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Mail-Order Book Clubs' Never-Ending Story

An Anonymous Patron writes to share this relatable story from The Washington Post, "Mail-Order Book Clubs' Never-Ending Story" about the often-frustrating relationship between mail-order book clubs and their members.

"I know I'm not alone. In June, New York-based Scholastic Inc. and two of its subsidiaries, Scholastic-At-Home and Grolier Inc., agreed to pay a $710,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that the companies violated laws in the marketing of their negative-option book clubs."

[How can I get in on that money!? - A.K.]

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Book outlet closing after 36 years

The Oakland Press Reports Charles Hughes will close the book on his 36-year-old store Sept. 15. Paperbacks Unlimited survived the onslaught of big-box stores, he said, but has lost business because of a lack of readers.The public isn't reading ... to the extent that it has in the past," said Hughes, 67, of Ferndale. "That's the basic reason."

Hughes' love affair with books started in 1952 when he was a part-time employee at a bookstore on Wayne State University's campus. He loved being around books and reading, he said.

From there, he worked at other bookstores before opening his own in downtown Ferndale.

"My fascination was with the printed word," he said.

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HarperCollins Taps SMS to Promote Children's Novels

An Interesting Move By HarperCollins. They've begun an aggressive text messaging program to promote upcoming children's novels by The Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot.

The publisher will send a variety of content and promotions via SMS to Cabot fans who join the Meg Cabot Mobile Club via the author's Web site. The club is promoted via an extensive online media buy.

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Last Book Store stays

Not Much Information In this Seattle Post-Intelligencer blurb, but they say Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry won't be closing his eclectic North Texas book shop after all.

The author of "Lonesome Dove" and "Terms of Endearment" announced in February that he would shutter Booked Up Inc. in Archer City because the store had been losing customers. But McMurtry said the shop's outlook has improved due to staff cuts and an upturn in business.

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Monterey Bookstores Hope To Survive the Wave of the WWW

The Internet has had an enormous effect on both libraries and bookstores, for the better and for the worse. This article from the Monterey (CA) Herald gives us an example of just how things are going for little bookstores in this region of California (which includes Salinas).

The effect of the internet was enough to close Old Capitol Books in New Monterey, which in March shut its doors after more than 21 years in business.

Owner Cristiana St. John said that with the advent of online sales via Amazon.com and eBay, the competition was stiffer than a rare hardback cover.

"When the Internet really began to catch on," she said, "it kind of changed the equation to the extent that only a few of the booksellers continue to survive."

Monterey used to have a cluster of thriving used bookstores; many are still in business, though with different owners or names.

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Biblio is building libraries

The Asheville Citizen-Times Takes A Look at Biblio.com. Since he launched his Internet business, Sherar has seen his site mushroom into the world’s third largest Web site for used, rare and out-of-print books. Biblio lets online shoppers browse through 22 million titles online from 3,000 independent booksellers in 24 countries.

But Biblio isn’t just about putting books into buyer’s hands for a good price. The company is concerned that free books make their way into needy communities in South America. Biblio has just finished building a public library for a poor Indian village in Bolivia, with plans to build a larger library this fall near the capital of La Paz.

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Independent bookseller finds niche with authors, community

Boston Globe Correspondent sits down with the owners of the Toadstool Bookshop. This bookstore, a fixture in town for 16 years, is the youngest of the Toadstool trio of family-owned-and-operated bookstores. It is also the smallest, with 7,500 square feet of retail space. But that seems to work just fine in this southern New Hampshire community known for its quaintness.

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Guide to Tucson's local and independent bookstores

One from Arizona Daily Wildcat - Tucson, AZ that says Tucson readers are a lucky bunch. In addition to the two bookstore giants (Borders and Barnes & Noble), Tucson has a good selection of independent, locally owned bookstores, each serving their own niche in the community. Score some good reads (and some good karma points) by supporting them the next time you're feeling literary.

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Chapter one: starting a book business

The Nashville City Paper talks with Gene and Cassie McCabe who have started a business for booklovers that is part dot.com, part garage sale and part buyers' club.

The genesis for their enterprise, FrugalReader.com, came about from Gene McCabe spending money on books from bookstores, reading them and then seeing them sit on his bookshelf.

"A book is still in pretty good shape when I finish reading it and I don't generally read a book twice," he said. "Someone might like to read that book, but I don't know where that person is."

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Harry Potter and Bookselling Economics

Harry--the latest 'hot sell' that was supposed to create a margin of relief for indie booksellers instead created a lack of profitability. Several days after the 'roll out', this reporter saw bunches of Harry hardbacks stacked up at the Super Stop and Shop (next to the produce aisle) in Pittsfield MA. No pajama'ed kids, no lines of wild customers waving their money at cashiers.

And from across the Atlantic, an article from Scotland's the "Herald and Times"...

"When you think of price wars, the town of Aberfeldy (Scotland) doesn't spring to mind as a likely battleground. Even so, last Saturday, as history's most hyped novel was hoisted by forklift truck onto shelves, the town's two bookshops were a prime example of the agonising calculations that were going on all across Britain and North America over Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." More here on how books are sold these days, and how in our current economy, bookshops are essentially becoming passé.

