Notes: Changes for McNally Robinson; Bezos at BEA
McNally Robinson bookstore in New York City is undergoing renovations and will be renamed McNally Jackson in July, according to the New York Observer. In major related news, McNally Robinson owner Sarah McNally, who is married to Chris Jackson, an editor at Spiegel & Grau, wants to open a larger store--of around 25,000 square feet--in Manhattan, "probably in Chelsea but maybe somewhere on the Upper West Side."
She told the Observer that the new store will cost about $3 million to build. She's talking with investors and real estate agents, and doesn't plan to find a location or sign a lease until mid-2009 at the earliest.
Besides having a cafe and restaurant that would serve wine, coffee and food, the new store would mix media so that there would be yoga mats for sale near the wellness shelf or wooden spoons near the cookbooks.
"I know the people who work for me like the store, they like working there, but I walk in and I see nothing but flaws!" she told the paper. "Whenever someone says it's a nice store, I say, 'But what about that? Didn’t you notice that?' "
Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will make a presentation and be interviewed by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and originator of the Long Tail theory, during BookExpo America. The Spotlight interview, part of BEA's Upfront & Unscripted interview series, will begin at 3 p.m., Friday, May 30. This marks Bezos's second major appearance at BEA: in 2000, he was keynote speaker.
"Amazon is a huge part of the book and publishing community, and we pride ourselves on representing the entire industry in one place," Lance Fensterman, v-p and show manager for BEA, said in a statement, adding that the event "is a shining example of the type of broad and timely conversation that we like to encourage at BEA. We look forward to hearing about the progress of Kindle and Amazon's growing digital books business, as well other topics that not only apply to Amazon's current and future business but will touch on all areas of the book industry."
For an article headlined "Downtown Stillwater [Minn.] emerging from its annual winter doldrums," the Stillwater Courier interviewed several local merchants, including three booksellers.
"I think it suffers from benign neglect from the city and county," said Thomas Loome, whose bookshop, Loome's Antiquarian Bookseller, is leaving the historic downtown area. Though he doesn't accuse anyone of acting with bad intentions, he noted that "the downtown is supposed to take care of itself, and it can't."
Joci Tilsen is more upbeat. She and her husband, Jim Bour, are selling Valley Bookseller, which they have owned for the past nine years, to Molly Rice and Dan Priebe.
"I think we did a really good job with the bookstore," Tilsen said, adding that her customers are "fun people I want to spend time with. We like each other. I think that's one of the gifts that Stillwater has to offer." She believes there is promise in recent changes and cites opportunities for new joint promotions as an example: "The more we embrace promoting together, we can use the fact that there are new things to promote."
One of those changes has a familiar ring. Loome's daughter, Cecilia, has opened Books on Chestnut. "My brother is the one who got me hooked on the book thing," she said. "There’s a lot of potential for a good bookstore. I'm hoping to still be here next year. I think we will be able to make it."
Got Kindle? USA Today reported that prospective buyers "who click on the Kindle links at the top of Amazon's home page are informed that due to heavy demand the product is 'temporarily sold out.'" Although orders are taken on a first-come, first-served basis "the online retailer won't reveal how many have been sold or when supply will catch up with demand."
"We can't go into details about exact wait times," said Amazon's Ian Freed, v-p for digital products, conceding that the company underestimated demand. "We've had to ramp up manufacturing pretty significantly, and ramping up a manufacturing takes a little time."
When things are going bad, U.K. booksellers can seek refuge at the Booksellers Provident Retreat. At his Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog, Michael Lieberman pointed out the existence of BTBS, the book trade charity.
According to the institution's website, "Anyone who has worked for more than one year in publishing, distribution or bookselling, in a wide range of qualifying functions, and is in difficult personal circumstances is eligible for assistance. . . . The Retreat is unique in that it is the only estate dedicated to providing homes for people who have worked in book publishing, distribution or sales, where they can live safe in the knowledge that they have a home for as long as they need it, within a community of like-minded people who share a common interest."
Effective immediately, National Book Network is distributing Dharma Publishing, Cazadero, Calif., which publishes books on Buddhist philosophy and art, meditation and new sciences and is dedicated to making the ancient wisdom of Tibet available widely in the West. The house's books have been translated into 17 languages and adopted for class use in hundreds of university courses.