'What It Takes to Open a Bookstore'
|Greenlight owners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting|
" 'For this store, I handpicked every freaking title,' she said, all 7,248 of them."
|Greenlight owners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting|
" 'For this store, I handpicked every freaking title,' she said, all 7,248 of them."
The Morris Book Shop, Lexington, Ky., is closing at the end of January after owner Wyn Morris was unable to find a buyer for the business, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. "I have found myself with no choice but to close," Morris said. "Selling something that is not profitable is a challenge."
At the same time, Jay McCoy, who has managed Morris Book Shop for more than three years, is hoping to open a store in the Chevy Chase area with business partner and fellow poet, Savannah Sipple, who teaches English at Hazard Community and Technical College. They aim for have a store with a café serving wine and beer, and are talking with bankers and plan to begin a crowd-funding campaign soon.
Morris commented: "I can't think of anybody more equipped to succeed by building on what we started. Besides, I know where they can get some great bookshelves, cheap."
In July, Morris said he wanted to sell the store, which he opened in 2008. "There were some really interesting conversations and a lot of fascinating ideas," Morris said of his discussions with possible buyers. "But none of it was sound enough to really work."
Although the store has been highly popular and become "a Lexington literary institution," as the Herald-Leader put it, it hasn't been profitable and sales declined over the past two years, which Morris attributed in part to competition from Amazon, big-box booksellers and chains that sell books.
On the store's website, Morris wrote, "I've been stunned--humbled is not a powerful enough word--by the outpouring of support since July's announcement that our days might be numbered. This would be so much simpler if I was the only one who cared, if I was the only one who will miss the shop horribly. It's been a wild trip, and I thank you all for that."
Before opening the store, Morris worked for many years at Joseph-Beth Booksellers and then at the University Press of Kentucky.
Another Chapter Bookstore & Coffee Bar has opened at 9455 Owasso Expressway, Suite J, in Owasso, Okla. Owner Karren Barros told Tulsa World that with her youngest child in high school, she has more time to focus on herself and the next chapter in her life.
"I decided to open Another Chapter because I love books," she said. "I have a passion for reading, and want to share it.... I've always kept a huge library, and I didn't know what I wanted to do after I retired. I started brainstorming, and thought about opening a bookstore. I received a lot of encouragement."
Barros has been working for two years on opening her store, which will carry a variety of genres: "I rewrote my business plan three times, just to make sure it was exactly right.... I want everyone to be able to find something they'll enjoy. If I don't have it, I can get it fast. I want my store to be community based. I'll be hosting different community events at least twice a week."
Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, Madison, Wis., which announced earlier this fall that it was in danger of going out of business, will officially close today, WMTV reported. Volunteer Felix Bunke cited lack of funding, rather than lack of interest, as a primary factor in the decision.
Another volunteer member, Debbie Rasmussen, told the Wisconsin State Journal that among the causes for the closing was that "our main source of revenue, which was selling textbooks that supported the rest of the bookstore, is vanishing." The "changing landscape of downtown" was another factor.
WMTV noted the store "has gone through phases where it hired paid employees, but as finances have grown tighter, the store has been run on a volunteer basis. Volunteers like Bunke say the experience of working at Rainbow has been a rewarding one--he calls the store his second alma mater, saying that the books he's read and the visitors he's learned from have been more of an education than school."
On Facebook Friday, the bookshop announced a special weekend sale, as well as "a farewell party for Harvey the bookstore cat Saturday from 7-9 p.m.... We're so grateful for your support over the past 27 years!"
With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, Penguin has brought back the Penguin Hotline. Loosely modeled on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, which provides turkey-roasting help over the phone during the holiday season, the Penguin Hotline offers personalized book recommendations over the Internet. Book buyers fill out a simple online form, describing the reading preferences and hobbies of the person for whom they're buying a book and then receive an e-mail with recommendations put together by Penguin staff members. The Penguin Hotline is publisher-agnostic--books from all publishing houses will be up for recommendation.
The Penguin Hotline launched two years ago and within days reportedly received more than 1,500 requests from readers across the globe. Some of the requests the hotline volunteers have fielded in the past include books for a father interested in conspiracy theories and aliens; a cousin interested in shrimp farming; a friend going through a breakup; and one from a woman wanting to know what book she should buy for the man who bagged her groceries.
