Very sad news from Vermont, which is suffering some of the worst flooding in its history as a result of Hurricane Irene: Bartleby's Books in Wilmington is ruined, according to owner Lisa Sullivan. The building was flooded but is still standing. In an e-mail, she wrote, "We plan to rebuild as soon as possible." For now, she is awaiting FEMA and will then need help removing the contents of the store.
This is the second disaster of 2011 for Sullivan, treasurer of the New England Independent Booksellers Associations. She also owns the Book Cellar in Brattleboro, which closed indefinitely after a fire in its building, the historic Brooks House, four months ago (Shelf Awareness, April 19, 2011).
Luckily other booksellers on the East Coast survived the storm with little or no damage. Some booksellers used the hurricane to remind people of the value of reading and bookstores, as evidenced by our images of the day (below). Others did so online, and our favorite Hurricane Irene-related bookstore post, from Saturday morning:
"We opened a little bit earlier so you can get a head start on your day! You'll definitely need books to get you and your family through this storm...and if the power goes out, you'll need booklights. We have both! Come on by and pick up the essentials! (We have candles, too). Stay safe." --Boulevard Books & Café, Brooklyn, N.Y.
If living through Hurricane Irene just whetted your appetite, check out "Books about hurricanes for adults, children" in the International Business Times.
The Wall Street Journal outlines changes in the economics of the book business from the publishers' point of view, mainly because of the growth of e-books and the closing of Borders.
Even though 80% of all books sold are traditional printed books, publishers are "reducing advances, slimming print runs and cutting fixed costs to reflect the new economics."
One unintended consequence of lower print runs is the higher expense of reprints as well as problems for booksellers finding enough copies of popular titles.
Carole Horne, general manager of the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., commented: "What we're seeing is that big books come into the store, and then they are out of stock almost immediately."
The tablet rumor mill grinds on. Amazon will introduce an Android-powered tablet in late September or October that will "sell for hundreds less than the entry-point $499 iPad," an unnamed source "with knowledge of the plans" told the New York Post, which noted that the recent HP TouchPad fire sale (Shelf Awareness, August 24, 2011) "proved that the market is hungry for tablets outside of Apple’s iPad--if the price is right."
The cheap tablet arena probably won't be Amazon's alone, however. "We expect to see more and more lower-end, more-affordable Android devices enter the marketplace, which should further allow Android to increase its share,” said Tony Berkman, CEO of ITG Investment Research.
PC World's Garett Sloane observed that Amazon's "loss leader" approach to marketing tablets may foster a price war that "will benefit everybody. I'm willing to bet that Apple will even join in and possibly bring the cost of the iPad down a bit, too. Let's remember the company had about a year head start on everybody, so its manufacturing costs have likely fallen to a point where it could drop the price and still make a hefty profit. I think it's a perfect time for an iPad price drop. Just in time for the holiday season. That could make things very interesting."
Congratulations to Pudd'nhead Books, which moved over the weekend to 8157 Big Bend Road, Webster Groves, Mo. On Saturday, some 115 people showed up to make a human chain to pass books to the new location. The two sites are about 600 ft. apart.
Bookstore not closing! Last month, Kathleen Cantrell, owner of Erie Book Store, Erie, Pa., announced that she would be closing the 90-year-old business at the end of August (Shelf Awareness, July 11, 2011).
But last Friday Cantrell signed the papers to sell the bookshop to Erie native Eric Turowski, who had dreamed of moving from California back to Erie to run a bookstore. The Times-News reported that a call from his sister about the bookshop's imminent closure "sent him scrambling to read the story online. It was just what he had been looking for."
"I am most pleased to see the buyer continue the tradition," said Cantrell, who will continue to work part-time at the shop. "It is a joy to find someone who is simply interested in running a bookstore."
Turowski must move the shop from its Lovell Place location, and plans to reopen at the Palace Business Centre within a few weeks. His fiancé, Mimi Marte, worked in California bookstores and expressed excitement about the new location. "It has a wow factor when you walk in," she said. "It's clean and it's move-in ready."
All on the Same Page Bookstore, Creve Coeur, Mo.--which will open October 1--"is not aiming to be all things for all people. The bookstore will primarily feature used books but will also include newly published books, however not necessarily the New York Times bestseller types of books," the Creve Coeur Patch reported.
"We're going to be a small, old-time, comfortable place where you can come in, look for books, sit down, read for a bit and if we don't have the book you're looking for, we'll find it for you," said owner Robin Tidwell, adding, "I want to focus on local writers and publishers."
Operating on the theory that a "man's character lives in the books he loves," the Washington Post analyzed former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney's reading list, as culled from books he mentions in his new memoir In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, which will be released tomorrow.
Tasty book trailer of the day: Spork-Fed: Super Fun and Flavorful Vegan Recipes from the Sisters of Spork Foods by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg (St. Lynn's Press/IPS), which will be served October 1.
Heidi Sachner is joining Perseus Distribution as director of client services, replacing Sarah Coglianese, who has left the company to have more time with her daughter.
Sachner was formerly associate publisher, sales and marketing, at Newmarket Press for nine years, and before that was v-p, director of sales, at Random House for six years.