Notes: Brazilian Merger; L.A. Author-Store Lovefest
Saraiva Group, owner of Livraria Saraiva, which has 36 stores in
Brazil, has bought Siciliano, the Brazilian bookstore chain founded in
1928 that has 52 stores and 11 franchise operations.
Saraiva described the two companies' operations as "complementary." Most of the stores do not overlap geographically, and Siciliano stores are located in "important commercial areas where Saraiva does not have a significant penetration." Siciliano also publishes under the Arx, Futura, Caramelo and Arxjovem imprints.
Besides books, Livraria Saraiva sells CDs, DVDs, magazines, stationery and some electronics and information technology. It boasts opening the first superstore in Brazil, in 1996, and has online retailing operations that account for a third of company gross revenue.
Founded by Pedro Siciliano, Siciliano originally sold only newspapers and magazines. In 1942, it opened its first bookstore, in Sao Paulo.
The Book Shelf,
Winona, Minn., is considering moving in with and helping resurrect the
Blue Heron Coffeehouse, which closed last month, according to the Winona Daily News.
"It's like a marriage made in heaven," Blue Heron co-owner Colleen Wolner told the paper. "We're excited for the opportunity to keep cooking in this community."
If the merger, which is dependent on obtaining financing, occurs, Book Shelf will make changes in inventory. It will drop textbooks and slim down business, computer and art books. Most other sections will stay the same, while poetry and local authors will be expanded.
The paper noted that Book Shelf owner Chris Livingston "plans to offer writing classes and seminars through a venture called Hawk's Well Literary Center. He also hopes to establish a publishing company, with the first offering hitting bookshelves in 2009."
Bookselling This Week profiles the Book and Cranny, which opened in Statesboro, Ga., last April. The 1,425-sq.-ft. store stocks 10,000 titles and features large children's and fiction sections.
Owner Deborah Campbell, a former Lucent Technology engineer, said that residents are happy to have a general bookstore in the town, adding, "People also appreciate being able to get their books without having to drive. . . . Although we have a lot of repeat customers, we get new ones everyday. When they find out I can get them any book they want, I don't charge them anything to order it, and I can get it faster than they can get it from Amazon, they become regulars."
Congratulations to Arlene Lynes, owner of Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock, Ill., opened two years ago, who has won the Chamber of Commerce 2007 Retailer of the Year Award.
Authors lavish praise on L.A. bookstores in the Los Angeles Times.
For one, Susan Straight remembers, "When my first book was published,
in 1990 by Milkweed Editions, I didn't actually feel like a writer
until I read at Dutton's Bookstore in Brentwood."
Although she also mentions Skylight Books, Vroman's Bookstore, Eso Won Books, Libros Revolución and Imagine That!, Straight says that "Dutton's was the first independent bookstore I'd ever been in, and on that night when I read, I felt very L.A., even though I had to drive back to Riverside. I can't believe we won't be able to mingle in that courtyard and reach up to the top of those shelves and visit."
Janet Fitch says she has "been going to Skylight Books since before it was Skylight, since it was Chatterton's and I lived around the corner. It's a real neighborhood bookstore in that it's a mirror of the neighborhood."
Marisa Silver, who recommends Portrait of a Bookstore, asks, "What is it we love about a good bookstore? The selection? The intelligence of the sales people? The ambience? It's those things, but I think it's something else: I think a great bookstore is a place where you feel you can go to find your tribe, to be around people who make them feel, well, less alone. They're looking for their kin. The same is true with book lovers. We want to find our corner bar equivalent, a place where, if everyone doesn't exactly know our name, at least they recognize and accept our particular obsession."
Eso Won Books is one of Chris Abani's favorites: "Like Dutton's, there are books everywhere--shelves, piles on the floor, on tables, and like any independent store, it stocks famous and more obscure writers side by side and can tell you in an instant who they think you will like. It feels like home, like my childhood. It's a book lover's paradise."
T. Jefferson Parker loves Book Carnival. "I've been signing there for 20 years. It's a small, humble specialty store run by Ed and Pat Thomas, great readers and great folks. It's a long, narrow store filled with posters, rare and collectible books, thousands of mysteries. It isn't coiffed, but it's got charm, and you can find what you're looking for. . . . It's a terrific place--good will, good books, good people."
Eric Lax likes "the feel of Book Soup--I like walking in and having this stop-frame avalanche of books. Somehow they manage to get 30,000 titles or whatever they have. It's not endless aisles: It's a manageable labyrinth. You can stop, pull a book down, read it, and hope someone doesn't step on you. It lends itself to reading and browsing."
And Yxta Maya Murray notes that she "received an informal PhD in literature at the IliadBookshop in the late 1990s. I remember the first day I walked off of Vineland Avenue into the shop in winter 1997: As soon as I saw the rugs, stuffed bookshelves, a shaggy dog, cats, dilapidated sofas, and the community of book freaks presided over by Bob and Dan, the last known book-druids living in Los Angeles, I knew I was at home. "
"Memoir fabulists getting caught means the system is working" argued Ben Yagoda in Slate, which featured an extensive and at times hilarious overview of the most recent examples of nonfiction committed to paper with intent to deceive.
"But is it such a terrible thing that so many lying memoirists have been exposed?" asked Yagoda. "On the contrary: It's evidence that the system works. . . . The perpetrators have eventually been found out. Or, to be more precise, the more brazen or audacious the lie, the greater the likelihood of exposure."
Slate also featured Christopher Beam's "The Fake Memoirist's Survival Guide," with these helpful tips:
- Specificity is your enemy.
- Write what you know--but no one else does.
- Be a victim.
- Check your paper trail.
- Don't leave witnesses.
- Don't leave clues!
- Don't tell anyone.
- Beware of blurbs.
And, finally, Slate offered a sneak video peek at volume two of Margaret B. Jones' memoirs.