This summer Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster are launching Bookish, a website that aims to "provide readers--from the most casual to the most dedicated--with a personalized experience connecting them with their favorite authors and books through original editorial features, unique tools and more."
Bookish said it will be editorially independent and offer "great content about books and authors from a variety of publishers." Users will be able to buy print and digital books directly or through retailers. Bookish said it is "dedicated to working closely with book retailers, and in the coming weeks will reach out to explore ways to complement the retailers' efforts and enhance all reader experiences."
The AOL Huffington Post Media Group is partnering with the three publishers on the project both to use its content on its sites and to help sell ads. Paulo Lemgruber, who formerly developed and ran digital businesses at Comcast and Reed Elsevier, is the CEO. Charlie Rogers, formerly editor-in-chief of digital media at NBC Universe, is editor-in-chief. Rogers earlier worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Paris Review.
David Shanks, CEO of Penguin Group, told the New York Times: "We thought it would be really good if we could come up with a site that embraced all the amazing marketing materials that publishers have been doing on their own sites and put them together on one site, with the purpose of answering the question for the consumer, 'Which book should I read next?' " Readers will also be able to recommend books to each other.
Lemgruber said Bookish will work with "the entire publishing and bookselling community to make Bookish an exciting destination that will delight readers." According to the Times, the three publishers will finance Bookish until it becomes profitable.
One bitish of confusion already: Booki.sh is an Australian site affiliated with ebooks.readings.com.au, the main digital site of the Melbourne, Australia, bookseller, that connects publishers with independent booksellers and is a personal library application.
Less than 24 hours after Amazon.com filed
a lawsuit against the National Association of College Stores declaring its
advertising is true and not misleading, the National Advertising Division of the
Better Business Bureau dismissed a NACS complaint about Amazon advertising that
had precipitated the lawsuit (Shelf Awareness, May 5, 2011).
The decision by the National Advertising
Division came because of the lawsuit, filed by Amazon in its hometown of
Seattle. According to NACS's Campus Marketplace, the dismissal letter to the
association said that the inquiry was closed because "the challenged
claims are now the subject of pending litigation."
NACS general counsel Mark Fleischaker said
that Amazon's suit was "simply an effort by Amazon to move to a more
friendly forum for a review of its advertising."
Amazon's move also has raised the stakes
concerning Amazon's advertising. (NACS has objected to Amazon's assertion that students
can save up to 30% on new textbooks and up to 90% on used textbooks.) The Better
Business Bureau's review would have been confidential until a decision was made
and would have had no enforcement provision. The Amazon suit also seeks a judgment
that Amazon is not in violation of the Lanham Act, which prohibits trademark infringement,
trademark dilution and false advertising.
Fleischaker added that NCAS plans to file "a
motion to dismiss the Amazon complaint and will decide how to proceed on the
false-advertising claims at an appropriate time. We are disappointed that NAD
decided that it could not proceed because the matter is now pending in court,
but in no way do we expect that to be the end of the story."
may "double down on its economic and political bets in Tennessee" by
building three more distribution centers in Nashville and/or Knoxville.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
reported that an April 29 state filing indicated the company "would
invest $180 million and employ about 1,700 full-time workers and 2,000
part-time or seasonal workers within two years. That would more than
double the $139 million investment Amazon is making with distribution
centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties."
Dave Clark, v-p of
Amazon's North American operations, said the company is "looking at
expanding our commitment to Tennessee because the state is committed to
Amazon." The revelation, which comes in the wake of Amazon's recent
sales tax feuds with South Carolina and Texas, "could raise the stakes
as some top Republican legislators push to make the company collect
sales taxes on Tennessee sales," the Times Free Press wrote.
Another Time Books has opened in the ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt, N.Y., according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
The store sells new and used books, games and used CDs and DVDs and is owned by Andrew Corely and Bob Gray. Gray is the owner of the late Twilight Books & Games; Corely is a bookselling newbie.
Corely said that the mall managers were "fantastic. Very accommodating. This is the space we had in mind and this was the space they had in mind for us. It came together very quickly."
Yesterday's New York Times Book Review featured an essay on booksellers who write--or writers who work or worked or will work in bookstores. Among the current bookseller-writers mentioned are Emma Straub of BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y., Ellen Meeropol, the Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass., Jennifer Close, Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.; and Jami Attenburg, who works Saturdays at WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Among authors who used to work in bookstores are rocker Patti Smith, who worked at Brentano's and Scribner's Bookstore in New York City; Jonathan Lathem, who worked in Moe's, Berkeley, Calif., and helped found Red Gap Books, a used bookstore in Blue Hill, Me.; and Larry McMurtry, whose huge store, Booked Up, is in Archer City, Tex.
Then there are bookseller-author-publishers, such as Kevin Sampsell, who works at Powell's Book, Portland, Ore., has a press called Future Tense Books and has published several books.
