Notes: Loaded Landlord; Lapine's Menu of Charges
More on the sale of Mitchell's Book Corner on Nantucket Island, Mass., mentioned in yesterday's issue, thanks to the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror.
The new owner of the building in which Mitchell's is located, Wendy Schmidt, is a summer resident and wife of Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The Schmidt Family Foundation recently bought the former Island Spirits property and is an investor in the new nonprofit running the Dreamland Theater. Schmidt bought the Mitchell's building through a limited liability corporation rather than the foundation.
Kramer for the defense?
Missy Chase Lapine has sued Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Seinfeld for plagiarism and defamation, according to Reuters.
Lapine, author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals (Running Press), published last April, had complained of similarities between that title and Jessica Simpson's book published six months later, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food (Collins).
The suit claims Jessica Seinfeld "copied" her book's concept, cover art, style and structure and asserts that her husband launched "a slanderous attack" on Lapine on national TV.
On the Late Show with David Letterman and to E! News, Seinfeld had called Lapine a "nut" and a "whacko" and said many "three-name people" have become assassins a la Mark David Chapman.
The Seinfelds' lawyer said there is "no basis for any kind of legal claim."
Bookazine has become an underwriter of the New England Independent
Booksellers Association's grant program that was established last year
to assist booksellers' efforts to promote the value of local businesses
and to help establish local independent business alliances.
In a statement, Kathleen Willoughby, v-p of marketing and online development at Bookazine, said: "The work that member bookstores have already achieved with the grants awarded is astounding--and clearly the groundswell of a movement that we believe will significantly impact the retail environment."
NEIBA executive director Steve Fischer thanked Bookazine, saying, "Our members need help fighting the good fight, educating the consumer on the value of shopping independently owned and operated businesses. In less than one year we have awarded grants totaling over $10,000 and the financial boost given to NEIBA by Bookazine will help many booksellers in New England--many of whom are Bookazine customers. It's a win-win situation."
Joseph P. Reynolds has been named president of Ingram Library Services and group managing director of Coutts Information Services, making him head of Ingram's combined library businesses. He also becomes a senior v-p of Ingram Book Group.
Reynolds joined Ingram Library Services a year ago as v-p and general manager. At Coutts, which Ingram bought a year ago, he succeeds Stephen Wilson, who left the company at the beginning of the year. The two companies will remain separate entities.
"Ingram Book Group is seeing significant growth in both our public and academic library businesses, and we consider both to be great opportunities for growth," Jim Chandler, president and CEO of Ingram Book Group, said in a statement. "During our first year with Coutts, we have identified significant synergy benefits, which we are looking to realize as quickly as possible. Joe Reynolds is deeply knowledgeable and experienced, especially in understanding the transition for libraries to digital content."
For his part, Reynolds said, "Libraries everywhere will be the first important adopters of digital content. As librarians make the print-to-digital transition, we know we can be a valuable member of the team--offering our knowledge and expertise as you go about the important work of building and maintaining your collections."
Cathleen Cummings, better known as Cate, a freelance publicist who specialized in mind/body and metaphysical titles, died on January 3 from cancer. She was 53.
Her career spanned more than 25 years, according to the Kansas City Star, which said that she will be remembered "for her quick wit, her compassionate treatment and advocacy of animals and her love of life."
Lisa Braun Dubbels, president and principal of Catalyst Publicity & Promotion Group, wrote: "Cate was a great friend and mentor to me--despite the fact that we are technically competitors. Personally I will really miss her generous spirit and her dedication to helping authors in this genre."
Tourists are advised by the AP (via the San Jose Mercury News)
to seek out "destination bookstores" while traveling because they "can
make you feel like you're part of the community, whether you're
grooving on the laid-back vibe at Powell's in Portland, or tuning into
the Beltway buzz at Washington's Politics and Prose."
Other independent bookstores featured in the piece included Books and Books, Coral Gables, Fla.; City Lights Books, San Francisco, Calif.; Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle, Wash.; Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa; Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.; That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, Ark. and the Strand, New York, N.Y.
Powell's marketing coordinator Kim Sutton said local customers love to bring their visiting guests: "They'll say, 'This is my bookstore,' and show them around with a lot of pride and ownership."
Patty Miller of Tattered Cover noted, "We get a whole lot of tourists, along with people waiting for trains and fans hanging out until game time."
Harry in the scrum. The Scotsman reported that a rare collection of signed Harry Potter books will be auctioned January 16 to "help fund the restoration of Portobello Rugby Club's clubhouse, which was burned down by vandals." J.K. Rowling donated the seven-book set, and "experts say the books could fetch as much as £3,000 [US$5,928]."
Viet Nam News profiled 77-year-old Bui Ngoc Quang, who rents books in "a small antiquated book store, a long-standing haunt of Ha Noi’s book lovers." His collection of about 3,000 titles, ranging from classic literature to animated stories, does not generate big financial returns, but he remains undaunted.
"Money makes life easier, but it would never make my life complete," Quang said. "I'm a book lover. All I want to do is share my collection of books with younger readers to inspire them to carry on my passion,"
Although the best book lists have mostly gone with the changing year, Business Week offered an intriguing selection of "10 Best Books on Innovation to Get You Through the Recession."
Downsizing book collections is a recurring New Year's resolution for many of us. The Hindu looked at one person's attempt to follow relatives' warnings that "books may furnish a room but where does it say that they have to furnish every room?"
This culling process is, of course, doomed to failure. "This entire exercise of trimming one's library now seems to me not about downsizing the books but really about getting to know them all over again. To pick one from the shelves, remember where and when you bought it, and recall the pleasure acquiring the book gave you is why a book collector gets all her books off and on the shelves ever year."
"They [the governmental authorities] have not only made the publishers stop working, but also have put writers in a situation in which they have no inclination to write," Mahmoud Dowlatabadi told the Guardian in an article about Iranian censorship. Dowlatabadi, author of the 10-volume bestseller Kelydar, has refused to give his next book to a publisher in protest against the government's crackdown.
According to the article, "after the 1979 Islamic revolution, the government imposed strict rules on book publishing. Since then, the Ministry of Culture has been charged to vet all books before publication, mainly for erotic and religious transgressions. All books, including fiction, are required to conform to Islamic law."
When president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, "the cultural ministry imposed rules requiring renewed permits for previously published books. As a result, many books have been deemed unsuitable for publication or reprinting." Banned titles include a Farsi translation of Dostoevsky's The Gambler, Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring, William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, as well as books by Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Duras, Dan Brown and Woody Allen.
Reza Ghassemi, an Iranian novelist in France, "recently published his new novel, The Abracadabra Murmured by Lambs, on the Internet in a free e-book PDF format instead of facing government censorship and the formal permission procedure. His e-novel has been reviewed and welcomed by the huge Iranian blog community much more warmly than if it had been published on paper."