Another sign of Borders Group's problems. Last Thursday the New York Stock Exchange warned that Borders will be delisted from the exchange because it has not had a minimum average closing price of $1 per share during the previous 30 trading days. The company has six months to "cure this deficiency."
Except for a brief period in mid-January, Borders has traded below $1 a share since late last year. It closed on Friday at 39 cents a share.
Borders had the same problem in early 2009, but because so many companies' shares had dropped in value following the financial meltdown, the NYSE temporarily suspended the rule and in the meantime Borders's share price rose above $1 a share (Shelf Awareness, April 17, 2009). The board had considered a reverse stock split to fix the problem.
Last Wednesday, Barnes & Noble
chairman Len Riggio sold three million GameStop shares, the bulk of his
holdings in the game retailer, for $59.7 million, according to Barron's
sold the shares for an average of $20.08 each and continues to own 618,024
shares. Riggio founded and was chairman of GameStop and predecessors from 1996 to 2002.
Barnes & Noble bought the company from Riggio, then spun it off in 2004.
Commenting on the sale, a spokesman for
GameStop wrote in an e-mail to Barron's: "Mr. Riggio is always evaluating
his portfolio of holdings and is adjusting for estate planning and the ability
to support many of his philanthropic efforts."
Like music retailers and booksellers to an
extent so far, GameStop has seen many customers download products online.
A front page article in Saturday's New York Times highlighted a jump in sales of YA e-books this year:
- At HarperCollins, e-books accounted for 25% of all YA sales in January, up from 6% a year earlier.
- At Simon & Schuster, Clockwork Angel and the Night World series nearly doubled e-book sales in the four weeks after Christmas compared to the four weeks beforehand.
- St. Martin's had a slightly different measure: there YA books account for 20% of all e-books sold so far in 2011, up from 6% a year earlier.
A main reason for the jump in YA e-book sales, the Times said: "Now that e-readers are cheaper and more plentiful, they have gone mass market, reaching consumers across age and demographic groups, and enticing some members of the younger generation to pick them up for the first time." Many e-books were given as gifts during the holiday season.
The Times noted a new kind of social scene, involving "tweens and teenagers clustered in groups and reading their Nooks or Kindles together, wirelessly downloading new titles with the push of a button, studiously comparing the battery life of the devices and accessorizing them with Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade covers in hot pink, tangerine and lime green."
As for the duration of this trend, beware fickle youth. The Times wrote: "It is too soon to tell if younger people who have just picked up e-readers will stick to them in the long run, or grow bored and move on."
Bookstore1Sarasota is opening in Sarasota, Fla., March 1, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. Owner Georgia Court, a writer and retired English composition instructor at the University of Cincinnati, told the paper, "We will for the most part be stocking books that people don't know they want until they come in and browse."
The space has about 1,750 square feet and has been completely renovated. The store will employ seven people. Manager David Chaplin formerly worked at Sarasota News and Books, which closed in 2009. The store has one of our favorite bookstore mottos ever: "joie de livres."
The store's website said Bookstore1Sarasota's "focus reflects Sarasota's cultural community with a broad selection related to the performing arts, fine arts and poetry. We will also feature a section especially for writers. We are designing our space to facilitate meetings for reading groups, writing groups, speakers and book signings. We intend to be a place for celebrating the written word."
Bookstore1Sarasota is located at 1359 Main St., Sarasota, Fla. 34236; 941-365-7900.
Union Avenue Books, selling both new and used books, will open by the end of April in downtown Knoxville, Tenn., the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The owners are Flossie McNabb, a former partner in Carpe Librum Booksellers, which opened in 2004 and closed last year, and Mary and Kaveh Dabir, owners of Mr. K., which sells used books and music in Oak Ridge and Johnson City, Tenn., Asheville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C.
McNabb told the paper that the owners were attracted by "the vibrant atmosphere" of downtown Knoxville and said that the store will be smaller than Carpe Librum, where it was "a constant challenge" to keep up inventory.
Union Avenue Books will be in the Daylight Building, which was built in 1927, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been extensively renovated.
