“When Peter Howard, the owner of Serendipity Books, died in March 2011, he left behind more than one million books crammed into his two-level store on University Avenue in Berkeley with the oak barrel hanging out front.Howard’s collection of rare and antique books was considered one of the best in the country; he often sold books and manuscripts to places like the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley or the Lilly Library at Indiana University.The collection included so many amazing items that Bonham’s held six different auctions of his holdings, selling off early editions of John Steinbeck, a broadside by James Joyce, many modern first editions, early baseball memorabilia — even poet Carl Sandburg’s guitar.But there are still books left to sell. More than 100,000 books, in fact.” (via Berkeleyside)
“When it comes to book publishing, all we ever seem to hear about is online sales, the growth of e-books and the latest version of a digital book reader. But the fact is, only 20 percent of the book market is e-books; it’s still dominated by print. And a recent standoff in the book business shows how good old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstores are still trying to wield their influence in the industry. You might even call it brick-and-mortar booksellers’ revenge.” (via NPR)
“As recently as 25 years ago, there were more than 100 self-described feminist bookstores in the U.S. — stores focusing on books written by and for women. Like most independent bookstores, though, their numbers have dropped dramatically over the years. Chicago’s Women and Children First is among the few feminist stores still standing, and one of the largest. The store opened 34 years ago in 1979. Now, after a long, successful run, the store’s owners say they’re ready to retire — and they’re looking for a buyer to continue the store’s mission.” (via NPR)
“Anglophones, rejoice: Cuba’s first English-language bookstore, cafe and literary salon opened in Havana on Friday, offering islanders and tourists alike a unique space to converse, thumb through magazines and buy or borrow tomes in the language of Shakespeare. The brainchild of a longtime U.S. expat, Cuba Libro launched with just 300 books on offer, about what you’d expect to find in the lobby of an average U.S. bed & breakfast. Next to what’s available elsewhere in English in Cuba, however, it might as well be the Library of Congress.” (via Associated Press)
“It’s tough to think about how people will read in 50 years when you’re worrying about what they’ll read tomorrow. So after just a couple of years as chief executive of Powell’s Books, Emily Powell — granddaughter of the bookseller’s founder — told employees last month she would step down and focus on the Portland company’s long-term strategy in a quickly changing market. Powell remains the third-generation owner of Powell’s Books, having effectively taken over running the company from her father, Michael Powell, in 2012.” (via OregonLive.com)
“Any university or college student knows how badly textbook prices can sting, but for most, it’s simply the nature of higher education that they’ll have to obtain the text if they want to take the class. Sales of used books and book-rental services like Chegg have tried to address the problem, but the end result still requires a financial commitment on top of tuition. But now, three different institutions are adopting a solution that is far kinder to students’ wallets. Robert Morris University, in Pennsylvania, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Patrick Henry College, in Virginia, have all started a textbook reserve — essentially a library from which students can borrow required texts. “This was the brainchild of an honors class,” said John Michalenko, vice president for student life at Robert Morris. “The students … were talking to their friends about the rising cost of textbooks on college campuses, which [have] actually risen 800 percent more than tuition increases.” From there, Michalenko explained, the students conducted a survey among classmates before submitting a proposal for the reserve idea. Robert Morris started the service in the fall, and allows students to borrow books for up to three hours at a time.”
via Inside Higher Ed
Earlier this year, Stephen Fowler, owner of The Monkey’s Paw used-book store in Toronto, had an idea. He wanted a creative way to offload his more ill-favored books — “old and unusual” all, as the store’s motto goes — that went further than a $1 bin by the register. It came in a conversation with his wife: a vending machine. “Originally, I thought maybe we would just have a refrigerator box and paint it to look like a vending machine,” he tells NPR, “and put a skinny assistant of mine inside and have him drop books out when people put a coin in.”
“Singularity & Co is a new Brooklyn based science fiction bookstore with a mission: based on the Kickstarter project that provided its seed funding, the store is devoted to rescuing one customer-chosen, out-of-print sf book from obscurity by buying the rights to publish it online as a free ebook.”
via Boing Boing
“The French, as usual, insist on being different. As independent bookstores crash and burn in the United States and Britain, the book market in France is doing just fine. France boasts 2,500 bookstores, and for every neighborhood bookstore that closes, another seems to open. From 2003 to 2011 book sales in France increased by 6.5 percent. E-books account for only 1.8 percent of the general consumer publishing market here, compared with 6.4 percent in the United States. The French have a centuries-old reverence for the printed page.
via NY Times“
“Self-publishing has been made easier since the Espresso Book Machine by On Demand Books debuted in 2006. The machine also can make copies of out-of-print editions. The first machine was installed briefly at the World Bank’s bookstore. Through a partnership with Xerox, the company now has machines in about 70 bookstores and libraries across the world including London; Tokyo; Amsterdam; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Melbourne, Australia; and Alexandria, Egypt.
via Associated Press