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Document destruction industry is on a tear

Anonymous Patron writes "OrlandoSentinel.com Reports On the "anti-libraries," companies that do document shredding. "I'm in a huge growth mode right now," said Bell, who, like others in his line of work, touts the fact that all the shredded paper is recycled. Document shredding "is an exciting industry right now," he said. "The bulk of our customers are first-time users."

There's nothing new about document shredding. It may evoke images of panicky executives destroying evidence, but it's a critical step in preventing identity theft and protecting confidential information."

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Southwestern still selling books door-to-door

Neat Little Story on The Southwestern Company. They started selling Bibles door-to-door just after the Civil War, and the sales strategy hasn't changed much since.
They don't sell many Bibles anymore, but each summer 34 hundred college students can still be found tramping through neighborhoods, knocking on doors and making their sales pitches _ nowadays for educational reference books and software.

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ILS Vendors Sirsi and Dynix To Merge

Weezul noticed ILS Vendors Sirsi and Dynix To Merge. LJ Has An Annoucement. Sirsi Corporation and Dynix Corporation—the second largest and largest ILS vendors—announced this morning that they will merge. The new SirsiDynix, which will be the largest ILS vendor by far, will continue full development and support of both Sirsi’s Unicorn and Dynix’s Horizon 8.x/Corinthian.

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Calif. Borders Ruling May Set Precedent

An AP Reporter is saying An appellate court ruling against Borders Group Inc. sets a precedent that could enable California to force some major Internet retailers to start paying state sales tax for books, music and other goods sold online to state residents.

Whether California tax collectors use the precedent to go after not only Borders but Barnes & Noble Inc., Amazon.com and other online retailers remains to be seen. But independent booksellers and other "bricks-and-mortar" retailers have been cheering, saying the ruling should remove their Internet competition's unfair advantage.

Follow-up to an earlier story found here .

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California Court to Borders Online: You've Got Nexus

In out-of-state commerce, on-line retailers do not ordinarily collect sales tax, which is part of the reason prices can be set so low.

In a ruling by the California District Court of Appeals, it was determined that Borders Online LLC had nexus in California and owed back use tax because Borders Books & Music, Inc., accepted returns of Borders Online purchases. Borders Online will most likely appeal to California's Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Bookselling This Week (in which this article is included) has learned that the staff of the California BOE (Board of Equalization) has completed an audit and delivered the opinion to its Board that Barnesandnoble.com has nexus in the state and that the chain retailer owes approximately $20 million in back taxes, according to sources close to BOE. These sources report that Barnesandnoble.com is seeking a settlement with BOE, which to date has not responded.

Of course, this is in just one state--California. Could it be that the bubble is about to burst for Borders and Barnes and Noble...

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Study: Shoppers naive about retail prices online

An AP Piece reports says Most American consumers don't realize Internet merchants and even traditional retailers sometimes charge different prices to different customers for the same products, according to a new survey.Amazon.com outraged some customers in September 2000 after one buyer deleted the electronic tags on his computer that identified him as a regular customer and noticed the price of a DVD changed from $26.24 to $22.74. The company said it was the result of a random price test and offered to refund buyers who paid the higher prices.

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Data Aggregators: A Study of Data Quality and Responsiveness

This study examined he quality of data provided by ChoicePoint and Acxiom, two of the largest consumer data brokers in the United States, as well as their responsiveness to consumer requests – and found significant areas of concern in both areas.

100% of the reports given out by ChoicePoint had at least one error in them. Error rates for basic biographical data (including information people had to submit in order to receive their reports) fared almost as badly: Acxiom had an error rate of 67% and ChoicePoint had an error rate of 73%. In other words, the majority of participants had at least one such significant error in their reported biographical data from each data broker.

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Bookseller from Hell

Robin Rose Yuran writes

Bookseller From Hell

By BarbBarb Yuran

“If it’s Jim Schvantz (not real name), I’m booked to die.� The phone is ringing at the circ desk with a distinctive Schvantzy-sounding ring and I am making this dramatic slicing motion across my throat. Bookseller from Hell has been hounding me for weeks now and I have been avoiding him like head lice. He’s smarmy, he’s whiny, he’s guilt-trippy and he’s attached himself to me like a barnacle. It’s like he thinks I’ve been in pursuit of some obscure set of books- I don’t know, maybe Dust Bunnies Abroad: Country by Country- and only he has it. He makes me want to drink gin at 9:00 in the morning. He lies like the mother of all rugs. He is a rug.

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Amazon.com, Ebooks and "Chump Change"

Amazon.com, Ebooks and "Chump Change" is one from Kuro5hin By rjnagle:"

What is Amazon up to these days? Are they the friend or foe of the independent writer?

Amazon's recent purchase of two companies (Booksurge and Mobipocket) hints at a future business strategy geared not only to the long tail concept but also self-publishing in general."
Thanks Ender!

Update: 06/06 08:18 EST by R:Link fixed.

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Amazon.com Plans Audio Book Download Store

AP Says n its Web site, Amazon.com Inc. is asking publishers for audiobooks for a new download store it says it plans to open. But the Internet retailer is being coy about such key details as a launch date.

The Seattle-based company declined to say Friday when any such sales would start or how it would affect its partnership with Audible Inc., the industry-leader in sales of audio versions of books and other publications.

"We never say if or when we're going to be launching a store until we launch it," Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said.

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