Book Culture: Fourth Store Germinating
"It's a more holistic consumerism. The computer screen just hurts; you need a real book in your hand. People become antisocial through technology and social media."
"It's a more holistic consumerism. The computer screen just hurts; you need a real book in your hand. People become antisocial through technology and social media."
December bookstore sales rose 9.6%, to $1.42 billion, compared to December 2014, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This was the fourth consecutive month in which sales rose strongly, after jumping nearly 7% in September and October and 7.5% in November. For the full year, because of the strong last third of the year, bookstore sales grew 2.6%, to $11.2 billion.
This marks the first year bookstore sales have risen since 2007, when the Great Recession began and when bookstore sales as measured by the Census Bureau reached their all-time high of $17.2 billion. Before then, bookstore sales had grown steadily every year for more than a decade, excluding 2006. (One has to go back to 1994, when bookstore sales were $10.1 billion, to find a year with bookstore sales lower than in 2015.) For much of that period, Borders and Barnes & Noble were growing steadily, but then faltered 10 years ago. Borders went into a tailspin and disappeared in 2011. B&N began slowly to decrease in sales and size--although it still has 640 superstores. In the same period, Amazon's sales have steadily increased. In recent years, indies have bounced back and account for much of the gain in sales in the past year.
Total retail sales in December rose 3%, to $514.9 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 2.1%, to $5,320 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."
|Hauser Wirth & Schimmel's new gallery space in L.A.
Artbook, the D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers subsidiary that runs bookstores at MoMA PS1 and the Swiss Institute, both in New York City, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., and many pop-up stores at art and photography fairs, is opening a bookstore in the new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, New York Arts magazine reported. The store will open on March 13. The gallery has more than 100,000 square feet of space and will have a research area and planting garden in addition to exhibition space and the bookstore, according to the Observer.
Much of the store's space will "spotlight selections that change every several months, focusing in great depth upon different movements and themes in contemporary and 20th-century art," New York Arts wrote. "Complementing current exhibitions as well as new developments in art practices and writing, these rotating thematic displays will include new releases in addition to important backlist books, indie press titles, imported catalogs, and out-of-print selections."
The first focus of the new store will be books about women artists, in connection with the inaugural Hauser Wirth & Schimmel exhibition, "Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016."
"Every bookstore has its own unique personality and strengths," Artbook's creative director Skúta Helgason said. "Our goal is definitely not to stock every title. We'll certainly be referring customers to the excellent bookstores and museum shops of Los Angeles, whose inventory complements our admittedly idiosyncratic and rapidly evolving selection." He added that besides international arts and culture titles, "we're also featuring an up-to-date collection of titles on visual studies and critical theory, a selection of contemporary literature, the newest international magazines on art and culture, displays of postcards and stationery items, and a kid-friendly area for children's books."
Wide World Books & Maps, Seattle, Wash., founded 40 years ago, is closing at the end of the month. In a post and e-mail, Julie Hunt, who's owned the store since 2009, said, "Unfortunately, in this age of online shopping, many small businesses have found it impossible to keep their storefronts open, which is a great loss to the community as a whole. For us, the availability of trip planning websites, as well as electronic books and maps, have made it even more difficult to compete."
Hunt added that she will miss "the outstanding presenters we have had the pleasure of learning from over the years, the inspiring solo travelers and gutsy women who have shared their stories with one another on Saturday mornings, and the thousands of wonderful customers who have regaled us with their travel dreams and memories. For our customers and fellow travelers, we wish you all the best in your future travels. The best way to cultivate peace and understanding among the many cultures of the world is to travel, experience, savor, and enjoy the great diversity of this planet. It has been an amazing experience to be part of the traveling community for the past several years, and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
Events will continue through the end of the month, and all merchandise as well as fixtures, bookcases, display racks, maps on the walls, etc., are on sale.
Donald Roseman has been named v-p of retail at Ingram Content Group. He was formerly general manager and senior v-p of sales and business development at Goodbaby International Holdings, an international children's products company with headquarters in Hong Kong. Before that, he was president of Joie International, president of Precept Marketing and international sales manager of Graco Children's Products.
Ingram COO Shawn Everson said Roseman "brings tremendous consumer product experience to Ingram. He will enhance our existing all-star retail team with his expertise in leading our sales and business development efforts."
