International handselling. Hours after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez handed President Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
by Eduardo Galeano (Monthly Review Press) Friday at the Summit of the
Americas, the English-language edition of the book "rocketed" from
60,280 to 14 on Amazon.com's list of top sellers, according to CNN. It was ranked second by Monday morning.
The Associated Press
noted, however, that "an overcrowded presidential nightstand" might
prevent Obama from reading the gift any time soon. The president's
"advisers cited a long reading list and the fact he doesn't read
Spanish as reasons the U.S. leader might not read the book."
Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street in New York City, which has long sold
Italian-language books, is adding French and Spanish titles as of May 1
and German titles within a few months. The store will stock a range of
such books, including contemporary fiction, classics, mysteries,
poetry, nonfiction, biographies, children's books and authors in
Marco Ausenda, CEO and president of Rizzoli,
noted that the store "serves as a gathering place for the ex-pat
community, and New Yorkers and visitors to New York who crave a taste
of European culture. By expanding our selection to include books in
French, Spanish, and German, we hope to appeal to an even wider group
of readers, and to reinforce our niche as the international independent
bookstore of New York."
Only a generation ago, on lower Fifth
Avenue alone, there were bookstores devoted entirely to Russian, German
and French and Spanish titles, among others. Later this year, the
Librairie Francaise, which specializes in French titles and has been in
Rockefeller Center since 1935, is closing because its rent is tripling (Shelf Awareness, January 4, 2009).
Ken Bowers, director of Stanford Bookstores, Stanford, Calif., since
2005, is retiring, effective in June. He plans to do some private
consulting with schools seeking to improve their retail operations as
well as volunteer work.
Before joining Stanford, which is
managed by Follett Higher Education, Bowers was bookstore and licensing
director at the University of California at Santa Barbara for 25 years.
He is a past president of the National Association of College Stores,
president of the NACS Foundation and a NACS board member.
A. Christopher, president of Follett Higher Education Group, said that
Bowers "has been a tremendous resource to Follett, both in industry
knowledge and as an officer of our core values."
APR's the Story host Dick Gordon discussed the bookstore business with Lanora Hurley, owner of the Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis, and Carol Grossmeyer, co-owner of the recently closed Harry W. Schwartz bookstores, one of which was reborn as the Next Chapter.
Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill., is hosting a forum tonight to examine freedom of speech issues in the wake of the cancellation of events earlier this month with Bill Ayers. The Daily Herald reported that the controversial author and activist had been scheduled to speak at Naperville North High School as well as the bookstore, but both events were canceled because, "when the community learned of his impending appearances, some residents flooded Naperville Unit District 203 and Anderson's with angry phone calls and e-mails."
"We hope to accomplish that people, no matter how they felt about the issue, maybe we can have a civil discourse on this and realize freedom of speech not only in the country but in Naperville is very important," said Becky Anderson, co-owner of the bookstore. "We're not asking people to change their minds, but maybe understand each other better."
"As the economic downturn lingers, people are turning to used book stores--sellers as well as buyers," the San Jose Mercury News reported in its look at some area bookshops, noting that the evidence was region-wide:
- At Logos Books & Records in downtown Santa Cruz, music buyer Warner Williams has seen people bring in entire collections to sell.
- Bookshop Santa Cruz has seen a dramatic increase in people selling and a new preference for cash over store credit, according to owner Casey Coonerty Protti.
- In Aptos, Bookworks co-owner Traci Fishburn reports "dipping our toes" into the used book market, prompted by donations by longtime patrons after the shop downsized in fall 2007.
Town vs. gown? A recent exchange between student columnists on the opinion page of the Dartmouth focused on the operation of a local bookstore. Jacob Batchelor contended, "As each term draws to a close, many Dartmouth students experience the sickening realization that they have yet again fallen victim to the Wheelock Books buyback scam. Perhaps scam is the wrong word--we do willingly, albeit grudgingly, return our ridiculously expensive books for the slimmest fraction of the original price allowed by human dignity."
Subsequently, Kevin Niparko argued that "Wheelock Books is not the corporate, money-snatching monster Batchelor makes it out to be. Rather, the store is a business venture started by Dartmouth alums who are deeply invested in the community. Wheelock Books is run by six friendly locals who are willing to help a lost freshman navigate through piles of econ textbooks, even though the store is already flooded with customers. And, if you look on their web site, you can find a list of community projects and charities that they support.
"But we shouldn't condemn Wheelock Books just because we don't like their return policy. We as a college need the businesses of Hanover just as much as the businesses need our patronage. . . . Calling for the creation of a book-swap is essentially calling for the execution of Hanover's only independent bookstore, the only bookstore I've ever encountered that is so rooted in its community. Let's not preoccupy ourselves so much with our own economic situation that we disregard the local economy and the community that Hanover provides."
Borders Books was included among the "Twelve Brands That Will Disappear by End of 2010" by the website 24/7 Wall Street (via the Huffington Post).
Penguin Classics will release Vladimir Nabokov's The Original of Laura on November 3. The New York Times reported that author left instructions that this "final unfinished manuscript be destroyed, but his son, Dmitri, decided last year to defy his father’s wishes and publish it instead."
"It was quite emotional for Dimitri because it was a big decision to publish, which took him decades," said Alexis Kirschbaum, an editor at Penguin Classics. The Times added that in 2010, the publisher "plans to release a collection of Nabokov’s poems that have not previously appeared in English."
Ready for a little book magic? Take a peek at Martin Frost's website devoted to fore-edge painting, "where the page block is fanned and an image applied to the stepped surface. If the page edges are themselves gilded or marbled, this results in the image disappearing when the book is relaxed. When refanned, the painting magically re-appears." (Thanks to Thom Chambliss, executive director,
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, for this!)