Notes: Bodhi Tree to Close
Sad news: The Bodhi Tree, West Hollywood, Calif., the best-known spiritual and metaphysical bookstore in the country, will close in a year, according to the L.A. Weekly.
In part, the move is a real estate deal: Phil Thompson and Stan Madson, who founded the the Bodhi Tree in 1970 after leaving their careers as aerospace engineers, are selling the building to a real estate owner who leases space to other retailers in the area. Noting that property values on Melrose Avenue, where the store is located, have risen dramatically over the years and that "real estate agents have been circling the Bodhi Tree like vultures," L.A. Weekly wrote: "In the end, selling the property became a much more profitable option than continuing to sell books."
After a long period of growth, in recent years the store had to adjust to a new age: "Twenty years ago we felt like it was an expanding situation," Madson told the paper. "We were concerned the store was getting too big. We had a staff of 100. Publishing was expanding. Spirituality was expanding. But what changed was that the market became widely dispersed." Like feminist and gay and lesbian bookstores, for example, the titles the store stocked that were largely unavailable elsewhere became easily available at mainstream indie and chain stores and then online.
We were lucky enough to see the store again a year and a half ago and will miss the crowded narrow aisles with nook after nook full of interesting books and related products, the trademarked creaky floors, the homemade, solid bookcases--all making for a fine mix of earthy and ethereal.
Cool translation idea of the day: Idlewild Books, New York, N.Y., will
host two events in conjunction with Three Percent's Best Translated
Book Award. On February 16 at 7 p.m., the fiction shortlist will be
announced and a panel discussion held. The winner will be named during
a reception at Idlewild on March 10 at 7 p.m.
The Best Translated Book Award 25-title fiction longlist was released last week (Shelf Awareness, January 8, 2010). Three Percent is featuring one of these books each day on its website. Idlewild is showcasing all 25 books in a special display section and offering a 20% discount.
The Morning News's sixth annual Tournament of Books, modeled on the NCAA's March Madness, has lined up its panel of judges and 16 novels, including a graphic novel and short story collection. The literary games begin March 9.
"Why were there no book publishers at CES?" asked author Jason Pinter in a Huffington Post article chronicling his trip to last weekend's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"Authors seem to always be on the cutting edge of technology," he wrote. "They're the ones who convinced publishers that blogs could help promote books. They're the ones who got onto Twitter and Facebook and cultivated and enhanced readerships. Publishers followed suit, of course, but it was always after enough people said, 'Why aren't you doing this?' For once, I would like to see publishing be the vanguard. I would love to see a few booths out west, stocked with publisher representatives and a cadre of authors with fresh ideas and wonderful content and new perspectives."
One of our favorite works of literature has fallen--or risen. The next Quirk Classic, appearing in June, is Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters!
Very sad news: Bob Simoneaux, co-owner of Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, Pa., died Monday night after a long illness. We'll have more information about a service in the near future.
Three decades ago, Simoneaux and his wife, Kathy, worked in New York City--he as a sales manager for a publisher, she as a B&N buyer--when they decided to move and buy a bookstore, more at Bob's behest than hers. In 1982, they bought Margaret Alburn Bookseller, which became Chester County Book Company (music was added later).
Legendary literary agent and book editor Knox Burger died January 4 at age 87. The New York Times has an extensive obituary of the man it called "a fierce advocate of writers and writing who didn't suffer pretenders gladly" and "one of the book industry's notoriously crusty personages"--quite a distinction in this biz.
Effective immediately with new releases in February, books by Joy Berry, the child development expert who has written some 250 titles and sold more than 85 million copies of them, will be sold and distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Perseus Distribution.
The books will be available as a branded line and are offered by Joy Berry Enterprises.