Pushkin Press has appointed Laura Macaulay to the newly created role of deputy publisher, effective March 14. The Bookseller reported that Macaulay, "currently publisher at Daunt Books' publishing arm, will acquire fiction and nonfiction for Pushkin Press, the Pushkin Collection, Pushkin Vertigo and Pushkin Children's Books." She established Daunt Books Publishing with James Daunt in 2010. Previously, Macaulay worked for Hodder & Stoughton, and had been a manager at Daunt Books.
Adam Freudenheim, Pushkin's publisher and managing director said: "I've long been an admirer of the incredible imprint Laura has built up at Daunt Books and look forward to having her acquire across the growing and varied Pushkin lists. I'm also excited about the market-knowledge that Laura will bring from her many years in the book trade. Daunt Books is undoubtedly one of the world's great independent chains, and I'm sure we'll benefit enormously from her front line experience."
Macaulay commented: "Daunt Books Publishing has been a unique experience, and I've been fortunate to work with some exceptional authors and colleagues. I've learnt so much from the decades of intrinsic knowledge at Daunt Books. From my earliest bookselling days I've loved the Pushkin list, and under Adam's leadership it has become one of the most remarkable publishers in the U.K."
Jake Page, an editor and columnist at Smithsonian magazine "who brought the wonders of science to a general audience in dozens of books, and who channeled his interest in the Indians of the American Southwest into a series of popular mystery novels," died January 10, the New York Times reported. He was 80. His books include The Stolen Gods and In the Hands of the Great Spirit: The 20,000-Year History of American Indians. His most recent book is Uprising: The Pueblo Indians and the First American War for Religious Freedom.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Copperfield's Books in Petaluma, Calif., overflowed with friendship during the store's event for Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships by Kira Asatryan (New World Library). From l.: Raymond Lawrason, assistant manager and events manager at the store; Kira Asatryan; and Monique Muhlenkamp, New World Library's publicity director.
A photo of The Martian DVD being sold next to potatoes in a store's produce department went viral over the weekend, and if you've read Andy Weir's novel or "seen the movie, it seems like perfect cross-promotion, done perhaps by some clever person at a random grocery store. But it's no accident," io9 reported.
The Albert Bartlett potato company has an official deal with Twentieth Century Fox to use the movie and Matt Damon's face to sell its Rooster potatoes. The promotion even includes the chance to win a free trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The DVD/Blu-Ray insert comes with an Albert Bartlett advertisement as well.
|Third Place Books managing partner Robert Sindelar shows off the new space. (photo: Ken Lambert/Seattle Times)
In a piece headlined "Seward Park, meet your new bookstore," the Seattle Times previewed Third Place Books-Seward Park, which could open as soon as April and "will feature an espresso bar, a full restaurant called Raconteur (breakfast, lunch and dinner), a full bar downstairs, an event/reading space capable of accommodating up to 100 people and books." Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books, which has stores in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, estimates the new store will stock 15,000 to 20,000 titles and 50,000 volumes. There will be a separate children's department.
Sindelar, who is v-p of the American Booksellers Association, said the bookseller's formula relies on a key ingredient: make the store feel welcoming. "Being multigenerational is important to our success," he said. "Everyone in the household should like to be there. This is an incredible opportunity. Here's a chance to grow a reading public."
The Seattle Times noted that the new location's "most distinctive architectural feature is its arched roof, uncovered when the renovators knocked down the dropped ceiling and found both the ceiling and the original wood trusses. Now the interior ceiling is clad in beautiful overlapping wood, like a warm wood floor. Skylights let the light in."
Patrick O'Connell has joined Dynamite Entertainment as sales manager. He formerly worked for more than seven years at DC Comics and earlier was a senior manager and buyer at St. Mark's Comics in New York City.
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Dr. Lisa Damour (Ballantine).
Fresh Air: Sue Klebold, author of A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (Crown, $28, 9781101902752).
Diane Rehm: Richard Engel, author of And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451635119). He will also appear today on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell and tomorrow on CNBC's Power Lunch.
The Real: L.A. Reid, author of Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next (Harper, $29.99, 9780062274755).
