Borders Group has come to an agreement on extending the time the company has to assume or reject leases with landlords of six of the 51 stores that it said last week it might have to close soon (Shelf Awareness
, June 10, 2011), reducing the possible pool of closing stores to 45. The stores with stays of execution are two stores at the Detroit Metro Airport, one at Logan Airport in Boston, a store at the Raleigh/Durham Airport as well as superstores in Westland, Mich., and Willimantic, Conn. The change was noted in documents filed in bankruptcy court on Friday.
Amazon.com continues to play hardball in its battle not to collect sales taxes: last week it said it will drop its online affiliates in Arkansas and Connecticut because of new laws that would require it to collect sales tax from customers in those states, the AP (via the Wall Street Journal
In Arkansas, a new state law requires out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax from customers if their annual sales in Arkansas exceed $10,000. In Connecticut, the law requires online retailers with affiliate nexus to collect sales tax.
The battle over sales tax collection continues to make for some strange bedfellows and rhetoric. Wal-Mart, whose headquarters are in Bentonville, Ark., was a major supporter of the Arkansas law, and Amazon bitterly told Bloomberg BusinessWeek
that the bill "was supported by big-box retailers that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors."
For its part, Wal-Mart, along with Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Sears, is a member of the Alliance for Main Street
, which has the support of some independent businesses, including booksellers.
Union Ave. Books, Knoxville, Tenn., a new bookstore selling new and used books, decorative arts and gifts, is holding its grand opening this Saturday, June 18.
The store, located at 517 Union Avenue in downtown Knoxville, aims to be "a gathering place for downtown shoppers and dwellers and the business community, as well as the faithful of the former Carpe Librum Bookstore," which closed late last year. The store intends to carry "a diverse inventory of local and regional titles, as well as fiction and nonfiction bestsellers, and feature a special Kids' Corner. In addition, Union Ave. Books will host book signings, special holiday events, and Saturday activities for children. The store will also be available to Knoxville's numerous book clubs for meetings and after-hours events."
The owners of Union Ave. Books are Flossie McNabb, a former owner of Carpe Librum, and Melinda Meador, an attorney at the Knoxville firm of Winchester, Sellers, Foster & Steele. McNabb's daughter, Bunnie Presswood, will be the store's business manager. Meador's son, Jake Knanishu, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., will serve as content and marketing consultant and be a bookseller during holiday seasons.
Meador commented: "Downtown Knoxville has exploded in the best possible way over the last few years. We want to be a part of this exciting time for our city, and selling books--especially given Knoxville's rich literary tradition--is a great way to do it."
Kaveh and Mary Dabir, owners of Mr. K's Books, which sells used books and music in Oak Ridge and Johnson City, Tenn., Asheville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C., were originally going to be McNabb's partners but are no longer associated with the project (Shelf Awareness, February 7, 2011).
Knoxnews.com has a photo tour of the new store.
Early reports from two stores that supported the Unbridled Books 25 e-books for 25 cents each promotion, which ran from last Thursday through Saturday at IndieCommerce stores that sell Google eBooks, were positive. As of Friday afternoon, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., had "sold hundreds of e-books and gained dozens of new e-book customers," according to Paul Hanson, the new community outreach director and e-book guru.
The Village Books promotion included a Friday information session on e-books and e-readers led by Hanson and store co-owner Chuck Robinson that lasted an hour and a half and was nicknamed "the e-reader support group" by attendees. "We even gained some Kindle converts from the talk!" Hanson said.
The UConn Co-Op, Storrs, Conn., sold 43 e-books, all but one purchase by customers buying several titles, according to Suzy Staubach, manager of the general books division. "It will be interesting to see if this translates into future e-book sales," she added.
Crain's Detroit Business had a feature on Schuler Books, which has three stores in Grand Rapids and two near Lansing and was founded by Cecile and Bill Fehsenfeld in 1982.
To remain competitive and be on the cutting edge, over the past five years or so, the company has added used books, a range of sidelines, an Espresso Book Machine, e-books via IndieCommerce and beer and wine in one of its cafes--an addition to the menu that might be transferred to the other Schuler Books cafes.
