Notes: Starbucks's Next Book Choice; Shortcovers Unveiled
As its next featured book, Starbucks has chosen Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story by Isabel Gillies, the actress who plays Kathy Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the AP reported. The book, which will be published by Scribner on March 24, is a memoir that focuses on collapse of her first marriage.
More on Shortcovers, the e-book service for smartphones and computers that Indigo, the Canadian bookselling chain, is launching tomorrow, as reported by the Globe and Mail:
- The initial inventory is about 50,000 titles, priced from $4.99 to $19.99 (US$4.02 to US$16.11) and chapters will be available for 99 cents (80 US cents) each.
- Some 200,000 sample chapters will be available for free.
- Shortcovers will soon add magazines and newspapers for sale on a per-copy, per-issue or annual subscription basis.
- The service is available in Canada and the U.S.
- Fulfillment for traditional books through the service will be by Indigo in Canada and Barnes & Noble in the U.S.
- After a month, Shortcovers will offer recommendations to users based on their reading habits.
- The service is creating a forum where self-published and unpublished writers can submit a chapter from a novel, a short story or an article--and list them for free, with or without ads, or for 99 cents.
Four Berean Christian bookstores in Illinois--in Peoria, Champaign, Bloomington and Decatur--are closing or have closed, and 13 outlet stores called Christian Publishers Warehouse in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri have been closed, according to the Peoria Journal Star.
Owner David Byrne commented: "The reason we came to this decision is two-fold, really. Our industry, Christian retailing, has been sliding the last few years, largely due to the rise of the Internet and growing competition from big box stores. And now, the bad economy is hurting us even more. . . . Our clientele said they could not bring themselves to spend the money to shop with us in these times."
Several major general retailers whose results and stock valuations are higher than others are making investments at the same time that they're making familiar cuts, the New York Times reported.
Besides shedding 2% of its work force and "peripheral businesses," Home Depot has reduced inventory levels by $1 billion, but "its in-stock levels are at an all-time high--meaning that when customers come in looking for a nail gun or a roll of duct tape, they are likely to find it."
The hardware chain is also continuing merit pay increases and bonuses for its top sales staff. CFO Carol B. Tomé told the paper: "We believe if we take care of our associates, they'll take care of our customers."
For its part, Macy's has cut staff, its capital expenditure budget and the quarterly dividend, but it's also rolling out My Macy's, an initiative in which "the merchandise in stores would be tailored to appeal to customers in a particular region of the country."
Stephen Fowler, owner of the Monkey's Paw bookshop,
carries "books that fell between the cracks of history. Subjects you
can't believe anyone would publish a book about." The Toronto Star
profiled the city's "most unusual bookstore," which is based upon a
"curatorial philosophy [that] originated from a man [Fowler] worked
with at San Francisco's Albatross Books, who had devised a section
called Floop, for books that couldn't possibly find a home anywhere
else, that were too unique or too specific or too bizarre to be placed
"Books have been totally superseded by digital," said Fowler. "A generation ago, books were not only the primary, but the only way we stored and transmitted culture. Books were culture. And they're not any more. They're these odd anachronisms. But that doesn't mean they don't contain all sorts of treasures. They're beautiful and interesting and they have fascinating content and startling stuff in them."
"Are you now or have you ever been in a book group?" was one of nine questions the Deseret News asked men for its informal poll on the male attitude toward reading groups. Why don't more men join? Here's a theory: "Men realize that they are only allocated a certain number of spoken words in their lifetime, so being of a cautious nature, they choose not to waste words on book discussions."
Our comment on that theory: "May be."
Under a new agreement, Vintage Español, the U.S. Spanish-language publisher that is part of Random House, will co-publish some titles in the U.S. that originate with Random House Mondadori, which publishes in Spanish in Spain and Latin America. The co-publishing venture begins this fall. Vintage Español will publish some 15 new titles from Random House Mondadori each year.
As part of the co-publishing launch, Vintage Español will reissue about 50 of Random House Mondadori's bestselling backlist titles, which, among other things, will result in all the Spanish-language works of Gabriel García Márquez being published under one roof for the first time in North America.
Founded in 1994 and part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Vintage Español has a backlist of more than 100 titles, including works by Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Laura Esquivel, Cristina García and Esmeralda Santiago.
As a result of the new venture, works by Dale Carnegie, Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca, Ken Follett, John Grisham, Cormac McCarthy and Mary Higgins Clark will be added to the Vintage Español list.
Beginning with the spring 2010 list, Sterling Publishing will publish a broad range of books, including adult and children's titles and book-related products and kits, with the American Museum of Natural History. Under the three-year licensing deal, the Museum, in consultation with Sterling, which is owned by Barnes & Noble, will make the key editorial decisions. All books in the series will have the Museum's logo.
The Publishers Association of the West's next conference and trade show will take place November 11-14 in Tucson, Ariz., and have the theme "pressing forward."
Todd Berger, PubWest president and director of publishing at the Grand Canyon Association, said, "The conference will cover everything from the nuts and bolts of editing and designing to the best ways to reach media-savvy readers and to stretch your marketing dollars for maximum profit." The conference will include the presentation of the 2009 Rittenhouse Award for outstanding contributions to book publishing in the West.
The association is seeking proposals for sessions and speakers; send them to executive director Kent Watson at email@example.com. For more information about the conference, trade show and PubWest, go to pubwest.org.