Indies: 'We're Really Growing'
"For us who are in the trenches, it's funny reading about how we're disappearing when we're really growing."
"For us who are in the trenches, it's funny reading about how we're disappearing when we're really growing."
The American Booksellers Association has begun an affiliate program with Biblio.com whereby ABA member stores can offer links on their websites to Biblio's network of 5,000 indie booksellers worldwide who sell used, rare and out-of-print books, Bookselling This Week reported.
"Not only is the affiliation open to members whether or not they sell used books, but participating stores can also feature their own used book inventory, the used book inventory of their indie colleagues, or the entire Biblio seller community--it's up to the store," said ABA member technology director Neil Strandberg. "We're happy to make this program available to both used bookstores and stores without a used book inventory that want to give their customers the option of buying used, rare, and out-of-print books."
ABA members receive an 8% commission (with a maximum of $20) on every order placed on Biblio.com through their website banner.
Literary Bookpost, Salisbury, N.C., is in the process of merging with Just the Thing, which will add "educational games, gadgets and gizmos in a central area on the first floor, as well as throughout the 7,000-square-foot store," the Salisbury Post reported, adding that although the two businesses will combine operations starting October 1, the owners said each will retain its own name for at least a year.
Literary Bookpost co-owner Bill Greene said the store will become stronger with the merger; the center of the store will feature a large selection of Just the Thing inventory, while the perimeter displays the Literary Bookpost's products. "You put your bestselling stuff where it makes sense," Greene said.
Co-owner Gwen Matthews added: "I'm a team player, so I never really wanted it to be just me in the store.... I kept looking for a unique business that could come in and really complement the books.... Just the Thing will be very incorporated in the whole store, not just in one spot. We want it to look like she's been here for years."
"A lot of what we sell is not just for kids. Teens and adults like to play games, too," said Glenda Dyson, owner of Just the Thing. She, Matthews and Greene will have an equal partnership. "I'm scared and worried and I dread the move, but it's going to be so nice to have a partner and have vacation every now and then. We have a lot of the same customers."
Paul Hanson has been named general manager of Village Books/Paper Dreams, Bellingham, Wash. He joined the stores in 2011 as community outreach director and will continue to oversee that function.
Hanson began his bookselling career in 1989 at a Waldenbooks, where he worked for six years, the last three as store manager. He then worked for 16 years at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, and was manager for 13 of those years. He has also been on the board and served as president of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and was a member of the ABA's Booksellers Advisory Council for a term.
"We got to know Paul years before he came to work with us at Village Books," said Chuck Robinson, who with his wife, Dee, owns the store. (The two are co-CEOs.) "We're thrilled to have him step into this role and help lead this organization."
Cheryl and Steve Hare were married on Saturday, July 20. Four weeks later, on August 17, they opened Village House of Books in Los Gatos, Calif., and after five weeks of business, they've been blown away by the community's response.
"It's been lovely," said Cheryl Hare, who is, along with her husband, one of the store's two employees. "It hasn't been difficult; it's been easier than we thought. People are walking in and saying 'thank you for being here', 'thank you for doing this.' Everyone in Los Gatos has been missing a bookstore for so long."
Hare and her husband are gearing up for the store's grand opening celebration--four days of events beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 23, featuring the mayor of Los Gatos, and ending on the following Saturday with book signings and talks by local authors. The grand opening will be the store's inaugural event. After the celebrations, the owners plan to feature at least one local author per week. Among them: Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds (Simon & Schuster), Steve Sporleder, author of Gallivanting in the Gem City: Stories of Los Gatos, California (Robertson Publishing), and Julie Dart, author of Ellie Stands Up to the Bully, which is self-published. Local musician Rodrigo Teague will also perform at Village House of Books.
Although the pair has no previous experience in bookselling, Cheryl Hare worked for 10 years as an account supervisor at Nordstrom, while Steve Hare owned and operated health spas. In Cheryl's words, both are "really keen on selling techniques." And so far, selling books has not been a problem. She explained: "We've already met and exceeded our goals, in terms of sales and customer orders and repeat business."
Their "biggest hurdle" has been trying to stock as many books as possible in an 800-square-foot store. Their solution is to order often, and to make those orders varied. The flow of new titles from across many genres, Cheryl said, "makes the store breathe."
Plans have yet to be finalized, but the owners would like to partner with local businesses and community entities. They've talked to the local elementary school about hosting weekly readings, and a few local charities have asked about getting involved. And given the town's location, they'd love to collaborate with some of the area wineries. Cheryl Hare summed up: "It's all about creating some excitement around town." --Alex Mutter
In connection with National Reading Group Month, which is sponsored by the Women's National Book Association and is designated for October, the Great Group Reads Selection Committee has chosen 21 books as this year's Great Group Reads. A complete list of the titles, recommended for reading groups at bookstores, libraries, online and elsewhere, can be found here.
The committee sought "under-represented gems from small presses and lesser-known mid-list releases from larger houses. All are books with strong narratives peopled by fully realized characters; books which perhaps have flown under the radar of reviewers and reading groups overwhelmed by the sheer number of new releases each year."
The organization is providing shelf talkers, table-top posters and other display material for download. Find the National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit at Get Involved. For more general information, go to NationalReadingGroupMonth.org and wnba-books.org.
To celebrate National PARK(ing) Day last week, when people are encouraged to reimagine parking spaces as parks, Prince Books, Norfolk, Va., and the downtown Norfolk Civic League collaborated on this "parklet" on the street in front of the store. The League provided the furniture, and Prince Books provided several dozen ARCs.