Sales have dropped in the past few years but the company has remained profitable. Traditional books still account for 60% of sales but that number is slowly falling.
One reason for the company's success, Bill Fehsenfeld said, is focusing on the basics. He said, "When you think of the people who have gotten in trouble in our industry, they've either expanded too fast or lost sight of some of the basics people want in a bookstore--the experienced staff and a clean, well-maintained store. I think we've done a pretty good job of focusing on the basics. We have not overextended ourselves."
Congratulations to the Drama Book Shop, New York City, which won honors for excellence in the theater at last night's Tony Awards!
Back Stage has a wonderful tribute to the store and owner-stars Rozanne Seelen and Allen Hubby.
Last Thursday Glenn Beck's interview with Chris Stewart, co-author with his brother, Ted Stewart, of The Miracle of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points that Saved the World (Shadow Mountain), and his rave review pushed the book to #9 on Amazon's bestseller list. The Miracle of Freedom has stayed near that spot since then, and was #11 yesterday.
Chris Stewart is a pilot and Air Force veteran and Ted Stewart is a federal judge. In their book, they examine "just how unusual the blessing of freedom is in the human experience" and posit that seven historical events were key for the United States becoming "the torch bearer for liberty and freedom." These include, they say, the victory of the Greeks over the Persians at Thermopylae and Salamis; Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity; the discovery of the Americas; and the Battle of Britain in World War II.
Cool bookstore video: Harvard Book Store's plug--featuring Alex M. at Fenway Park--for The Baseball Field Guide: An In-Depth Illustrated Guide to the Complete Rules of Baseball by Dan Formosa (Da Capo).
Book trailer of the day (which might be called a day at the races): Something for Nothing by David Anthony (Algonquin Books).
|(L.-r.) Sheila Lineberry, Janet Geddis, John Lewis, Peggy Moloney and Isaiah Lineberry
Janet Geddis, owner of the Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., was profiled by the Banner-Herald in recognition of her work as a patient advocate on behalf of migraine sufferers. Geddis recently visited Washington, D.C., for Headache on the Hill, a trip organized by the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy.
When she launched her blog the Migraine Girl several years ago, Geddis "just wanted a place to vent some of the frustrations of the affliction." Readership grew quickly, however, and the blog is now housed on Migraine.com as "part of a national effort to show how common migraine is and sway lawmakers to make life easier for the millions of Americans who suffer," the Banner-Herald wrote.
She has also created a Goodreads list of nonfiction titles that deal with the issue, but would welcome suggestions of novels and stories that feature characters with migraine or other types of headache disorders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a bookseller, Geddis said she is about to sign a lease for an in-town Athens storefront by the end of the month so that Avid Bookshop can expand from an online and events-based business to a full-fledged bricks and mortar bookstore.
So, you say you have 10,000 books in your collection and are looking for just the right forest retreat to display them in? May we suggest the Scholar's Library in Olive Bridge, N.Y., which was showcased by Modern Residential Design.
Booze and books. Flavorwire couldn't "think of anything better than to sip a cool drink while typing away at our--er, laptops--out on the porch in the sweet summer night air." Thus, the inevitable feature: "How to Drink Like Your Favorite Authors."
Dr. Ervin Laszlo and Deepak Chopra are issuing an open invitation to a wine reception next Monday in New York City for Simply Genius!: And Other Tales from My Life (Hay House). The book is by Laszlo and has a foreword from Chopra. The reception will be held Monday, June 20, 4:30-5:30 p.m., at ABC Carpet & Home at 888 Broadway (19th St.) in Manhattan. Please RSVP to email@example.com!
Gee, thanks, Nate Robinson, for deciding early Friday morning to urinate in front of a Barnes & Noble in White Plains, N.Y. The Oklahoma City Thunder player was arrested by an alert police officer, and the news spread across the Internet and news wires. As a result, most any search Shelf Awareness editors did over the weekend involving the phrases "bookstore" or "Barnes & Noble" resulted in many pungent reminders that the law has a dim view of basketball players dribbling off court.