Meredith Vieira: Rocco DiSpirito, author of The Negative Calorie Diet: Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 10 Days with 10 All You Can Eat Foods (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062378132).
Conan repeat: John Cleese, author of So, Anyway... (Three Rivers Press, $16, 9780385348263).
Last Call with Carson Daly: Jalen Rose, author of Got to Give the People What They Want: True Stories and Flagrant Opinions from Center Court (Crown Archetype, $28, 9780804138901).
Today: Dr. Susan Albers, author of 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food: Mindfulness Strategies to Cope with Stress and End Emotional Eating (New Harbinger, $16.95, 9781626252523).
The View: Kate Hudson, author of Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062434234).
CNBC's Mad Money: David B. Agus, author of The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476712109).
Diane Rehm: Senator Cory Booker, author of United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good (Ballantine, $27, 9781101965160).
A clip has been released for A Quiet Passion, the film directed by Terence Davies (The House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea) that "tells the story of Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist whose huge body of emotional and powerful literary work was discovered after her death." Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle star.
Among the many winners at last night's Grammy Awards was a book-related one. In the Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) category, the Grammy went to A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter (S&S Audio).
The finalists for the $50,000 George Washington Prize, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington's Mount Vernon and Washington College and honoring "the past year's best written works on the nation's founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history," are:
The winner of the prize will be announced at Mount Vernon on May 25.
The finalists are of the Hayek Book Prize, sponsored by the Manhattan Institute and honoring "authors who best represent the universality and timeliness of the principles of F.A. Hayek," are:
The winner, who will receive a $50,000 award, will be announced in early March and will deliver the annual Hayek lecture in New York in early June.
Monte Schulz, son of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, wrote his first novel, Down by the River, in 1990. He has since written three novels set during the Jazz Age: This Side of Jordan, The Last Rose of Summer and The Big Town, recently published as one volume in Crossing Jordan (Fantagraphics, $34.99, 9781606998915). Schulz has owned the Santa Barbara Writers Conference since 2010 and taught writing classes at University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned his M.A. in American Studies.
What inspired the story behind Crossing Eden?
My novel derived from several literary works I read in my early '20s, most given to me by my father back then--Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe; The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters; The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg; East of Eden by John Steinbeck; Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr.; and The Stories of Ring Lardner. Each is a portrait of America crossing from a rural to an urban nation. They are poetic in language and philosophical in their artistic sensibilities. That period was also the time of my parents' youth, and I used the book as a way to tell some of their story as part of America's story.
How much research did you do for the book?
Early on, I decided that this period in American history was told best through primary documents. I quit reading modern histories of the '20s and began instead to study newspapers, novels, magazines, letters and essays from the time, and take notes from each. For one chapter alone, I read, made notations, and consulted more than 58 books. At a flea market, I found a Montgomery Ward catalog from 1923. I read three books about Prohibition published during the '20s; I found 12 books on Spiritualism and séances published between 1900 and 1930; I bought a library-bound edition of Collier's magazine for June-December 1929, and photo-copied many pages from newspapers put out during that summer. I have dozens of books on railroads, interurban trolleys, airplanes, automobiles, schools, health, science, law, etc., and hundreds of letters from my grandparents and great-grandparents, all of which I used to capture and recreate the spirit and sensibility of that age. I even drew names from the Cal Berkeley yearbook of 1900 for the many, many characters in my book.
What does it mean to write a "Great American Novel?"
Back in 1942, writing about Thomas Wolfe and Of Time and the River, Thomas Lyle Collins suggested the Great American Novel should "capture completely the spirit and meaning of this immense and bewildering new society of ours." I took that to mean such a novel must do its utmost to portray as broad a canvas of this nation as possible, with all its disparate geography and classes, its character and flaws, ideals and failures. With that in mind, I created a novel (somewhat like John Dos Passos's U.S.A.) with three interconnected story lines occurring simultaneously in three separate locations: one urban, another along the states of the Middle Border and a third in a small town in east Texas. I took up the challenge of describing a tapestry of American life, both macrocosm and microcosm, small lives and big, urban and rural, glittering and downtrodden. I wanted my novel to be both story and philosophy, emotional and instructive. It took 10 years to develop the first draft and the manuscript was 1,000 pages. I do believe I answered Collins's call.
Your father is Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. How did your father inspire your career?
