Gaiman: 'Nothing Matches a Good Indie'
"I don't think that anything actually matches the experience of actually going into a good independent bookshop."
"I don't think that anything actually matches the experience of actually going into a good independent bookshop."
Today, the Library of Congress will name as the next poet laureate Charles Wright, whose work, the New York Times said, fuses "the legacy of European modernism with mystical evocations of the landscape of the American South."
Wright is a retired professor at the University of Virginia and has won "just about every other honor in the poetry world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize."
Contacted by the Times, Wright said, "I'm very honored and flattered to be picked, but also somewhat confused.... I really don't know what I'm supposed to do. But as soon as I find out, I'll do it."
James Billington, the librarian of Congress, praised Wright for his "combination of literary elegance and genuine humility--it's just the rare alchemy of a great poet." Wright's work offers, he said, "an infinite array of beautiful words reflected with constant freshness."
In preparation for its long-planned move, St. Mark's Bookshop, New York City, will close on Monday, June 23, and after "a few days" reopen in its new location at 136 East Third Street, six short and three long blocks southeast. The closest subway station is the F at Second Avenue, and the M14A bus stops at Third Avenue and A Street.
Construction is continuing at the new location. For a schematic, check out the store's website.
Nine indie booksellers in Chicago have teamed up for the inaugural Chicago Independent Bookstore Day, on July 12. "To encourage Chicago readers to visit their own neighborhood store as well as the other unique stores in different neighborhoods--from Hyde Park to Logan Square to Andersonville--indie stores are offering special deals, free books and refreshments," organizers said. "Customers will also receive a handful of puzzle pieces from each participating store that will fit together to create an exclusively designed frameable print by Lilli Carré."
Participating booksellers are: The Book Cellar, 57th Street Books, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Unabridged Bookstore, Open Books, City Lit Books, Powell's Bookstore and Women & Children First Bookstore.
Amazon represented 60% of the e-book market for Hachette Group in the U.S. last year and had an even larger e-market share in the U.K., according to Hachette parent Lagardère, which discussed its business in depth late last month at a presentation for investors in Paris. The e-book market figures were first reported by Publishers Lunch and are available here (in the Lagardère Publishing presentation). These are among the most open e-book market share figures in publishing and show the importance to Hachette of the dispute with Amazon, which apparently centers on e-book discounts. (The e-book market slide had the understated headline, "Publishers Are Now Dealing With Giant Technology Players Who Enjoy Considerable Bargaining Power.")
According to the presentation, in 2013, Amazon represented 60% of the market for Hachette e-book sales in the U.S., followed by 19% for Barnes & Noble, 13% for Apple and 8% for "other," which includes Kobo, Google, Sony, etc.
In the U.K. in 2013, Amazon accounted for 78% of e-book sales for Hachette, followed by 12% for Apple, 5% for Kobo and 5% for other, including Google, OverDrive, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Based on Bookstats, internal estimates and Publishers Association data, the presentation also said that digital book revenue had flattened for all book publishers in the last year, with digital representing 22% of overall publisher net revenues in 2012 and estimated at 22% again in 2013. In the U.K., digital grew to 21% of publisher net revenues in 2013 from 17% in 2012.
When Margie Wilson, owner of Grand Valley Books, Grand Junction, Colo., discovered last month that KAFM Community Radio had partnered with the AmazonSmile program, she took action. Questioning how a local nonprofit station expected to gain community support while asking people to shop online, Wilson contacted other sponsors and supporters, as well as the station's board of directors, to address the issue.
Before meeting with the board of directors at the end of May, she told the Daily Sentinel that dozens of local retailers had become alarmed when KAFM began promoting AmazonSmile on its website. "The reaction was immediate and it was vehement," said Barry Barak, KAFM board president, adding that he had been unaware of Amazon's business practices until he spoke with her. "The board was not involved in the decision to do this," he said. "This was a management decision, which is fine. That is what they get paid to do. The fact that the response has reached the proportion it has (is what) brought the board into it.... For us, [AmazonSmile] was just another source of donations, but that's on the surface. What it means to Main Street businesses is, intruder alert. We're, in a sense, a Main Street business ourselves. So we're very sympathetic."