Author, broadcaster and teacher Leslie Kenton, who wrote more than 40 books on health, beauty and personal development, died November 13. She was 75. Kenton conceived the original Origins skincare product range for Estée Lauder, was a consultant to the European Parliament for the Green Party, and was the first chairperson of the Natural Medicine Society in Britain.
Her first book, The Joy of Beauty, was published in 1976. Raw Energy, co-authored with her daughter Susannah Kenton, was published in 1984 and became an international bestseller. Her other books include Passage to Power, Journey to Freedom and The X Factor Diet. In 2011, Kenton, who was the daughter of jazz legend Stan Kenton, published Love Affair: A Memoir of a Forbidden Father-Daughter Union.
Barnes & Noble on Manhattan's Upper West Side hosted neighborhood restaurateur Joe Germanotta for a pub-day signing of his Joanne Trattoria Cookbook: Classic Recipes and Scenes from an Italian American Restaurant (Post Hill Press). His daughter Lady Gaga--who wrote the foreword to the book--joined him.
Book and Bed Tokyo, a bookstore-themed hostel that opened last year, has launched a second branch in Kyoto with "5,000 books for guests to read, a special bar stocked with local beers, and bunks inside the shelves to sleep in," Rocket News 24 reported.
"While the number and types of beds available differ slightly to the Tokyo location, the on-site amenities remain the same. Each bunk has luggage space under the bed, along with a personal lamp, power outlet, hanger and private curtain," Rocket News 24 noted. "Unique to the Kyoto location is the addition of a 'Book and Bed and Beer' bar space, which is stocked with a selection of local brews for guests to purchase."
Kathleen Schmidt has joined Empire Literary as an agent focusing on commercial nonfiction and select women's fiction. Most recently, she was associate publisher of Rodale Books. Before that, she was v-p of marketing and publicity at Running Press, Weinstein Books and Atria. She also led her own PR & Marketing firm, KMSPR.
Chevalier's Books, "which claims the title of oldest independent bookstore in Los Angeles, has been serving the local neighborhood since 1940, when its original owner, Joseph Chevalier, started the business as a lending library," Bookselling This Week reported. The bookshop was purchased in 1990 by staff members Filis Winthrop and Gilpin Netburne, then sold in 2014 to Darryl Holter and Bert Deixler.
"We were then only a few blocks from the Paramount studios so we got a lot of movie people and actors," Winthrop recalled. "They would come in all the time. But a lot of the stars who were around our area were not the ones who were really glitzy." She added that Larchmont Village is "an old neighborhood where people all know each other. It became the meeting place for gossip, for friendly arguments, where everybody gathered to talk about the books they liked."
Holter told BTW that he and Deixler thought Chevalier's, which was struggling financially at the time, could still be a successful venture with a few changes. "I concluded that indie bookstores like Chevalier's that survived up to this point have three things," he said. "First, you need people who want to come in for the experience of being seen and of seeing other people; second, you need good demographics; third, your store needs to have some kind of a following, an affinity among people that goes back to a shared history."
Winthrop, at 95, is still a regular customer and sees the legacy continuing: "I go to the bookstore every day at least for a short while, so I see that we are holding our own, which is great. I am thrilled. It's so important to me that we keep the store going, and I hope we do."
For more on Chevalier's Books, see Shelf Awareness's recent story here.
"As winter draws closer and dusk settles at 4:30 p.m., the tendency is to batten down the hatches, fire up the wood stove and curl up on the sofa with a book," Upstate Dispatch observed in recommending "a cozy winter's evening" in Hobart, N.Y. The town is known as the Catskills' "book village," and is "modeled after another British tradition: Hay on Wye's annual book festival." A special shout-out was given to Creative Corner Books.
Today: Tim Ferriss, author of Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328683786).
Watch What Happens Live: Leah Remini, co-author of Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology (Ballantine, $17, 9781101886984). She will also appear on Dr. Oz.
Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Lauren Graham, author of Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) (Ballantine, $28, 9780425285176).
