Notes: Bookstores Close, Move, Open; Bad Art Winner
After nearly a quarter century with a presence in lower Manhattan in New York City, the Strand Book Store is closing its 15,000-sq.-ft. Strand Book Annex at 95 Fulton Street, effective August 31. Beginning next Monday, all inventory in the store will be discounted 20%. The Strand's flagship store at 828 Broadway and Central Park kiosks remain open for business.
The lease on the space was up for renewal, and the landlord planned to raise the rent 300%, according to the Downtown Express. Co-owner Fred Bass told the paper that construction on the street for the past year hurt business and would continue into 2009. The Strand owns the building its main store is in, so lease hikes are not a problem there.
One of the few people let into the University of Iowa's flooded main bookstore, director George Herbert Jr., told the National Association of College Stores's Campus Marketplace that the damage was "pretty bad."
The store had been renovated two years ago. "I don't know how to explain how it felt. Your heart just drops down to your stomach a little bit. All the work we put into it, getting the renovation approved, and two years of work, just to have it totally wrecked."
He added, "Anybody that doesn't believe water is not powerful should have chance to see this. There were stoves knocked over, freezers pushed over--it was just amazing."
To read the full story, click here.
A 15,500-sq.-ft. Books-A-Million opens today at 2605 West Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee, Fla. The store is BAM's 37th in Florida.
Bookselling This Week profiles Azizi Books, an African-American specialty store in Matteson, Ill., 30 miles south of Chicago, that opened last November.
The 1,400-sq.-ft. store carries about 7,000 titles, and has a "clean and contemporary feel," Maia Roberts, who owns the store with her father, Kevin Roberts, told BTW. The most popular sections are children's books, fiction and biography. Sidelines include DVDs, note cards, journals, small African art sculptures and shea butter products from Nature's Shea Butter.
The Robertses founded an online store, blackbooksdirect.com, several years ago and have a separate site for the store, azizibooks.com, as well as a blog, azizibooks.blogspot.com.
"After six years of being a downtown staple to book lovers," Well Fed
Head Books, Springfield, Mo., has relocated to south Springfield at
the newly-redesigned Fremont Center, according to Ozarksfirst.com. The bookshop will open in its new location July 1.
"For us the big draw is that it's a big shopping area, and we'd like to experiment having our business there," said owner Mike Sowers. "Downtown has definitely been in a transitional period for the last several years as far as construction but really for us it's going to a place, and trying something new, just feels right."
"I love this place. I love the smell of it," Ray Bradbury said this week during his final visit to Acres of Books, Long Beach, Calif., which may close by the end of the year. LBReport.com featured excerpts, photos and a video of Bradbury's eloquent defense of the bookstore.
"If this place could be kept here, if you're going to build a mall, they should build it around here," he added. "They should be the center of the mall. They should be a shrine. They should have a crucifix up in front. I will come and bless the goddamn place. And I mean that. I want this store to remain here and they can build a mall around it . . . It should be surrounded by other fascinating stores. It shouldn't be moved. It shouldn't be changed because it's the best bookstore in Long Beach and one of the best in California."
Earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, April 5, 2008), the owners decided to sell the store's building to the Long Beach redevelopment agency.
To celebrate the publication of Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco ($14.95, 9781580089111/1580089119), a photographic catalogue of 60 works in the permanent collection of the Museum of Bad Art in Dedham, Mass. (a real museum!), Ten Speed Press held a contest challenging entrants to name and interpret an anonymous work owned by MOBA. (The Museum is in the Dedham Community Theater, "conveniently located just outside the men's room," and open whenever movies are shown.)
The contest winner, judged by the Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks authors, who are curator-in-chief and the permanent acting interim executive director (bad title) of the Museum, is a combination of two entries. Check it out and see other entries right here.
John e-Steinbeck. Penguin Group has released 11 Steinbeck titles in e-book format, including The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and East of Eden. In the near future, all his books will be available electronically.