide numbering system and to provide more ISBNs to parts of the publishing industry and areas of the world that do not have enough of the numbers.

OCLC Has Announced (last year) Interim Support for ISBN 13. The full ISBN Standard Revision is available. The ISBN will change from 10 to 13 digits on 1 January 2007"


The PublishAmerica Sting

A Neat Mefi Post on PublishAmerica. They point the way to an elaborate hoax that aimed to show PublishAmerica will publish any work, regardless of quality, despite their claims.

The Washington Post just ran a story some other troubles an author had with PublishAmerica. We recently had This Associated Press piece on them as well.


Dell Teams with National Archives on "Public Vaults''

Anonymous Patron writes "Press Release From Dell Says they have teamed with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Foundation for the National Archives on its "Public Vaults," a permanent exhibition designed to educate the public on the breadth and depth of national documents available for exploration."


Wired: The Zen of Jeff Bezos

Anonymous Patron writes "The Wired Article The Zen of Jeff Bezos quotes him as saying "We not only help readers find books, we also help books find readers, with personalized recommendations based on the patterns we see.
Now if only there was somewhere ELSE people could go for that kind of service! Why can't libraries get this kind of PR?"


As Sales Flag, Publisher Eyes Retailers' Turf

Anonymous Patron writes "The New York Times Reports on an interesting move by Random House Inc., the nation's largest publisher. The company has tentative plans to sell books directly to consumers through its own Web site.
On Friday, Stephen Riggio, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble Inc., the country's largest bookseller, said that he was "deeply concerned" by Random House's plans to enter into his business, raising the possibility of a growing rift between the publishing companies."


Reed Shares Dip on Science Concern

Anonymous Patron writes "Interesting Business News on Reed Elsevier. shares in Reed fell 4% after investors took fright at the prospects for its science division after minimal increases in the budgets of academic libraries.

At the same time, a delay in the launch of a major software product meant some sales growth would be pushed from 2004 into the following year.
A Bit More in another report, and even more with an interesting quote:``We haven't seen any recovery in academic library budgets,'' compared with anticipated spending growth of as much as 1.5 percent this year, he said. ``We are in an environment where budgets are under great pressure.''
No mention of The Prices they charge. though Margins were discussed some."


Librarian + Google Exposes Emerald Republishing Practices during Charleston Conference sent along a link to An LJ Blurb on This Paper, presented at The Charleston Conference on Republishing.

LJ Called it a "bombshell paper" because Cornell University librarian Phil Davis detailed a pattern of republishing content without attribution at Emerald Publishing, formerly known as MCB University Press. Using simple keyword searching of the publisher's online journals, Davis identified 409 examples of duplicated articles from 67 journals, all "republished without notification from 1989 through 2003."

Read, The Ethics of Republishing: A Case Study of Emerald/MCB University Press Journals by Philip M. Davis
Life Sciences Bibliographer.


Local Vendor Helps Out Elementary School Library

Carpet One, a retailer in NW Arkansas, ran a contest to donate carpeting to a local school library and the Jefferson Elementary School (Springdale AR) was the winner. But in view of the fact that the school is soon to be replaced with a new building, Carpet One agreed to donate the equivalent sum of cash ($2,000) in lieu of the new carpet.

The article includes some interesting details about possible 'voting irregularities' regarding which school was to receive the carpet (i.e., stuffing the ballot box, no touch screens involved), but the story has a happy ending, from NW Arkansas News.


End of the Run for Boston Bookstore

After a successful run of nearly 25 years, WordsWorth Books in Harvard Square is closing on Saturday.

The couple who own the store, Donna Friedman and Hillel Stavis, also own a children's bookstore, Curious George Goes to WordsWorth, which they will continue to own and run.

Of course, this is only the most recent in an increasing number of independent bookstores that cannot survive the growth of bookstore chains and Internet sales. Story from Bookweb



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