Lionsgate has announced that Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda "will be the creative producer behind an ambitious feature film and TV series adaptation of Pat Rothfuss's fantasy book trilogy the Kingkiller Chronicle," the Wrap reported. Miranda will serve as a producer and "musical mastermind," composing original music, as well as writing the songs. He also has an option to be involved in future stage adaptations of the books.
Lindsey Beer is writing the film adaptation, based on The Name of the Wind, the first book in the series. Simultaneously, a planned TV drama series will "expand on the world outside of the books," according to Lionsgate.
Erik Feig, co-president, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said, "Lin is an incomparable talent and a huge fan of the trilogy and, working closely with Pat, his creative oversight of the franchise will bring an incredible level of detail and continuity to all of the projects."
Miranda said the books "are among the most read and re-read in our home. It's a world you want to spend lifetimes in, as his many fans will attest. Pat also writes about the act of making music more beautifully than any novelist I've ever read. I can't wait to play a part in bringing this world to life onscreen."
The Mystery Writers of America named Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart as the 2017 Grand Masters, which represents "the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality." They will be honored at the 71st annual Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City on April 27.
The Raven Award for "outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing" will be presented to Dru Ann Love, owner/editor of dru's book musings.
The Ellery Queen Award for "outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry" will be given to Neil Nyren, executive v-p, associate publisher and editor in chief of G.P. Putnam's Sons.
|photo: Ryan Johnson Photography|
Jay Hopler writes poems about fighting cocks, glowing saints, wild storms and birdsong. He is the author of Green Squall, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Hopler has also received the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, the Whiting Writers' Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. He teaches in the writing program at the University of South Florida. His second collection, The Abridged History of Rainfall, is published by McSweeney's (November 15, 2016).
On your nightstand now:
My nightstand is piled with books. At the top of that pile are The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson, and The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories, edited by Peter Haining. I've been obsessed with ghost stories since I was a child, and I've just about read the covers off the James and the Benson. I'm about halfway through the Haining and am enjoying what I'm finding there.
Favorite book when you were a child:
My favorite book when I was a child was either James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. After falling in love with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I tried other books by C.S. Lewis, including some in the Narnia series, but I found them unreadable. Dahl, on the other hand, continues to be a favorite author. I particularly like his short stories. "Lamb to the Slaughter" and "Man from the South" are amazing.
Your top five authors:
I love Wallace Stevens because of the lushness of his language and the obvious joy he took in words. John Berryman is in my top five because his poems are so dynamic. He could swerve from depression to ecstasy to self-deprecation to marvelous, unapologetic grandiosity in the space of a few lines. His poems are roller coasters. And, of course, there's Gerard Manley Hopkins. I read him because I love being ravished by his music. No other poet then or since could ring the reader like a bell the way he could. I have to put Keats in there because, damn, could he do a turn! "Happy is England! I could be content," is one of my favorite Keats poems. Those "Yet do I"s get me every time. The final spot in my top five has to go to George Hitchcock. His imaginative leaps are stunning.
Book you've faked reading:
Mozart by Wolfgang Hildesheimer. A friend gave it to me as a gift. When he asked me a week later what I thought about it, I didn't have the heart to tell him I hadn't had a chance to read it. That was more than 20 years ago. I still haven't had a chance to read it. But I'm going to, one of these days. It's still on my shelf.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I feel evangelical about That Kind of Happy by Maggie Dietz. It's an amazing book. There are poems in it that give me goose bumps when I read them. The poem "Demolition Derby" is one of those poems; lines like "Rev-engined mish-mash, mosh/ pit of metal, brand-emblazoned/ junk-car smash-'em-up" make my jaw drop. All those sounds crashing into each other, all those words banged together with hyphens. Wonderful! And the poem "November" has an opening I covet: "Show's over, folks. And didn't October do/ A bang-up job?" That's the kind of swagger I look for every time I pick up a book of poetry and hardly ever find.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Stephen King's Night Shift. The image on the original paperback edition (at least I think it was the original) was a partially bandaged left hand that had eyes in the palm and fingers. I was eight or nine when it came out and I was transfixed by it when I saw it on our local drugstore's paperback rack. I saved up my allowance for a month to buy a copy. As it turned out, I liked the stories in it, too. I read them so often as a child, I had a few of them memorized.
