Best Buy has joined the list of Kindle retailers. CNET reported that the electronics chain "will expand its lineup of e-book readers by selling the Amazon Kindle in the coming weeks. Best Buy will display the Kindle and its rival readers [B&N's Nook and Sony's Reader] at prime locations at the end of store aisles, giving shoppers the opportunity to check out each model side-by-side."
"There's no question that e-readers have found their rightful place in today's digital lifestyle," said Chris Homeister, senior v-p and general manager of home entertainment for Best Buy. "Our goal is to help people choose the device that's right for them by providing the broadest selection of popular e-readers of any retailer, in one convenient place that enables people to easily see, touch, try and buy."
The Motley Fool weighed in on the announcement by asking, "Aren't the two companies fierce competitors? They're both trying to sell consumer electronics, media, and even digital media. If Best Buy succeeds in moving more Kindles, it will strengthen a rival."
Nevertheless, Motley Fool approved the deal, noting that "the intentions do crystallize when one considers Best Buy's plan to expand its in-store e-reader displays.... Those displays would look awfully barren without the category killer. Best Buy would look dumb if it only stocked two of the three video game consoles. Even if it fattens Amazon's coffers--that's if Amazon is turning a profit at these ridiculously low price points--it's in Best Buy's interest to not appear out of touch to its customers. Yes, it's a strange move--but it's the right move."
In a letter to shareholders regarding the company's upcoming annual meeting September 28, Barnes & Noble's board of directors highlighted steps taken to build the company’s value and criticized Ron Burkle and Yucaipa Companies by contending that "we believe that he would like the ability to form a control bloc with another Los Angeles-based investor, Aletheia Research & Management, Inc.... We believe Burkle's agenda is self-serving, and your Board strongly urges you to reject his proposals."
The board urged shareholders to "vote FOR your Board's nominees and AGAINST Yucaipa's non-binding proposal by simply signing, dating and returning the enclosed WHITE proxy card TODAY in the postage-paid envelope provided, or by following the easy instructions to vote by telephone or Internet. Your Board is unanimous in its opposition to Burkle and requests you simply discard any Gold proxy card you may receive from him."
Being niche. Several indie bookstores in the San Francisco area are "having success with innovative strategies" by "being niche, maintaining a reasonable overhead and pro-actively engaging community, online and off," the New York Times reported.
Celia Sacks, who opened Omnivore Bookstore in 2008 as the economy was tanking, carries about 2,500 new and antiquarian titles on food-related subjects. "I just thought that with starting something in the recession, there’s nowhere to go but up," she said.
"Being a specialty store gave us something that would distinguish us," said Alan Beatts, owner of Borderlands, which specializes in science fiction. "We are serving a special demographic, and we receive customer loyalty in return."
"M" Is for Mystery "moved into a bigger space eight years ago and does brisk business both online and in-store, relying on autographed books to increase its bottom line," the Times wrote.
Although a general-interest bookshop, the Booksmith's "special depth in countercultural and music fare--befitting its Haight location--has made events a cornerstone of its business."
"The bookstores that are surviving are being really creative," said co-owner Christin Evans. "We come from management consulting, and we walked into this business with our eyes wide open."
The Times noted, however, that some "older specialty stores, like Marcus Books and A Different Light, specializing in African-American and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature respectively, have dealt with long-term changes in their customer base."
Cool idea of the day: in a twist on Banned Books Week displays, Printed Page Bookshop,
Denver, Colo., is displaying some 100 banned and challenged books--and
one title that has not been banned or challenged. The person who can
correctly identify the one exception wins a gift certificate at the
store, where 15 independent book dealers operate.
Centuries & Sleuths bookstore, Forest Park, Ill., is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout September with a series of panels, the first of which, held last weekend, "featured 20 local authors who have had a part in the store's history," Bookselling This Week reported.
"We had such a huge attendance. It all just fell into place," said owner Augie Aleksy, who opened his bookshop--specializing in history, mystery, and biography--in 1990. "I definitely didn't want to be a general bookstore. And this is what I had an interest in."
After two decades in business, Alesky is still optimistic about his vision: "The store has just been a huge success. Both financially, and in the spirit of what I always wanted to do."
Toby Blackwell, owner of the Blackwell bookstore chain in the U.K., said he will set up an employee partnership model and hand over control of the company to its 900 employees, the Guardian reported. Blackwell's Oxford head office will close, with its staff relocated to work in the stores. The firm has 37 permanent bookshops and 40 that open temporarily on university campuses at the beginning of each term.
Blackwell told the Guardian "he was determined that the company founded by his great-grandfather would remain independent and wanted to harness the 'unrivalled specialist knowledge' of his booksellers to ensure the future of the retailer."
"I believe that every single one of our people is important, and can, if respected and encouraged, contribute ideas to make Blackwell's more efficient and innovative," he added. "I have therefore decided to emulate the highly successful John Lewis--and Waitrose--share partnership structure for Blackwell's. I have been studying this in detail and practice."
The Guardian noted that both the John Lewis department store and Waitrose supermarket businesses, which are the largest employee-owned groups in the U.K., "have proved far more resilient than many other businesses through the recession, and have outperformed most of their high-street rivals."
