Pat Robinson, a longtime New England bookseller who served on the board
of the American Booksellers Association and served as executive
secretary of the New England Booksellers Association for years, died May 17. She
Trained as a librarian, Robinson ran the purchasing department of the
Dartmouth College Bookstore, was a buyer for MacBeans Books & Music
and until 2004 worked at Bookland of Brunswick, in Maine, where she was known most affectionately as
"the book lady."
Cool idea of the day: Beginning this summer, students at Dominican
University, San Rafael, Calif., will be able to get graduate and
undergraduate credit for the many writing and literature classes and
conferences offered by Book Passage, Corte Madera. According to the
school, the students will take the classes as part of an independent
study program. The Marin Independent Journal
Ottakar's, which last week rejected a low takeover bid from HMV, said
that comp-store sales in the first 16 weeks of its fiscal year dropped
8%, according to the Independent
The company continues to be hurt by competition from online booksellers
and grocery stores and suffers from an out-of-date inventory control
system. Richard Ratner, a retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, told the
paper: "Whilst the non-executives at HMV appear to be playing 'hard
ball,' it needs Ottakar's to achieve economies of scale; conversely
Ottakar's needs a deal."
Because of the impending opening of a Borders Books & Music,
Village Booksmith in Medina, Ohio, is closing a week from today, according
to the Akron Beacon Journal
Owners Clayton and Carolyn Van Doren told the paper they had made a
pact that if a chain bookstore opened in Medina County, they would
close. "We knew they'd be coming eventually," Clayton Van Doren said.
"The store was a marginal business even without the Borders here. It
didn't make a living for anyone. It bordered on being a public
Clayton Van Doren
does not blame Borders. In fact, he said, he is in awe of the store's
selection, "including obscure topics he favors, like those on number
theory." The Van Dorens bought the 30-year-old bookstore in 1995.
Employee Barbara Barry will keep one part of Village Booksmith's
business going: she will continue to provide reading material for
schools and libraries through Booksmith Educational Resources,
something she's coordinated for 15 years.
The Burbank Leader
buzzes through one of the most unusual specialty stores in the country,
Autobooks-Aerobooks, in Burbank, Calif., which has more than 7,000
titles about cars, planes and motorcycles and is more than 50 years old.
With the end of the school year, the MBS Universal Digital Textbooks
Program has released a general evaluation of its beta test selling
e-textbooks in college bookstores. "Bookstores carrying eBooks have
noticed increased traffic and sales (textbooks and general merchandise)
as a result of offering digital textbooks," MBS said. Being able to
shop and compare all versions of a textbook in one place drew students
to stores, the company added.
During the past semester some 30 college stores participated, offering
nearly 400 titles. Publisher participants included McGraw-Hill Higher
Education, Thomson Learning, Houghton Mifflin and SAGE Publications.
In the last academic year, computer science/technology was the
bestselling category of e-text, followed by reference, education, medicine and
history and geography. The number of titles is expected to increase
this fall as more publishers become involved.
More gate crashing: Chelsea Green proudly notes that in cooperation
with Politics & Prose, the Washington, D.C., bookstore, people
organized by the Roots Project converged on the capital yesterday and
distributed copies of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (Chelsea Green, $25,
1931498997) to all Democratic members of the Senate and the House. The
book was published in March (Shelf Awareness
, April 5
All copies of the book that were distributed were donated by people
from around the country; Politics & Prose provided the logistics
for the donations.
The Roots Project grew out of the blogs FireDogLake
, Crooks & Liars
and Unclaimed Territory