Ginny Jewell and Marie Shane, the co-owners of Acorn Books, Dover, Del., and Atlantic Books alumnae, are celebrating their first year in business. They have been successful by "extending expertise and a caring approach for customers to remember and return to Acorn, versus their keyboards for a point-and-click purchase," the News Journal reported.
"It's getting better every month," said Jewell. "We are still getting people through the doors who say they are so glad there is a bookstore in Dover. It's been amazing.... We would like to dig into the community a little deeper, but stay out of politics because we don't want to make enemies. We're still growing up. It's not an instant sensation. We have to put the work into it, and we will."
Moscow's new independent bookstores "evoke the ambience of a salon--a setting for inspiration and conversation. Likewise, they have become much more than merely a place to buy books: they can be a source of abundant cultural events. Atmosphere and a selection that reflects the owners' tastes take center stage," Russia Beyond the Headlines reported.
"Glittering light" indie bookstores in St. Petersburg include Poryadok Slov, Vse Svobodny, My and Podpisnye Izdaniya, the last of which was reborn from the Soviet period.
In Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World (Tundra Books), music industry veterans Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Jared Levine and Sebastian Robertson invite young readers to share with them in celebrating 27 musical legends. The book includes two CDs of original songs by each of the artists featured, from Bob Dylan and James Brown to Aretha Franklin and Joni Mitchell.
At the Primetime Emmy Awards last night, four of the major category winners had book connections.
Behind the Candelabra, based on the book by Scott Thorson and Alex Thorleifson, was honored as outstanding miniseries or movie. In addition, Steven Soderbergh won the best director of a miniseries, movie or dramatic special Emmy, and Michael Douglas was named outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie.
Bobby Cannavale took home the best supporting actor in a drama series Emmy for his role in Boardwalk Empire, based on Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson.
This morning on Good Morning America: Suzanne Somers, author of I'm Too Young for This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause (Harmony, $26, 9780385347693). She will also be on Katie tomorrow.
This morning on Imus in the Morning: Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, authors of The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385536615).
This morning on the Today Show: cast members Deidre Hall, Kristian Alfonso, James Scott and Galen Gering discuss Days of Our Lives Better Living: Cast Secrets for a Healthier, Balanced Life (Days of Our Lives Publications, $34.99, 9781402267413). They will also appear on Extra.
Today on Ellen: Jim Carrey, author of How Roland Rolls (Some Kind of Garden Media, $16.95, 9780989368001).
Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling: A Novel (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594487484).
Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Stephen King, author of Doctor Sleep: A Novel (Scribner, $30, 9781476727653). He will also appear on NPR's Morning Edition.
Tomorrow morning on Imus in the Morning: Stanley Crouch, author of Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker (Harper, $27.99, 9780062005595).
Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Richard Dawkins, author of An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062225795).
The 201 finalists in 46 categories of the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards can be viewed here. Winners will be announced at the 7th Annual Book Awards Banquet on Friday, November 15, in Albuquerque.
The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award is:
"Barmouth" by Lisa Blower
"We Are Watching Something Terrible Happen" by Lavina Greenlaw
"Mrs Fox" by Sarah Hall
"Prepositions" by Lionel Shriver
"Notes from the House Spirits" by Lucy Wood
Winners will be announced October 8.
Finalists have been named for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, which honors a work that demonstrates literary excellence and "a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style and technique." This year's shortlisted titles are:
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King
The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be by J.B. MacKinnon
The Dogs are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan by Greame Smith
This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla by Andrew Steinmetz
Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother by Priscila Uppal
Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III (Norton, $25.95 hardcover, 9780393064650, October 7, 2013)
There is no one better to write about life's disillusionments than Andre Dubus III. In House of Sand and Fog, he limned the inexorable downward spiral of a woman, the man trying to help her and an entire family--all lost through misunderstanding, bad judgment and, finally, malicious intent. Then came a collection of short stories (The Cage Keeper), the explosive novel The Garden of Last Days and Townie, a brilliant memoir.
The four tales in Dirty Love are connected by geography and walk-ons by characters from one story to another. In "Listen Carefully, Our Options Have Changed," a husband is blindsided and heartbroken by his wife's adultery after 25 years of marriage. What follows is the slow revelation of his own controlling nature. "It's because of you! All you do is criticize me!" she says. "You made me do it!" He tells her to write a letter to her lover telling him that it's over. She says she will, but she doesn't.
In "Marla," a young-ish, lonely, overweight bank teller meets a man, moves in with him and finds he is a neat freak addicted to computer games--and that she really doesn't love him. She confides this to a friend who tells her that there are worse things than pretending. "Like what?" "Not trying hard enough," says her friend. So Marla pretends to try.
"The Bartender" is an aspiring poet--who hasn't written a word for quite a while. He has a pregnant wife he can't stop cheating on, even when she's in the hospital delivering their premature baby. The final, and longest, story is "Dirty Love," about a 17-year-old girl, Devon, whose life is forever changed when pictures of her servicing a boy make the rounds. Her father calls her all the names you might expect, so she leaves school, goes to live with her beloved Uncle Francis and works for the aforementioned bartender/poet, who can't stop looking at her. She "meets" a damaged Iraq vet online, falls instantly in love and goes to live with him in a trailer in the woods.
The dead ends, loss of innocence and hope all of Dubus's characters incur and endure by looking for love in all the wrong places, or expecting lust to do the work of love, are heartbreaking in their truth and intimacy. Dirty Love illuminates all the secret hiding places within the heart and soul. --Valerie Ryan
Shelf Talker: A new quartet of stories from the National Book Award-nominated (and Oprah-endorsed) Dubus is filled with complex relationships, dashed hopes and heartrending situations.