Cool idea of the day: under signs saying "this book not for sale," today Square Books, Oxford, Miss., put up "Wylie World," a display in its front window of a range of titles represented by the Wylie Agency, which last week announced that it is selling the only e-editions of 20 books represented by the agency exclusively on Amazon's Kindle for two years (Shelf Awareness
, July 22, 2010).
On its website
, the store called the exclusivity deal "a bit like our selling you books that you could read only using the bedside lamp you must also purchase from us." It also said the deal is "a soiling of the First Amendment that so many of the agency's authors, such as Arthur Miller and Salman Rushdie, have fought so hard to protect."
"I'm a books person. Yes, I have a Kindle. I used it for an hour and a half and put it in the closet," Andrew Wylie told the London Observer in an interview published April 18. Quillblog mischievously recalled the comment in the wake of Wylie's deal with Amazon.
On his blog, Mike Shatzkin of Idea Logical Company offers a coherent history of the sometimes confusing subject of e-book rights and royalties, putting the Wylie-Amazon deal and reaction to it in perspective. His conclusion, for now:
"Even if the publishers pushing back manage to win this round with Wylie, and they well might, I don't think the 25% royalty can hold for very long. As more and more of the business shifts to e-books, companies without the legacy costs that big publishers have will find it easy to pay higher royalties than that and agents will keep doing the math about how many sales they can afford to lose and still end up ahead in dollars with a higher e-book royalty. As Amazon should have learned in their fight with Macmillan in January, it isn't smart business to draw a line in the sand marking a position you ultimately can’t defend. I hope every big publisher in town will take that lesson on board."
Scott Kirsner spent his summer vacation reading books,
magazines and newspapers on e-readers and recounted the experience for
the Boston Globe.
tried to stay out of bookstores on my vacation, to maximize my
dependence on the e-readers, and was mostly successful," he wrote. "But I
couldn't keep my son out of Where the Sidewalk Ends, an independent bookstore in Chatham with a separate children's wing. One of the books he wanted to look at was Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever,
a hardcover volume nearly 30 inches wide when open on the floor. As he
sat at the edge of its board-like pages, the book filled most of his
field of vision with steam locomotives and pickle cars and backhoes. It
was hard to imagine an e-book ever duplicating that experience.
"And then back in Cambridge, the Harvard Book Store
offered tables stacked high with new releases, a calendar packed with
author events, and a helpful information desk staffer to answer a
question about when the new Carl Hiaasen novel would be out. While the
e-readers serve up books in a fast, convenient, and cost-effective
way--and there are few better formulas for success in American
business--I'd missed the rich experience of spending time in a good
"There was a time when people said books
on CDs would be the end of the book. It wasn't. That's how we regard
the e-book, as another format," Susan Novotny, owner of the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y., told the Business Review in reaction to Amazon's recent announcement that Kindle e-books were now outselling hardcovers at the company.
independent booksellers are a pretty resilient lot," Novotny said.
"We’re not intimidated by all these gizmos.... Those of us that survived
the growth of Amazon and the big boxes in the 90s are a tenacious and
She added that despite the many new electronic
options for readers, she is "not seeing any difference" in customer
activity. "Most people that shop in my store are hard-core readers that
buy 50 or 60 books a year and read a whole lot more than that and
augment that with the library and friends. They are not necessarily
heavily into experiencing a book in electronic format. They like to hold
the book, experience the book, smell the book, crack the spine, enjoy
the book in their hand and then when they’re done keep it on the shelf
or give it to another reader."
The San Francisco Chronicle's
"Five Places" feature selected locations in which "those looking to
celebrate history's great stories (whether on paper or pixel), or who
are just fans of the paper smell that wafts from bookstores and
libraries, will find happiness."
included the San Francisco Public Library; Powell's City of Books,
Portland, Ore.; the International Printing Museum, Carson, Calif.; the
Library Bistro and Bookstore Bar, Seattle, Wash.; and the Sylvia Beach
Hotel, Newport, Ore.
Congratulations to Taylor Books, Charleston, W.Va., which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month.
Owner Ann Saville told the Gazette, "I never had a desire to open a bookstore. I just wanted to live downtown and I loved these old buildings." Still, after going to ABA Booksellers School, she has created what one customer called "a unique institution. My friends from larger cities are often jealous they don't have the equivalent available to them. This is a bookstore, coffee shop, wine bar and place with live music on the weekends."
There is also a gallery that offers drawings, paintings, sculpture as well as jewelry, glassware and other crafts by local artisans.
Saville and her late husband, Paul, bought the building where the store is located. She has lived upstairs since then and bakes scones daily to sell in the store. "This is a marvelous way to grow old," Saville told the paper.
"I thought it was something I would be doing for six months
and leave town and do something else. That was 38 years ago," said
Archie Kutz, co-owner of Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, N.Y., for a profile of his business in the Democrat & Chronicle.
Kutz added that the indie, which has been open since 1972, is a
testimony to the value of a long business lifetime: "The stores that are
more than 30 years old, that are still open, are very strong."
The Triple Goddess Bookstore,
Okemos, Mich., is one of "three prominent downtown Okemos properties
[that] could end up being the latest casualties of tough economic times,
according to the Lansing State Journal,
which reported that "Comerica Bank has begun foreclosure proceedings
against Travelers Club Restaurant and Tuba Museum, White Bros. Music and
the building housing the Triple Goddess Bookstore. All three properties
are owned by William White."
Linda Fausey, who helps out at the bookstore, said co-owners Dawne and Alan Coe "plan to stay put for the time being," the State Journal wrote.
bookstore is doing fine. We have no plans to close the bookstore. If we
have to move we will do so, but we hate to see this corner go down,"
Fausey said. "We're losing so much of what we have left of our culture
these days. We have seen so much of this happen, and we don't seem to be
able to do anything to stop it."
The first rule of Jane Austen's Fight Club? "One never mentions fight club."
Congratulations to Josh Christie of Sherman's Books and Stationery, Freeport, Me., winner of the Rusty Drugan Scholarship for Emerging Leaders. The annual award is sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association and honors the late Wayne "Rusty" Drugan, who was NEIBA executive director from 1992 to 2006.
Congratulations, too, to Ellen Pyle of Macmillan, who has won the Gilman Award for outstanding service as a sales representative to New England independent bookstores.
Both awards will be presented at NEIBA's fall conference Friday, October 1, in Providence, R.I.
Shelf Awareness book reviewer Nick DiMartino, whose day job is at the University Bookstore, Seattle, Wash., recently taught the art of book reviewing to 16 high school students in the Puget Sound Writing Project at the University of Washington. The students were led by Steven Garmanian, a teacher at Everett High School, Everett, Wash.
Effective September 1, Marie du Vaure is joining Copperfield's, which has nine locations in northern California, as frontlist buyer. She has been head buyer at Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., for eight years and has worked at several other independent bookstores in Los Angeles. She was raised in Southeast Asia, educated in France, has worked in the U.S. for the past two decades and replaces Ty Wilson, who has become a sales rep at PGW.
Copperfield's CEO Tom Montan commented: "Replacing Ty was really an impossibility, but the candidates that surfaced were amazing and the choice was very difficult. I am very excited to be bringing Marie on board and her huge talent and wonderful personality will be a great match for Copperfield's and will help carry the work that Ty has done over the last many years into the future."
Ron Marshall, who at the beginning of the year left his positions as president and CEO of Borders Group to become CEO of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., has stepped down after the grocery retailer reported that its loss grew in the first quarter, according to the AP. Shares of A&P dropped to at least a 25-year low.
Marshall had been at Borders a year and has had a reputation for turning around troubled companies.