Union Avenue Books will be located at 501 W. Union Ave., Knoxville, Tenn. 37902.
In many pictures and amusing commentary, on feltandwire.com Eric Heiman captures what makes Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., many people's favorite bookstore. Check out the pics here.
iluvhaight.com has pics from Friday night's bookswap, a regular event at the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif. Friday's bookswap featured Rodes Fishburne, author of Going to See the Elephant, and Ellen Sussman, author of Dirty Girlz, and was sold out two weeks in advance. For full rules, read the blog!
The Record surveys several independent bookstores in northern New Jersey that are "holding their own in face of new challenges," as the headline put it.
Bill Skees, a former management, finance and IT consultant who opened Well Read Bookstores in Hawthorne last November, said, "I felt that this was a really good time to break into the business.... I think there is a definite place for an independent bookstore."
The gregarious Kenny Sarfin, who opened Books and Greetings in Northvale in 2007, offers a mix of stock--books, greeting cards and gifts. "When people come up to the register they have a card, they have a gift, they have a book, they have a toy," he said. "And they schmooze around the store. Nobody walks out of this store unhappy."
Befitting the store's name, Sarfin "greets regular customers by name and engages in animated conversations whenever one of them asks, 'What're you reading, Kenny?' His store's motto, he says, is 'We sell books the old-fashioned way. We read them.' "
Tom Downs, who has owned Shaw's Books in Westwood since 1977, likewise knows his stock. "We can recommend a good book, and we also try to be able to steer them away from something that's not good," he said. "We can tell them what the good reads are."
Bookends in Ridgewood continues to host 80-100 author appearances a year, accounting for about a third of the store's annual sales. Walter Boyer, who bought the store in 2002 with his wife, Pat, said that an author event "is not one that you can ever reproduce with a Kindle or an Amazon purchase. It's face-to-face interaction with somebody that you have wanted to meet and may never have another chance to meet, for the price of a book."
Womrath's in Tenafly is dealing with the growth of e-books by preparing to install a kiosk where customers can download Google e-books. Owner Bob Kutik said that community involvement has been key to business: he is a former chamber of commerce president and is involved in downtown improvement efforts. The paper said he also hosts writer workshops, holds cooking demonstrations tied to cookbooks and--in a stroke of genius for attracting male readers--has a men's book club that meets at a local bar. Womrath's has also benefitted from owning its own building.
Book trailer (or short) of the day: Damn You, Scarlett O'Hara: The Private Lives of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier by Darwin Porter and Roy Moseley (Blood Moon Productions), which features Blood Moon president and ham Danforth Prince.
The folks at Flavorwire offered their "essential cold-weather reading list for your hibernation this February."
Boing Boing showcased "glorious bookshelf porn, taken in the Faculty of Medicine library at the University of Buenos Aires."
"He learned about sex from studying classics." Flavorwire listed "97 Things You Didn't Know About William S. Burroughs."
Beginning tomorrow, the Other Press is offering the e-version of a new novella by Hervé Le Tellier, The Intervention of a Good Man, for 99 cents. Other Press newsletter subscribers can obtain the e-novella for free.
On the eve of Valentine's Day, the promotions are intended to share the love for Le Tellier's new novel, Enough About Love.
In a guest column in theatlantic.com, editor Chris Jackson remembered the agent, rep and editor Manie Barron, who died January 8 (Shelf Awareness, January 12, 2011). He wrote in part:
"Manie didn't make publishing look glamorous. He made it look like fun. He somehow combined the affect of a workhorse and a brawler and a showman--a theatrical warrior with a smokey voice and quick, enormous laugh. He was, like me, a Harlem kid whose life had been transformed by black books and who believed in their power with an evangelist's zeal--and wasn't going to apologize for it. He carried with him a confidence that no matter how small our numbers in the industry, we were right and they were wrong: he believed with religious faith that black people were book buyers, not because we were exceptional, but because we weren't. Just like anyone else, we would buy the books that were written to our experiences, our tastes, and our interests--and that were sold in places we had access to."