Book you hid from your parents:
I never hid a book from my parents. My father was an avid reader, as my mother continues to be. I was always anxious to share with them all the great stuff I was reading.
Favorite line from a book:
"It so happens I am sick of being a man," from Pablo Neruda's poem "Walking Around." I was a student in Marvin Bell's poetry workshop at the University of Iowa in 1995. I think he'd gotten tired of us because, halfway through the semester, he marched the entire class down to the local movie theater where Il Postino, that wonderful Italian movie about Pablo Neruda, was playing. The movie began with the first lines of Neruda's poem "Walking Around" fading in across the screen ("It so happens I am sick of being a man./ And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie houses/ dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt/ steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes"). I didn't know you could say things like that in a poem, but I knew I wanted to and desperately.
Five books you'll never part with:
I wouldn't want to part with any of my books, but if I had to choose five...
Neruda & Vallejo: Selected Poems (translated by Robert Bly and James Wright). See above for the reason.
The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Not because of the poems (you can find those anywhere), but because it's filled with almost 25 years of notes and comments I've written in the margins. It's fun, sometimes, to go back and see what I thought about some of those poems when I was 20 and thought I knew everything.
The Wounded Alphabet by George Hitchcock. I can't figure out why more people are not devotees of George Hitchcock. The nature you find in a Hitchcock poem is not the nature that anyone can see by just looking out a window. It's a nature that's been filtered through one of the quirkiest sensibilities you're likely to encounter in the arts.
Sabine Baring-Gould's The Book of Werewolves. Thirty years ago, my sister, then a student at Rutgers, was taking a class in folklore. I found this book on one of her bookshelves and borrowed it. I never gave it back. There's something about the fact that the man who wrote "Onward Christian Soldiers" also wrote a book about werewolves that I find delightful.
The Complete English Poems by John Donne. When I write, John Donne is the mentor who leans over my shoulder and questions my line breaks, my syntax, whether or not my music is rising and falling as it should.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
That would be a toss-up between two of Agatha Christie's books, And Then There Were None and The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories. I am a rabid mystery fan and Christie's books seem to me to be the best. The problem, of course, is that the thrill one gets on the first read of a mystery is not reproducible on subsequent reads. This is perhaps less true of Poe's and Conan Doyle's work, but still.
Every Christmas my dad gave my brother and me a paperback copy of the following year's The World Almanac and Book of Facts, as reliably as the tangerine in the toe of our stockings. For me the holidays aren't the holidays without a good reference book to curl up with, so, from our Shelf to yours, we offer a cornucopia of appetizing choices for 2016 holiday gift-giving.
Animal! by John Woodward (DK/Smithsonian, $29.99, hardcover, 9781465453358, 288p., ages 9-12, September 6, 2016)
Animal lovers, sit up like a meerkat and take notice--this hefty, oversized full-color reference book teems with photographs and dramatic photorealistic computer-generated images, infographics and the occasional cutaway of an animal's innards. A giant toad catches a fly with its tongue, lions tousle and a sea lamprey exposes its horny teeth. Evolution, extinction, adaptation and many more aspects of animal science are explored in lucidly written, visually arresting pages. Divided into sections called Invertebrates, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals, this stunning encyclopedia will truly wow middle-graders who revel in all creatures great and small, from the tiniest baby seahorse to the chest-beating mountain gorilla.
Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More! (National Geographic Children's Books, $24.99, hardcover, 9781426325427, 304p., ages 8-12, October 11, 2016)
"The minute you hop out of bed in the morning, you land in the world of science," begins National Geographic's engaging Science Encyclopedia. This colorful, photo-rich, dynamically designed volume is catnip to anyone curious about how things work, from electricity to the human brain. Part 1: Physical Science covers matter, forces and machines, energy and electronics, and Part 2: Life Science tackles the universe, life on Earth, the human body and planet Earth. While unraveling questions like "How did life begin?" and "Who was Einstein?" the authors crack jokes, suggest activities and clarify context with photo-illustrated timelines. (The axolotl photo on page 191 is heart-stealing!)