Book Court stands out in the bookseller-writer world. General manager Zack Zook estimated that three-quarters of the staff, including Emma Straub, are writers. In addition, Adam Wilson is a Book Court alumnus who met his editor of his
forthcoming novel at the store. And Zook just hired Martha
Southgate, whose fourth novel is coming out this fall.
Congratulations to Anderson's Book Shop, Larchmont, N.Y., which celebrated its 65th anniversary on Saturday, according to the Larchmont Patch.
Owner Tamara Greeman's husband, Peter, bought the store in 2000, largely because the founder, Charles Anderson, "had written his college recommendation and shaped what he had read about and talked about," Greeman said. "He considered him to have been a mentor and figured that he owed him something."
Over the years, Greeman has added stationery, picture frames, art supplies, puzzles, games and jewelry to the store's mix. It also has helped that the family bought the store's building.
Anderson's should be celebrating more significant anniversaries: Greeman's son, Tim, "will likely take over when she retires," the Patch noted.
Two used bookstores in Fort Wayne, Ind.,
are closing, the Fort Wayne Examiner reported. The pair are the Book Rack,
founded in 1975 and a Book Rack franchise, and Village Books, founded in 2000.
The future for indie bookstores in Ann Arbor, Mich., as hometown giant Borders Group contracts was the focus of AnnArbor.com's piece in which Bill Zirinsky, co-owner of Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room,
said, "Bookstores will make it through these dark ages. We certainly
will." He also noted that specializing worked to his shop's advantage:
"If you're interested in our core subject areas--integrative medicine
and holistic health, spiritual traditions across the globe, and
psychological insight--then there are very few bookstores in the country
with our depth of inventory."
Nicola Rooney, owner of Nicola's Books,
said, "I think our peak year was about 2002, and then it has been
stable and steadily declining--in terms of sales--ever since then. In
terms of profitability, I've gotten cleverer. We don't do a lot of
things that we used to do that were not worth doing. Sadly, very sadly, I
say this, a lot of advertising, particularly with NPR--underwriting,
which was very expensive, it was the right thing to do, but
unfortunately not very economically justifiable. We used to advertise
regularly three to four times a week in the Ann Arbor paper. We don't do
Robin Agnew, co-owner of Aunt Agatha's bookstore, observed that used books "keep our doors open in the slow months and... get customers in the door."
added, "Everyone says how wonderful Borders used to be. There is a lot
of sadness, and fondness for how it was. It used to be the kind of place
where you could walk in and ask them for anything and they would know
what you wanted. I think they dug their own grave unfortunately by
getting rid of all the people who knew anything about books because the
upper levels seemed to feel that you didn't need to know anything about
books in order to run a bookstore, and I think they've been proven
A humorous look at bookstore closings may
seem like a comedic stretch, but the McSweeney's series "Open Letters to
People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond" featured a missive from
Jen Mueller, "soon-to-be ex-bookstore employee," to "Customers Shopping the Liquidation Sale at the Bookstore Where I Work." A sampling:
this store is closing. I understand the four-foot tall signs that
scream STORE CLOSING! in bold primary colors are somewhat subtle and
easily overlooked. To be fair, there are only like 500 of them. We
really should have more signs if we expect you to get the message.
right: it is completely rude of me to simply nod and point to the
nearest sign when you ask me if this store is closing. I should be a lot
nicer, especially since my job will die as soon as I finish digging its
"It also makes complete sense to me that you would
believe a store that is liquidating its inventory and closing forever is
still receiving new books, or that if you can't find a book I can order
it for you. I also understand your anger and frustration with the fact
that we have no computer system to check our inventory for a book you
want despite that you don't remember the title or author, or even
whether it's fiction or non. These are all things I would have been able
to do a few weeks ago, when we were still a store. The fact that I
can't do any of these things now must be baffling."
Woody Allen's top five books. For the Guardian, Allen selected "the books that have made most impact on him as a film-maker and comic writer."
Cool idea of the day: Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., is co-sponsoring the inaugural edition of the Chuckanut Writers Conference, which will be held Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, and will be held on the campus of co-sponsor Whatcom Community College. The conference is geared toward emerging and experienced writers, will focus on the craft of writing and is "cross-genre." A portion of the proceeds from the conference go to the Whatcom Literacy Council.
Conference faculty includes a range of writers and agents. Besides panels, breakout sessions, readings and book signings, the conference concludes with open mic events for participants in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham.
Book trailer of the day: Queen of Kings by
Maria Dahvana Headley (Dutton).
Michelle Aielli has been promoted to director of publicity, Little, Brown. She joined the company in 2004 as a publicity manager focusing on James Patterson titles and has worked on campaigns for a range of other imprint authors.
Sabrina Callahan has been promoted to assistant director of publicity, James Patterson. She joined the company in 2007 as a senior publicist and played a major role in the launch of Mulholland Books.