Operation Bookseller. Defense Department officials are "negotiating to buy and destroy" the 10,000-copy first printing of Operation Dark Heart by Anthony A. Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. The New York Times reported that the Pentagon alleges the Afghan war memoir contains intelligence secrets, despite the fact that "Army reviewers suggested various changes and redactions and signed off on the edited book in January, saying they had 'no objection on legal or operational security grounds' and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, planned for an Aug. 31 release."
By the time DIA objections surfaced, "several dozen copies of the unexpurgated 299-page book had already been sent out to potential reviewers, and some copies found their way to online booksellers. The New York Times was able to buy a copy online late last week."
"It’s an awkward set of circumstances," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "The government is going to make this book famous."
An agreement has nearly been reached "over what will be taken out of a new edition to be published September 24, with the allegedly classified passages blacked out. But the two sides are still discussing whether the Pentagon will buy the first printing, currently in the publisher’s Virginia warehouse, and at what price," the Times wrote.
During the first quarter of 2011, Quallcomm plans to launch, "in connection with a partner, a device, probably an e-book reader, that features its Mirasol color screen technology," Pocket-lint reported, adding that Qualcomm "has been demonstrating its e-ink technology for some time now to press and prospective partners, with possible suitors, such as Amazon (for the next generation of the Kindle), rumored to be interested."
Kobo has released the Kobo Desktop Application for notebook and desktop computers.
Obituary note: Thomas Guinzburg, the co-founder of the Paris Review who later became president of Viking Press, died Wednesday. He was 84. "He was a marvelous combination of idealist and realist," said colleague Robert B. Silvers in the New York Times. "He was always encouraging the Review not to be deterred from discovering young writers of quality. At the same time he had a grasp of the really rough details of commercial publishing."
CFO magazine interviewed former Borders CFO/COO Mark Bierley about his departure from the company to work for a convenience-store chain (Shelf Awareness, September 3, 2010), noting that the move "seemed at first like a familiar story: finance executive makes a hasty escape from a tempestuous CFO job."
Bierley, however, explained that a new opportunity and a geographical change from Michigan to North Carolina were the primary catalysts. "I love the Borders brand. This is a personal decision. It's a change that has nothing to do with the company's change in strategy."
CFO added that "any thought that he is leaving suddenly, just after being named COO of the Borders operating unit--which brought him a $225,000 raise in base salary to $600,000, according to company filings--is not the case, according to Bierley. A move, he says, had been on his mind for a while. The promotion to Borders COO largely recognized his experience performing functions at the company that a COO would normally do, he adds."
Jeanette Limondjian, editor-at-large, v-p of new business development for Barnes & Noble, has left the company "after a 40-year career as a bookseller," Galleycat reported. In a statement, B&N noted that "Jeanette says she is most proud of her creative contribution to the successful growth of B&N and its mission to democratize bookstores and make them a friendly and comfortable place to shop for books."
A copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America, "billed as the world's most expensive book," will be sold at auction by Sotheby's in December, BBC News reported, adding that only 119 complete copies are known to exist, and all but 11 of them belong to museums and libraries. Ten years ago, another edition of the book sold for $8.8 million.
The Gwyneth effect. A cookbook recommendation by actress Gwyneth Paltrow on her blog GOOP spurred an unanticipated sales boost for Amy Pennington, author of Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen.
Pennington told the Christian Science Monitor that when she "did a cooking demo at a farmers' market in Atlanta, some people came very early on to buy Urban Pantry and have me sign it for them. As I'm not from Atlanta, I asked everyone how they heard about Urban Pantry and the overwhelming response was, GOOP!... The book climbed up Amazon.com the day GOOP sent out their newsletter and made the top-100 bestsellers list for the day. There is no doubt that her e-mail exposed Urban Pantry to a large audience of people who are like-minded."
Book trailer of the day: The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor (Harper Perennial), which will be published October 12.
Here's 2day's recipe from Workman's Eat Tweet by Maureen Evans (1020 rcps @ 140 chars each) culled from Twitter's @cookbook:
onion&shroom/T garlc&olvoil. Boil+2c tom/½c TomSauce&h2o/T
tompaste&ItalianMix/s+p; +10oz raw spagheti. Simmr~20m.
Publishers Group West has added the following new clients:
Cartoon Books, comic artist Jeff Smith's publishing company that includes Smith's RASL franchise and Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume, which will ship in October in a new design.
a U.K. book and e-book publisher, whose print books PGW will distribute
in the U.S. and Canada. MP Publishing will publish six to eight titles
annually; it makes its North American debut with an anthology of essays
by Southern authors including Pat Conroy, William Gay and John Grisham
called Don't Quit Your Day Job, which is edited by Sonny Brewer.
Breadpig, publisher of the collected webcomic xkcd by Randall Munroe.
Bazillion Points, Brooklyn, N.Y., which publishes heavy metal books, including Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook.
Verse Chorus Press, a music, art and literature publisher (authors include Luc Sante) and parent of Yeti magazine.
Tinderbox Press, publisher of the annual Complete Price Guide to Watches.
Wise Parenting Press, a new book and audio publisher that aims to enhance bonds between parents and children.