bookstore, San Diego, Calif., plans to add a second location in Redondo Beach this summer, with grand opening events to be held in October. The original bookstore opened in 1993, and co-owners Maryelizabeth Hart, Terry Gilman and Jeff Mariotte cited an active program of author appearances and off-site events, a knowledgeable staff and a deep selection in specific genres as reasons why it has become a successful specialty store.
"There's so much bad news in the industry right now--bankruptcies, store closings and the like--but the fact is that there are opportunities for growth," said Hart. "Mysterious Galaxy has always been about combining our love of books with an emphasis on creating community, and exercising sound business judgment. We expect the Redondo Beach location to continue setting standards for excellence throughout the bookselling world."
Gilman has tested the waters in the Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach area with Ladies, Lunch, and Literacy, a popular book-and-author series she launched in 2008. The response was a significant factor in their decision to expand into the South Bay area. The new store will occupy 4,000 square feet of a 6,000 square foot building at 2810 Artesia Boulevard, with the remaining footage occupied by a café. It will continue the focus on Mysterious Galaxy's current specialties--mystery, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and horror--but with a wider selection of books outside those genres.
Will bookstores eventually be able to sell Kindle books? Cnet reported that Amazon might be working on a way to circumvent Apple's new rules on subscriptions by utilizing the Kindle app for iOS, citing a blog post by author Chuck Toporek. Amazon's Kindle for the Web, which is still in beta, currently lets people read chapter previews of Kindle e-books in their browsers. "While this works seamlessly on the desktop and iPad, getting Kindle for the Web to work on an iPhone takes a little extra work, but it can be done," Toporek noted.
The Kindle for the Web page also makes some intriguing "coming soon" promises, including:
- Read the full text of Kindle books in your web browser. No download or installation required.
- Bookstores, authors, retailers, bloggers and other website owners will be able to offer Kindle books from their own sites, let their readers start enjoying the full text of these books instantly, and earn affiliate fees for doing so.
Toporek suggested "the reason we haven't heard Jeff Bezos screaming about this recent change to the IAP rules is because Amazon isn't worried. They have a solution already in beta testing and it works just fine. Instead of using the Kindle app, iOS users can just point Safari to Amazon's site, buy the Kindle e-book, and read it right there in Safari. No app required."
Google's web-based Android Market is also experimenting with the e-book business. PC Magazine investigated an IntoMobile.com report Thursday that e-books had begun to appear (including Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life), but initially "was unable to pull up any e-books when it checked the site's listings, and neither the book's author, Carol Sklenicka, nor the title of the book returned any hits in the search results. Later, however, the e-book capability appeared."
Bookselling This Week reported that 25 new ABA member bookstores opened in 2010, "with several filling voids left by the closing of chain stores. The openings, and neighborhood response, suggest growing support for locally owned businesses, along with continued support for bricks-and-mortar stores."
Bill Skees, owner of Well Read, Hawthorne, N.J., said, "The great thing about this first year is that every day is a record day. I hear almost daily, 'I can't believe that Hawthorne has its own bookstore!' "
Hub City Bookshop Spartanburg, S.C., "has been going extremely well," said Erin Haire. "We are Spartanburg's only independent bookstore, so folks are very happy about that. We exceeded our 12-month sales goal in our first six months, and that is due in large part to the community response."
Kim Krajniak, owner of Blue Phoenix Books, Alpena, Mich., "received a great welcome from the community [and] exceeded Christmas-time projections by 50%.... Overall, Alpena is happy to have a bookstore again."
Some 40 people recently attended the second organizational meeting to
start a new bookstore in Nashville, Tenn., to replace the Davis-Kidd
Booksellers that closed at the end of last year, according to literary
agent Mary Grey James. Attendees included public library staff and board
members, former David-Kidd employees, publishers reps and authors.
Former Nashvillians Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman of Paz &
Associates flew in for the meeting and gave advice. Donna spoke of the
need for an "organic growth of a passionate people" and pointed out the
basic steps to this "creative challenge" of finding the right location
and that effective person who will be "the face of the store" to the
One result of the meeting: a committee is being formed
to look for a store location, secure financial backing and find an
entrepreneurial person to manage the store. The coordinator and contact
person is Karen Hayes, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon may be closing its distribution center in Texas, but the "space-hungry" company, "which already has long-term leases for nearly 2 million square feet of office space in greater downtown Seattle over the past three years, is poised to take another big chunk," the Seattle Times wrote in reference to 1918 Eighth Avenue, a Denny Triangle tower "that was completed in late 2009 and has remained mostly empty. On Amazon's behalf, a contractor filed a permit application this week with the city Department of Planning and Development for tenant improvements to floors 4 through 19 of the 36-story tower."
Kate Joncas, president of the Downtown Seattle Association, said, "When a company like Amazon locates downtown, it has a huge impact. Its large employee base impacts our housing market, attracts other businesses to the area, and helps to add vibrancy to an entire neighborhood, as we're seeing in South Lake Union."