On June 1, KAFM's board announced its decision to discontinue affiliation with AmazonSmile "after a round of thoughtful discussions with KAFM members and representatives of the local business community. The board recognizes the support KAFM has received from local businesses across the Grand Valley for the past 15 years and seeks to underscore the collaborative nature of that long term relationship with this decision."
Reflecting on the challenge, Wilson said it had been "very affirming to receive tons of support from the local business community in the form of e-mails, Facebook postings, phone calls and person-to-person visits to my bookstore. Much of the support came from people who had been or were currently underwriters, donors, members and volunteers at KAFM, as well as staff members at the station. I also got a wonderful round of support from other booksellers and publishers.
"We're all fighting the same battle and we need to keep the pressure on nonprofits we support to be more discerning about their revenue streams. One of the points I made when I met with them is that policy decisions like this one are not day-to-day operational decisions, but rather a philosophical choice, and one that indicates something about the culture of their organization...
"It's my hope that this will prompt public discussion of how nonprofits make decisions about seemingly beneficial partnerships that turn out to be a slap in the face to the local business community, and that are akin to 'sleeping with the enemy' in light of the impact they have." --Robert Gray
U.K. bookseller Michael Seviour, "a warm, unpretentious and observant man who managed some of the most distinctive bookshops of his time," has died, the Guardian reported, noting that he "loved handling books as well as reading them, especially ones that were well designed; and he made lasting friendships everywhere he worked."
During BookExpo America, Simon & Schuster held an event for booksellers to meet Hillary Clinton, whose new book, Hard Choices, appeared this week. As a special treat, booksellers could have a picture taken with the author. (S&S sent the photos out this week.) Here, with the former Secretary of State, senator and First Lady, is the bookseller who traveled farthest to the event: Mark Rubbo, owner of Readings, Melbourne, Australia, winner multiple times of Australian Bookseller of the Year awards.
Randy Susan Meyers, author most recently of The Comfort of Lies and the upcoming Accidents of Marriage (Sept.), wrote a Beyond the Margins column about James Patterson's indie bookstore grants. Recalling a recent library event at which one of the grant recipients, the Country Bookseller, Wolfeboro, N.H., had sold books, Meyers noted that owner Karen Black "was our mama, our friend and our beloved. She made it easy and she made it fun. Having an independent bookseller at events (and they come on faith, never knowing if they're going to sell one--to our husband--or a hundred) makes all the difference to us.... I visited the Country Bookseller the next day, and though I'd been excited about the Patterson grants before this, talking to Karen at her shop made all the levels of why this was deep down true important."
With that in mind, Meyers offered "6 Reasons to Love James Patterson Grants to Booksellers":
"James Patterson knows: authors need independent bookstores," Meyers wrote. "It's where we meet readers; it's where readers meet our books."
For travelers, "little will beat the act of stepping inside a small, local bookstore, being greeted by the owner and guided through the collection by an employee who actually loves literature as much as you do," Traveler magazine observed in highlighting "10 of the best independent bookstores across the U.S."
"Maybe it's their independent spirit (reading, after all, is a form of freedom), or maybe it's that they're connected with local authors, but the independent bookstore manages to live on in an era of Kindles and chain resellers," Traveler wrote.
Last Saturday at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, art academy students from the Rietveld's Department of Architectural Design created book sculptures in the square outside the bookstore. Check out these photos of their works.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (Orbit).
Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, authors of All the President's Men (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781476770512).
Tomorrow on the Talk: Kendall and Kylie Jenner, authors of Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia (Karen Hunter/Gallery, $17.99, 9781451694420).
Also on the Talk: Ben Ford, co-author of Taming the Feast: Ben Ford's Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking (Atria, $34.99, 9781476706399).
A new trailer is out for The Boxtrolls, based on Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow and featuring the voices of Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan and Ben Kingsley, Indiewire reported. The movie hits theaters September 26.
Indiewire featured the opening seven minutes of Costa-Gavras's Capital, based on Stéphane Osmont's novel Le capital and the essay "Total Capitalism" by former Credit Lyonnais president Jean Peyrelevade, "his take on high finance skullduggery." Capital, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday, stars Gad Elmaleh, Gabriel Byrne, Natacha Regnier, Hyppolyte Girardot, Lyia Kebede and Bernard Lecop.
Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.
Saturday, June 14
11 a.m. Live coverage of Hillary Clinton signing Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476751443) at a Costco in Arlington, Va. (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:15 a.m.)
12 p.m. Tavis Smiley, author of Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316332767), at BEA. (Re-airs Saturday at 8:15 p.m.)
12:15 p.m. Book TV covers a BEA panel: "The Media Is the Message: How Technology Is Affecting the Development of Content." (Re-airs Sunday at 12:15 a.m.)
1:15 p.m. Jenny Nordberg, author of The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan (Crown, $25, 9780307952493), at BEA. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:15 a.m.)
1:30 p.m. James Patterson discusses his grants to independent bookstores at BEA. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 a.m.)
2:15 p.m. Jake Halpern, author of Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25, 9780374108236), at BEA. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:20 a.m.)
2:30 p.m. Book TV covers a BEA panel: "The Future of Bricks and Mortar Retailers." (Re-airs Sunday at 2:30 a.m.)
3:20 p.m. Richard Blanco, author of The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (Ecco, $25.99, 9780062313768), at BEA. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)
5 p.m. Michael Mandelbaum, author of The Road to Global Prosperity (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476750019), at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
7 p.m. Molly Worthen, author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780199896462). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)
8:30 p.m. Hillary Clinton, author of Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476751443). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:15 a.m.)
10 p.m. Kenneth Adelman, author of Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War (Broadside Books, $29.99, 9780062310194). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)
11 p.m. Charlotte Bonelli, author of Exit Berlin: How One Woman Saved Her Family from Nazi Germany (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300197525).
Sunday, June 15
1:30 p.m. Joseph Glatthaar, author of Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served Under Robert E. Lee (University of North Carolina Press, $52.50, 9780807834923). (Re-airs Monday at 1:30 a.m.)
3 p.m. Suki Kim, author of Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite (Crown, $24, 9780307720658), at BEA. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)
3:15 p.m. Book TV covers a BEA panel: "Lessons Learned in the Classroom: What Publishing Students Teach Their Professors." (Re-airs Monday at 4:15 a.m.)
4 p.m. Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League (Scribner, $27, 9781476731902), at BEA. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)
4:30 p.m. Book TV covers a BEA panel: "The Journey of a Book: From Writer to Reader.” (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)
5:20 p.m. Gail Sheehy, author of Daring: My Passages: A Memoir (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062291691), at BEA. (Re-airs Monday at 6:20 a.m.)
5:30 p.m. Dave Zirin, author of Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy (Haymarket, $16, 9781608463602).
7 p.m. Michael Lindsay, co-author of View from the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape the World (Wiley, $28, 9781118901106).
8:15 p.m. Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me (Haymarket, $11.95, 9781608463862), at Moe's Books in Berkeley, Calif.
10 p.m. Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Belknap Press, $39.95, 9780674430006), and Senator Elizabeth Warren, author of A Fighting Chance (Metropolitan, $28, 9781627790529), discuss economic inequality.
11 p.m. Mark Stein, author of American Panic: A History of Who Scares Us and Why (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9781137279026), at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
11:45 p.m. Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476708690), at BEA.
A shortlist has been announced for the £10,000 (US$16,750) Dundee International Book Prize, which features the largest cash award for unpublished work in the U.K. as well as publication by Cargo Publishing, BBC News reported. The judges, including Neil Gaiman, chose a 10-book shortlist from more than 400 submissions. These will be narrowed down to three finalists, with a winner named in October during the annual Dundee Literary Festival.
As the World Cup begins in Sao Paulo today and Brazil prepares to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, the Association of American University Presses has compiled a Books for Understanding bibliography as a guide to the wide range of serious scholarship on the diverse, complex country of Brazil.
Featuring nearly 200 works from 28 scholarly publishers, Books for Understanding: Brazil includes titles such as:
Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 17:
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers (Knopf, $25.95, 9781101874196) follows a disturbed man's conversations with a series of captives.
Terminal City by Linda Fairstein (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525953883) is another installment in the Alex Cooper series.
