Marshall Smith, founder of Paperback Booksmith, Videosmith, Cybersmith
and Learningsmith, is, at the age of 78, "taking the first steps toward
retirement" by putting Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, Mass., up for sale. Smith is majority owner of that and Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.
Booksmith was founded 10 years ago, has 4,500 square feet of space and
is in "a healthy and vibrant business situation," the bookseller said.
Brookline Booksmith, which has roots in the first Paperback Booksmith
opened 48 years ago, had what the company called "a banner year" in
2009, thanks in part to the closure of a nearby Barnes & Noble.
Plans for that store "have not been finalized."
At its height in
the late 1970s, Paperback Booksmith had 75 stores in the Northeast but
filed for Chapter 11 in 1979. Videosmith was a chain of video rental
stores that Smith sold in 1989. Learningsmith, founded in 1991, was an
educational multimedia company that had 87 stores at its height, many
of which were affiliated with public radio stations, and closed in 1999.
Deseret Book Company launches its 14,000-square-foot flagship store in Salt Lake City, Utah, today, featuring "limited-edition leatherbound classics, a 32-foot video wall, old-fashioned candies, art, a Lion House Pantry Express that will sell 'grab 'n' go' food, custom framing and even an on-site 'art concierge' who will assist potential buyers with art acquisitions," the Deseret News reported.
"One of the things about retail is that it needs to be an experience," said Mark H. Willes, president and CEO of Deseret Management Corp. (parent company of Deseret Book and Deseret News). "Anyone can go online and buy a book, a CD, a DVD. The question is, why would you come into the store?... You're going to see things in this store you can't find anywhere else, including online."
Forbes magazine called City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., a "must-see" and noted that "although the staff members are extremely knowledgeable, they also have a reputation for being a bit prickly with those they deem less informed. While you shouldn't let their snobby attitude stop you from shopping here, you may want to think twice about asking where to find the latest Danielle Steel novel."
With the March 31 closing date for the Bookworks, Marysville, Wash., the Everett Herald spoke with Mary Burns, owner of the 11-year-old indie.
"People are still buying books, and they're still wanting new books," she said. “But before when they might be buying five or six, now they're only buying one.... My customers are so sad, and I feel so bad. I'm ready to go, and they're not ready to let me go."
The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program was showcased by the Monday Muse blog of the Northern California Book Publicity and Marketing Association. The program "puts one million new books and resources into the hands of students, educators, and community leaders each year through the generous contributions of partner publishers and private donors."
"You can cast your vote here for a favorite classic children's book, and the top vote-getter will be sent to a fourth-grade class in rural Mongolia. The books are donated by the Pearson Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Pearson Education and Penguin Books) through its We Give Books initiative. In addition, "a donor will contribute $1 for every vote the foundation gets, up to $10,000," the Monday Muse wrote.
A first edition of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows sold for £32,400 (US$48,460) at auction in London, the Guardian reported. The copy was inscribed to Foy Felicia Quiller-Couch, daughter of the man believed to be the model for the character Ratty.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! For readers who might like to know a bit more about this historical period than Monty Python's abridged version, Theresa Breslin, author of Prisoner of the Inquisition, chose her top 10 books on the Spanish Inquisition for the Guardian.
Egypt is in the midst of "an unprecedented fiction explosion from a new generation," the Associated Press reported, noting that young authors are increasingly turning away from politically charged issues to "explore the deeply personal, day-to-day life and hidden ills of society, writing candidly on taboo topics. And they have turned to a more accessible language, peppered with Arabic pop culture and often infused with the writing styles of the Internet, building an audience among Egypt's younger middle class." The AP also noted that this fiction renaissance has to some extent sparked--and been influenced by--the growth of bookstores, "complete with cafes and reading areas."
Effective this Saturday, March 27, Random House Publisher Services will
provide worldwide sales and distribution for Smithsonian Books.
Books, part of the Smithsonian Enterprises unit of the Smithsonian
Institution, publishes illustrated, photography, reference and
narrative nonfiction in history, art, culture, anthropology,
archeology, science and technology, aviation and space.