Many owners of Barnes & Noble's nook e-reader continue to buy physical books and the company expects to earn greater operating margins on e-books than physical books, B&N CFO Joseph Lombardi told the Wall Street Journal.
In addition, during a conference call with analysts yesterday following the announcement of third-quarter results (Shelf Awareness, February 23, 2010), B&N CEO Steve Riggio said that despite slipping sales, B&N has expanded its share of the bricks-and-mortar book retailing market to about 18%. In the "exploding" e-book market, B&N's market share in some e-book categories "will soon exceed our market share of physical books in those categories."
"Independent bookstores are the best booksellers, and the Galaxy represents everything that’s wonderful about them," wrote Howard Frank Mosher (author most recently of Walking to Gatlinburg) in a guest post headlined "Why I Always Launch My Book Tours at the Galaxy Bookshop" on the Hardwick, Vt., bookseller's blog. "Chain bookstores tend to all look alike, but indies are all different. The Galaxy, for instance, was once a bank. It still has a vault, not to mention the only drive-by window of any bookshop in the--well, galaxy."
Mosher added that the most important reason for launching his books at Galaxy is "the same reason I buy all my books there. Like independent booksellers from coast to coast, Linda [Ramsdell] and Sandy [Scott] and their staff know and love books the way this clueless storyteller knows and loves the outlaws, living and deceased, of the Northeast Kingdom. Why would I ever buy a book any place else?"
More than 6,500 authors, publishers and literary agents have opted out of the Google book settlement, according to the Guardian, which reported that court documents reveal the list includes Thomas Pynchon, Zadie Smith, Bret Easton Ellis, James Frey, Monica Ali, Michael Chabon, Philip Hensher, Graham Swift, Philip Pullman, Jeanette Winterson, Jeffrey Archer and Louis de Bernières. The estates of Rudyard Kipling, T.H. White, James Herriot, Nevil Shute and Roald Dahl are also among those opting out.
"My feelings were, in the end, that I doubted I would lose out by opting out, whereas I might do by opting in. Also there was the principle that copyright is important," said novelist Marika Cobbold. "It would be like handing over my babies to a babysitter I'd never met, [and] I couldn't understand what was in it for me. I love Google, and in principle making information accessible is wonderful, but things are moving so fast, and authors are losing so much control over what we've done, that my fear was who knows, in five to 10 years' time, how this information could be used?"
Gillian Spraggs has established Action on Authors' Rights, which "aims to bring home to the U.K. government and opposition the well-founded concerns of U.K. authors about the Google book settlement and the Digital Economy Bill, and to have an input into the debate on digitization and copyright in Europe," the Guardian wrote.
Author Gwyneth Jones said she "decided to opt out of the Google book settlement on the advice of my agency, David Higham Associates, and on the advice of Gill Spraggs, who had read the small print. Then I was inspired to read the small print too, and I didn't like what I found."
A tribute to the recently shuttered La Moderna Poesía, Miami's legendary Spanish-language bookstore, was featured in the Herald, which observed that with the closing, "we are losing not only a piece of Cuba but a piece of the mosaic of Spanish-language literary culture in Miami.... La Moderna Poesía is not alone in its misfortune. Fascinating independent bookstores with texts in all sorts of languages are closing their doors all over the country. Every time this happens, it's the community that suffers."
"The decisions that the owners make when selecting books are not commercial but reflect their passions,'' said Mitch Kaplan, owner of Books & Books. "There must be diversity of independent voices in the bookstores, because none of them can sell all the books.''
The cleanup effort at Portland State University Bookstore is still underway from a February 7 incident in which a water-storage tank overflowed and flooded the basement with about 120,000 gallons of water (Shelf Awareness, February 10, 2010).
PSU Bookstore president and CEO Ken Brown told the Daily Vanguard student newspaper that he estimated more than 1,000 textbooks, $4,000 in clothes and $19,000 in merchandise were lost, and that "walls, carpets, machines, computers and many other items were damaged beyond repair."
Brown also praised his staff for being "wonderful and phenomenal. They have really stepped up."
NPR's What We're Reading list this week includes The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell (translated by Laurie Thompson), We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication by Judith Warner and Horns by Joe Hill.
The Huffington Post featured a slideshow of the "Most Amazing Libraries In the World Part Two" in the wake of strong reader response to part one last month, noting: "We're getting a lot of bad news about libraries recently, as funding drops and major cuts are made, but these buildings and collections remind us of how important libraries are, and how much they are worth saving!"
Writers, take note... or notes. Inspired by Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing, the Guardian asked authors to share their personal rules for writing fiction. A sampling:
- Margaret Atwood: "You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality."
- Roddy Doyle: "Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine, e.g. 'horse,' 'ran,' 'said.'"
- Geoff Dyer: "Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire."
- Anne Enright: "The first 12 years are the worst."
- Richard Ford: "Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer's a good idea."
- Jonathan Franzen: "When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it."
- Neil Gaiman: "Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
- Jeanette Winterson: "Enjoy this work!"