Nantucket Sisters: A Novel by Nancy Thayer (Ballantine, $26, 9780345545480) follows two lifelong friends in Nantucket.
The Red Room by Ridley Pearson (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399163746) continues the Risk Agent series.
Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s by Tom Doyle (Ballantine, $27, 9780804179140) explores McCartney's career after the Beatles' breakup.
Price of Fame: The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce by Sylvia Jukes Morris (Random House, $35, 9780679457114) is a biography of the ambassador, Congresswoman and author.
On Thursday, June 19:
The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith (Mulholland Books, $28, 9780316206877) is the second mystery starring private investigator Cormoran Strike.
Now in paperback:
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Vintage, $15.95, 9780307278265).
Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World by Dr. Phil McGraw (Bird Street Books, $15.99, 9781939457066).
The Mill River Recluse: A Novel by Darcie Chan (Ballantine, $15, 9780553391879).
For Once in My Life: A Novel by Marianne Kavanagh (Emily Bestler/Atria, $16, 9781476755274).
Last Taxi Ride by A.X. Ahmad (Minotaur Books, $26.99 hardcover, 9781250016867, June 24, 2014)
Nobody knows a city like its taxi drivers--the streets, the smells, the short cuts, the people and the police. In New York City, the hacks are often immigrants who were formerly doctors, accountants or other professionals, now willing to take a step down into long hours and drunken passenger insults in order to get a leg up on life in a new country. Ranjit Singh, the protagonist in A.X. Ahmad's second novel of a projected trilogy (after The Caretaker), is one of these cabbies.
A former captain in the Indian Army and a practicing Sikh, Ranjit is driving only "temporarily" (a common self-delusion that goes with the job) while he puts his life back together after a divorce and the loss of his teen daughter to her mother's custody back in India. He lives in a Spartan apartment in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, works part-time security for an Indian import broker, and eats regularly with his fellow Indian and Pakistani drivers at Curry Hill's greasy Karachi Kabob diner.
His life is filled with boredom, regret and emotional late-night Skype calls to his daughter--until he picks up the famous but aging Bollywood film star Shabana Shah and delivers her to the door of the luxurious old Dakota on Central Park West. The doorman, a former friend from the Indian Army Academy, later sneaks Ranjit into Shabana's apartment when she's out so he can see how his idol lives. The next day, Shabana is found dead in her living room, bludgeoned by a heavy statue of the Hindu god Ganesh--a statue that's covered with Ranjit's fingerprints. He is thrown into Manhattan's notorious municipal jail, the Tombs, awaiting bail with little hope except his faith in his own resourcefulness and his network of fellow drivers.
In the story of Shabana's rise from Mumbai poverty to Bollywood fame, Ahmad twists this crime novel scenario into a clever take on the corruption of India's film industry and the migration of its crime mobsters to New York through a surprisingly lucrative American black market: the lustrous hair of Indian women. As Ranjit's ruthless import boss tells him, "Let them wear our hair and pretend it's theirs.... They make nothing here anymore. We make the clothes on their backs.... All they sell is dreams... soon it will be our turn."
The Last Taxi Ride is an immigrant's-eye view of New York City's streets and American xenophobia masquerading as a whodunit. The tenacious Ranjit traverses its avenues and alleys like Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder in a turban. Ahmad ably brings to life a side of the city rarely seen by those who take for granted their nannies, doormen and cabbies. With a closing hint of Ranjit's need to escape from his enemies in New York to a Sikh border community in Southern California, Ahmad suggests Ranjit's adventures will continue. A good thing; he's too engaging to let go so soon. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.
Shelf Talker: The second Ranjit Singh novel takes the former Indian Army Sikh through the streets of New York City to solve the mysterious murder of an aging Bollywood star.
The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:
1. Why Me? by Sarah Burleton
2. Devour by Various
3. Asher by Jo Raven
4. Love, Chocolate, and Beer by Violet Duke
5. Overwhelmed by You by Nashoda Rose
6. Slade (Walk of Shame #1) by Victoria Ashley
7. Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey
8. Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw
9. Pulse (Book One) by Deborah Bladon
10. Pulse (Book Two) by Deborah Bladon
[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]