How Cities Work by James Gulliver Hancock (Lonely Planet Kids, $18.99, hardcover, 9781786570222, 24p., ages 7-12, November 8, 2016)
"Our planet is bursting with hundreds of big cities, bustling with millions upon millions of people--but how did they come to be?" How Cities Work answers this question in a lively book with cartoonish, detailed, clean-lined illustrations that often expand into gatefolds, particularly thrilling in the "High-Rise Life" section. Open up the skyscraper to see a cross-section of a busy indoor city, from the tip-top penthouse to the steel supports underground. (It's Richard Scarry grows up and meets urban planning, but without the smiling, clothed animals.) Liftable flaps often reveal building or vehicle interiors and bite-sized captions about the history of cities, transportation, city living, construction, green spaces, emergency services, city hall, recreation, culture and cities of the future. Budding architects, urban planners, mayors or just plain engaged young citizens, rejoice.
Splat! The Most Exciting Artists of All Time by Mary Richards (Thames & Hudson, $19.95, hardcover, 9780500650653, 96p., ages 9-14, May 3, 2016)
This eye-catching, cleverly designed book begins with cave paintings and proceeds chronologically through the lives and works of world-famous artists such as Michelangelo, Bruegel, Caravaggio, Hokusai, Monet, Picasso, Dalí, Kahlo, Warhol and more. A pleasing variety of layouts give young readers the basics in handsome at-a-glance charts; illustrated cards that identify techniques and artistic movements; relevant sidebars; activity ideas; and, of course, well-produced samplings of the artists' works. The "challenges" section is fun, too. Vermeer's challenges, for example, are listed as "Money worries; a large family to support; used expensive paints; worked slowly." It's not all visual "soundbites"; two-page biographies also help flesh out the artists' stories. A splendid window on the world of art.
Under Water, Under Earth by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński (Big Picture Press/Candlewick, $35, hardcover, 9780763689223, 112p., ages 9-12, October 11, 2016)
"This book will take you on an unusual journey deep underwater, where you will meet record-breaking divers, scientists, and research vessels." That's the "Under Water" part of this quirky, oversized treasure (from the Polish creators of the bestselling Maps) that opens up landscape-wise like a laptop. Flip the book over to find the "Under Earth" section, "where you will meet cavers, spelunkers, miners, and passengers on the subway." Both the Under Water section (things like coral reefs, the history of diving suits, deep dwellers, the Mariana Trench) and the Under Earth section (volcanoes, mined resources, caves, burrowing animals, earth's layers, water, tectonic plates) delve into usually invisible worlds, with no particular flow or master plan. This whimsical, endlessly engrossing book, with its delicate, cartoon-like artwork, labels and bubbled captions, is tailor-made for perusing.
DK's Children's Illustrated Encyclopedia: Updated Edition (DK, $29.99, hardcover, 9781465451699, 600p., ages 9-12, July 5, 2016)
Wonderments from A to Z... this 600-page doorstop of a book is a browser's paradise, fully revised for its 25-year anniversary. The colorful, crisply designed entries on more than 380 topics lure readers with enticing overviews of varying lengths--one page each for Black Holes and Congress, four pages each on China and India, two each on Fish and Flight. Is it Microscopic Life, the Middle East, Migration or Money that intrigue you? Or perhaps Oil, Olympic Games, the Ottoman Empire and Oxygen? Snakes, Soccer, Soil and Sound? Technology, Teeth, Telephones and Telescopes? Elaborate cross-referencing makes the experience even richer. DK's Children's Illustrated Encyclopedia's updated edition swims with the latest facts and figures, global events, and recent developments in science and technology, with more than 3,000 full-color photos, illustrations, diagrams and new maps. A must-have for any inquisitive young mind. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness
The bestselling digital audiobooks of 2016 as reported by independent bookstores to Libro.fm:
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Blackstone Audio)
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Penguin Random House Audio)
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Blackstone Audio)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (PRH Audio)
When Breath Becomes Air by Abraham Verghese and Paul Kalanithi (PRH Audio)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (S&S Audio)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Recorded Books)
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (PRH Audio)
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (HarperCollins Audio)
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (HighBridge)