Notes: Skylight Highlights; Bradbury: 'Is Long Beach at War?'
With a series of photos, the Los Angeles Times offered "a look into the recent expansion of Skylight Books," noting that "general manager Kerry Slattery sent out an e-mail to its loyal customers announcing the store's expansion and began setting up time slots for volunteers to help. About 30 volunteers, including local librarians, sales representatives and customers, showed up on July 30 for the overnight move, and they brought food and their own skills to the venture. Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena even provided carts."
"How do they do it?" asked the Arlington Connection in an article headlined "Book Stores for Real Book Lovers," which profiled indie bookshops in Arlington and Alexandria, Va.
"I don't make money," admitted Alina Gawlik, owner of Aladdin's Lamp Children's Books and Other Treasures. "The biggest threat is the Internet--the big chains are having problems too."
"I knew the community felt a void," said Ellen Klein, who, with co-owner Trish Brown--both of whom had worked for now-closed A Likely Story--recently opened Hooray for Books! "With all the families with small children, there was a need for a store."
"People who love books love to hold books," said Brown, adding that their decision to open at the former site of A Likely Story sparked emotional responses from their customers. "We've had people that are just so thrilled. We've had one lady who came in crying!"
Author Ray Bradbury was in Long Beach, Calif., earlier this summer (Shelf Awareness, June 26, 2008) to mourn the closing of Acres of Books. Now he has written a piece for the Press-Telegram objecting to the "pending forced closure of the Long Beach Main Library from public access to balance the city budget."
Bradbury called the move a "heartbreak and an outrage. Libraries are also an essential core public service. How can a major city not provide public access to a civic center library? City Hall decisions will remove access to over 1.5 million books from one square mile of the city! Is Long Beach at war with the printed word and books?"
If you think the name IndieFirst sounds just a little familiar, wait until you see the logo. Audible.com has launched a program "designed to introduce you to new books and writers on the verge of popular renown." As the company put it, IndieFirst "surfaces fresh, original works from independent presses and delivers them in audio before the print edition hits stores." Joe Meno's Demons in the Spring, published by Akashic Books, will be the initial selection.
Clive Sinclair chose his top 10 western novels in the Guardian, admitting in a sidebar that his "preference is for works that assimilate post-modernism (or at least the idea that their subject matter is hokum) and yet still manage to excavate life's tragic core. What these books lack in optimism, they more than make up for in vitality, each being marked by a distinctive narrative voice that verges on a new idiolect."
Art imitates life? "There is something poignant in the news that publisher Macmillan has hastily assembled an anthology called Love Letters of Great Men to match the fictional volume of that name that is Carrie Bradshaw's bedtime reading in the recent film of Sex and the City," wrote John Mullan in the Guardian's book blog. "Apparently there were thousands of inquiries from would-be purchasers. Now they will be able to get something approximating it."
John Lindsay has joined Baker & Taylor as v-p, book merchandising. He was formerly v-p, marketing/merchandising, at Levy Home Entertainment. Before joining Levy in 2001, Lindsay held senior merchandise management positions with Shopko Stores and the Venture Stores division of the May Company.
In a statement, Jean Srnecz, senior v-p, merchandising, said that Lindsay "will play a key role in the implementation of our supply chain initiatives and our implementation of category buying."