Could World Book Night be coming to the U.S.? The Bookseller reported that the American Booksellers Association is exploring the possibility of replicating a version of the event, "which saw 20,000 people give away one million books from 25 selected titles on March 5 this year. It is thought the U.S. will hold the event on April 23, 2012, along with the U.K. and other countries yet to confirm their collaboration."
Julia Kingsford, WBN CEO, said foreign involvement would encourage an international dialogue about books and help "close the gap" between different cultures and nationalities, the Bookseller wrote. "America will be a wonderful partner to have and we are looking forward to the prospect of working with them and developing that partnership," Kingsford observed.
ABA CEO Oren Teicher told the Bookseller that adopting World Book Night for the U.S was one of a number of transatlantic projects under consideration that are designed to increase cooperation between the U.K. and American book industries: "We are convinced that booksellers from around the world have much to learn from one another... and [we are] also exploring whether we can replicate some version of your World Book Night on our side of the Atlantic."
"Our point of view on this is that we should simplify the sales tax system, and we've been insisting on this for 10 years," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in an interview yesterday at Consumer Reports' headquarters in New York City. "We support the streamlined sales tax initiative, and 22 states have signed on. The right way to fix this is with federal legislation. Sales tax is very complicated. We're no different from big chains of retailers. They don't collect sales tax in states where they don't have nexus either. So everyone is following the same rules."
Bezos also noted that Amazon will continue to drop affiliates in states that require the company to collect sales taxes from their local marketing partners. "The big affiliates will pick up and move, which we're grateful for," he said, adding that the tax laws don't just affect Amazon. "People who make money through affiliate programs, usually Amazon's just a piece of their business and they all get affected by these new laws. It makes sense for them to do something different."
Audible has launched ACX,
the Audiobook Creation Exchange, that allows "any professionally
published book, new or old, to become a professionally produced
audiobook." The site links authors, publishers and agents with narrators
and studios who work in a variety of ways: deals and contracts have
several structures. Audio titles that evolve from ACX are distributed by
Audible (including Amazon and iTunes) for at least seven years, either
exclusively or nonexclusively. Authors can also narrate their own
works. (Check out a video about this audio venture here.)
was launched in part because of "the tremendous demand for audiobooks
created by the growth of the digital audiobook sector," which is
regularly the second-fastest-growing category next to e-books in the
Association of American Publisher monthly sales reports. Noting that the
average Audible members listens to close to 17 audiobooks a year,
Donald Katz, founder and CEO of Audible, said, "Close to 95% of new,
professionally published books do not become audiobooks. Most authors
and millions of avid listeners are disenfranchised from this important
market. ACX was created to change this."
ACX launches with more
than 1,000 titles listed. ACX also includes some 100 audiobook narrators
and producers, including Dick Hill, Bill Dufris, Tavia Gilbert and Paul
Boehmer. In addition, author Neil Gaiman is using ACX to create his own
line, called Neil Gaiman Presents, consisting of titles by other
authors never before available in unabridged audio. "I'm constantly
astonished at how many great books, beloved books and books that have a
special place in my heart are not and mostly never have been available
as audiobooks," he said. "ACX seems a brilliant way to change that."
Laredo, Tex., ends a year-long bookstore drought--as well as the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the U.S. without a single bookseller--today by celebrating the opening of a new Books-a-Million location. The Associated Press (via the Houston Chronicle) reported that a spokeswoman for the city said the new store occupies a former B.Dalton space that was closed by Barnes & Noble.
Diesel, A Bookstore's return to Malibu may be sooner than anticipated. When the indie bookseller announced this winter it was closing the Malibu location because of landlord and construction issues (Shelf Awareness, February 10, 2011), co-owners John Evans and Alison Reid said they hoped "to open a new iteration" of the shop before the end of the year.
The Malibu Patch reported that at Monday's City Council meeting, Malibu Country Mart owner Michael Koss said he has a "lease out for signature with DIESEL." In an e-mail, Evans confirmed: "We are in negotiation on a lease and hope to work something out within the next few weeks."
Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore, Nashville, Tenn., is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Owner Yusef Harris told the Tennessean that when he launched the store in 1986, "I wanted products that reflect African-American heritage and culture and improve one's self-esteem. At the time, there were no resources for black art and black books. People would come in and say, 'I want that Cosby art,' because there was an awakening and awareness in the black community."
Harris said his bookshop "works because I am selling niche products that could not be found in other stores. It is my business to know what book Tom Joyner is talking about on his radio show or what books are props in black films for when people come in and say, 'Do you know that book? I can't remember the title but I heard (about) it on the radio.' "
He also travels frequently to promote his bookstore, and these "ventures have helped Alkebu-Lan Images become a destination for African-American tourists in Nashville and for people on college tours," the Tennessean wrote.
"That national base has become a big part of my success," he said. "About 10% of the business comes from colleges and education centers. Another 30% comes from conventions and festivals."
Confession is good for a bookseller's soul. The staff at Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., compiled a list of "books that some of us at VB have never read... and never plan on reading," noting that "even though we love to read, we don't love to read everything. We're not just referring to the schlock that's out there. We're talking classics. Bestsellers. Books that everyone in the world has read (except us). The books that when they come up in conversation, we leave the room, or manage to weed through the discussion based on the CliffsNotes that we read."
"What your literary tote bag says about you." Vol. 1 Brooklyn's sociological and psychological analysis of the not-always-so-humble tote offered some revealing insights, including:
"The Strand Bookstore tote: You probably don't really live in New York. Either that or you're a freshman at NYU.
"The Barnes & Noble tote: You really enjoy that copy of Freedom you bought last week. Have fun reading it on your way back to Westchester."
Booksellers in rebel-held regions of Libya are benefiting from the freedom to stock titles long banned by the Gaddafi regime. Reuters reported that "newly uncensored works on history and religion and books by opposition exiles are most popular, say booksellers in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi."
"People are thirsty for knowledge, to know about their history," said bookseller Yusuf al-Muahaishi of the al Tamour bookshop in central Benghazi. "Books about the history of Libya were banned or censored. They mostly had to be about Gaddafi."
Charlaine Harris is the fourth member--joining Stieg Larsson, James Patterson and Nora Roberts--of the Kindle Million Club, having sold more than one million paid units in the Kindle Store.
Time to hit the beach reads again. The Telegraph opened the season with "Summer fiction: around the world in 24 books."
In the Guardian, Sam Leith, author of The Coincidence Engine, chose his top 10 novels "in which reality gets just a little bit bendy."
You know those built-in bookshelves you've always dreamed of having in your house or apartment? Apparently there fewer people like you than there used to be. Crain's Chicago Business reported that "with sales of e-book titles surpassing those of paper-and-ink volumes, homeowners are moving on."
Re/Max broker associate Lynn Fairfield said clients are drywalling over bookcases to make room for flat-screen televisions: "When I show houses, I never see books lined up on shelves anymore. If there are shelves, they're usually filled with sports trophies or photos or knickknacks."
"History’s Most Distinguished Literary Hair." Flavorwire noted that in preparing for the New York Public Library’s centennial exhibition, library curators found "some unexpected bounty in the stacks, a lock of Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley’s hair. Macabre as it seems, bestowing locks of hair on friends, family members, and lovers was common practice in the 19th century, and locks of hair from many renowned writers accompany the NYPL’s vast collections of manuscripts, notebooks, and letters."
Book trailer of the day: Janitors by Tyler Whitesides, illustrated by Brandon Dorman (Shadow Mountain Publishing), the first title in a new series.