My father was the true inspiration to my work by showing me the way to beautiful American writing. He had me read wonderful lyric passages in Of Time and the River and The Grapes of Wrath. He persuaded me to dream of writing my own lovely paragraphs, my own great novel. Along the way, he supported my 10 years in the literary wilderness and before he died, told me that my book, this novel, was raising the level of art in the family. His inspiration guided my imperfect hand.
Your father makes a cameo in Crossing Eden. Why was it important to include him in this story?
Since part of this novel is my father's story, I wanted to include him (and other people I've known) in this book. Originally he was in two scenes: one, pitching on the mound of a sandlot baseball game, a scene that failed to survive my ruthless editing of this enormous manuscript; and secondly, where he still resides, in a mention of my grandfather's Family Barbershop in St. Paul, Minnesota, where my character, Harry Hennesey, would get his haircut "by a cigar smoking German fellow whose young son drew funny little pictures."
Also, of the four interludes in the novel, three of them are basically my father's voice from an interview I did with him many years ago. Likewise, his life inspired the novel's epilogue, A Republic of Dreams, that I wrote after his death in February of 2000.
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 hardcover, 9780544272880, March 1, 2016)
Any new book by popular historian Timothy Egan is a cause for celebration, and The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero is no exception. Egan won the National Book Award for The Worst Hard Time in 2006, and more recent books such as Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher have found similar acclaim.
Egan's eighth book, The Immortal Irishman, recounts the barely believable life of Thomas Francis Meagher, who seems to have had an almost Forrest Gump-like knack for finding himself in the midst of important historical events. Born in Ireland in 1823 to a wealthy family, Meagher became dissatisfied with his father's conciliatory attitude toward the ruling British. Egan shares a few anecdotes about the soon-to-be-hero's endearing acts of resistance, including one occasion where Meagher was deprived of the part of the Earl of Kent in his school's production of King Lear because of his thick Irish brogue. He had his revenge on opening night when, demoted to a bit part, he jumped onto the stage: "In the deepest invocation of his native Munster province, he bellowed his line: 'The British powers were marching thitherward.' The audience roared, and Thomas repeated it, in a still more exaggerated Irish accent." It's an amusing story with serious implications--as Meagher himself darkly noted, it "was not the first time the brogue entailed the forfeiture of title and estate."
As an adult in Ireland, Meagher got into more serious trouble. A skilled orator, her joined a small group of Irish nationalists composed largely of poets, writers and orators known as Young Ireland, whose outspoken members were energized by the onset of the Great Hunger. Perhaps more commonly known in the United States as the Potato Famine, the horrific consequences of the blight and British misrule led Meagher to take part in a failed uprising in 1848. Captured by the British, he was deported to the penal colony of Tasmania.
Amazingly, Meagher's journey didn't end there. He escaped from Tasmania and made his way to New York City, where he found a large Irish diaspora population as well as a country sliding toward Civil War. Thanks to Meagher's status as a revolutionary hero and his oratorical talents, he eventually led a newly formed Irish Brigade into some of the bloodiest battles of the war.
Meagher's busy life contained many more twists and turns than can be summarized here. The Immortal Irishman, thankfully, provides not just a recounting of Meagher's exploits but historical context for his adventures in Ireland, Tasmania and the U.S. Certainly his life makes for an engaging narrative, but Meagher also comes across as a decent fellow engaged in a "persistent lifelong struggle to grant dignity to those without it." In a way, Meagher's story is the story of the Irish diaspora, and The Immortal Irishman is part biography, part celebration of the unkillable Irish spirit. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books
Shelf Talker: The near-mythic Irishman Thomas Francis Meagher became a revolutionary hero, escaped from a British penal colony and led a brigade of Irish-American soldiers through some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:
1. The Baller by Vi Keeland
2. Beautiful Burn (The Maddox Brothers Book 4) by Jamie McGuire
3. Windburn (The Elemental Series Book 4) by Shannon Mayer
4. Right to My Wrong (The Heroes of the Dixie Wardens MC Book 8) by Lani Lynn Vale
5. Distraction by Aurora Rose Reynolds
6. Gettysburg, 1913 by Alan Simon
7. Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby
8. One Night In London by Sandi Lynn
9. Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant
10. A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest
[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]