An additional 75 Borders stores could be added to the 200 locations announced as closing when Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Andy Graiser, co-president of DJM Realty--which is managing the disposition project--told Chain Store Age: "There could be at least another 70 to 75 stores to liquidate over the next 30 days. We are currently working with a number of landlords to renegotiate the leases; during the next 30 days we will save some stores and others will go into the next round of closings. This is a very common procedure, as retailers in bankruptcy typically go through more than one round of store closings."
In Iran, a tough economy and stricter government control of publishing are having a negative impact on booksellers. Reuters reported that the head of Sales bookshop and publishing house "made the news recently when he said he was considering closing down his famous shop. Mohammad Ali Jafarieh told the semi-official ILNA news agency in January that more than 40 Tehran bookshops had already closed."
"Customers often ask if there is a discount on book prices. I ask you, do you get a discount on a sandwich?" said Pejman Soltani, owner of Vistar bookshop in downtown Tehran. He cited the end of government subsidies and general price increases as new threats. "When the time comes for the substantial price rises, I think people will omit books from the shopping basket."
Despite the challenges of running a bookstore in Iran, Soltani said he would continue for now: "The sale (of books) here is the outcome of years of work and perseverance. It is also the result of our passion for culture, although this passion sometimes borders on stupidity."
Nancy Bass Wyden, co-owner of New York City's legendary Strand bookstore spoke with the Daily Beast about the world of bookselling after Borders's bankruptcy.
"Because we are a family-owned business, we are able to make changes quickly in response to the needs and desires of our customers--we recently overhauled our website, which makes up about 25% of our annual sales; we added a nostalgic candy line so customers can reward themselves after shopping; and we are close to adding a stationery 'store' within the store as stationery is very popular with our customers," she said.
Asked if there is a future for traditional bookstores, she observed: "I really believe there is. I know so many people who love their e-reader for traveling but still prefer handling a book when they are in the comfort of their home. I think traditional bookstores just have to think outside the box and listen to their customers. Traditional bookstores can offer a unique space for community-building, where people can share ideas."
In a letter to his customers, Charlie Leonard, owner of the Bookcase of Wayzata, Wayzata, Minn., said he hopes to relocate the bookstore rather than close it, and is looking for "a more affordable spot" downtown, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
"We have made no secret over the past few months about the struggles we are facing in our uphill battle to simply break even," he wrote. "To that end, we have come to recognize that our No. 1 problem right now is the cost of renting our building.... Our lease at 607 East Lake Street does not expire for a few more years. However, we have reached an agreement with our landlord to begin actively looking for a new tenant for our space now--in the hopes that we can relocate as quickly as possible."
Teresa Carbajal Ravet, for whom "food and language lie at the center of her culture," owns Dulce Bread & Bookshop, Dripping Springs, Tex., and Bookselling This Week showcased her bookstore as well as her mission "to introduce and familiarize the U.S. community with the ethnic community of artists."
Dulce Bread & Bookshop has been open for a year. "I've been pleasantly surprised by the excitement it has generated," she said. "We have been steadily growing. There have been some tough times, obviously, and last year was very iffy, but [the store] is showing a lot of promise."
She added that her "relation to books and food is that I can't have one without the other. Because I have a multicultural store, promoting cultural awareness, it is my instinct to promote cultural sweet bread.... This is just what we do in my culture. If I have a book, a piece of bread, and a cup of coffee, I'm good to go."
Independent bookstores in western Connecticut are "hanging in," the Litchfield County Times reported, noting that "among the longtime establishments with a devoted clientele" are the Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot; House of Books, Kent; and Bank Street Book Nook, New Milford; as well as a "a crop of antiquarian booksellers." The only Borders bookstore in the region will be closing.
"For many people, unfortunately, over the years, those stores have become their local bookstores," said Hickory Stick owner Fran Keilty. "The disadvantage of a box store is it's a corporate structure. We're not a corporate structure; we're deeply imbedded in our local community, which is Litchfield County, and we're looking forward to being around for a long time."
In response to recent events in Egypt and other North African and Middle Eastern countries, Books for Understanding, a public service of the Association of American University Presses, has compiled a bibliography of more than 160 titles "on Egypt's politics, history, economy, and culture to shed a brighter light on today's events."
Check this out, library fans: Matador Trips featured a stunning photo essay, "Amazing Libraries Around the World."
John le Carré has donated his literary archive to Oxford University's Bodleian Library. Included among the collection are handwritten and typed drafts of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy under its original working title, The Reluctant Autumn of George Smiley, the Telegraph reported.
Literary Lost & Found Dept.: The Daily Mail reported that a "long-forgotten yellowed manuscript, which had spent decades gathering dust," is a previously unseen novel by U.K. children's author Enid Blyton. Mr. Tumpy's Caravan is the 180-page "tale of a magical caravan and the travels of its inhabitants."
For NPR's Three Books series, Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, chose Three Books to Rescue Nordic Lit From the Dark Side: Silence in October by Jens Christian Grondahl, The Summer Book by Tove Jansson and Quicksand by Nella Larsen.
Book trailer of the day: The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (Open Road Media e-book), featuring Henry Louis Gates, Jr.