Notes: E-Ink Deal E-Inked; SIBA's Dishes Up Okra Picks
Prime View International, the Taiwanese company that makes the Kindle, the Sony Reader and other e-readers, has bought E Ink Corp., the Cambridge, Mass., company that provides the digital-ink technology used in those readers, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prime View is E Ink's largest customer.
E Ink has "a major lead in the market for low-power screens, but competition is likely to increase," the Journal wrote. "The technology--which requires less battery power than the backlit screens used on most hand-held devices--is also used for signs in retail stores that can be changed electronically and grocery shelf labels that can change prices as produce ripens."
The companies estimated that sales of e-book readers will grow to 20 million units in 2012 from 1.1 million units last year.
E Ink CEO Russ Wilcox indicated that the company's decision to sell to Prime View came about in part because of difficulties raising money in public markets. The company's first quarter revenue "more than doubled to $18 million, making it ready to raise money for expansion."
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is the latest regional booksellers association to institute a formal book promotion program, in this case, the wonderfully named Okra Picks.
Member stores will have 12 titles a season to handsell that "should be Southern in nature but can cover any genre, not just fiction," SIBA said. The first 12 Okra Picks will be for the fall and will be displayed at the SIBA annual trade show, in Greenville, S.C., September 25-27. SIBA will actively promote the titles to consumers and booksellers.
SIBA member booksellers may make nominations for the first Okra Picks now. For more information, see SIBA's website.
Somewhere on the shelves at Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore, Salt Lake
City, Utah, "there must be a book that tells about a bookseller who,
thoroughly battered by tough economics and a world in technological
flux, reinvents himself and helps save the industry?" suggested the Deseret News before concluding, "No, wait, that story is yet to be written."
In welcoming readers "to Tony Weller's world," the News reported that "today Sam Weller's is 37,000 square feet and three stories of bookstore awesomeness, with creaky floorboards, well-worn carpet, nooks, crannies, reading chairs, a place to buy coffee, muslin-wearing sales clerks, rare books tucked away in a sanctuary and places where Stegner and L'Amour once sat and signed their books." But the "We're Moving" signs out front "reflect the cold, hard fact that Sam Weller's, in many ways, has morphed into what it once was: an antique shop."
"We are experiencing pretty severe financial duress," said Weller, adding that "three serious buyers" are currently looking at his building. Weller hopes "downsize and revolutionize," according to the News.
"In the 1860s, the new invention of the camera, most people believed, meant the death of painters," he said. "Suddenly, people realized cameras could take a picture of the king and do it far better and far cheaper. Painters were doomed. But they weren't. Out of that we got impressionism, expressionism, surrealism and all sorts of other forms of amazing artistic expression. Painters didn't do what they had been doing, they did new things they never would have gone to if the camera hadn't given them the opportunity."
A Gathering Grove, Everett, Wash., was profiled by the Daily Herald, which observed that owners Steve Kropf and Shannon Bath "opened the store last July with the intent of creating a space for people of all religions."
"I just want people to walk in here and open their minds a little more, open their hearts," said Bath.
Kropf added, "It's the people who choose to shop at small, locally owned businesses who have kept the store afloat so far."
"The people who come in are the people who are aware of small business," he said. "If you're just looking for a cheap book, you'll go to Amazon."
Effective July 1, Jonathan Brent becomes director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He is editorial director of Yale University Press, where he has worked since 1991. He will continue at the Press as editor at large, and will commission and develop five or so books a year, most in his American Icon and Annals of Communism projects. He also continues as director of the Digital Stalin Archive.