“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
NYT – “After a beloved local bookstore closed here last December and another store was lost to the Borders bankruptcy, this city once known as the Athens of the South, rich in cultural tradition and home to Vanderbilt University, became nearly barren of bookstores. A collective panic set in among Nashville’s reading faithful. But they have found a savior in Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist who grew up here. On Wednesday, Ms. Patchett, the acclaimed author of “Bel Canto” and “Truth and Beauty,” will open Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore that is the product of six months of breakneck planning and a healthy infusion of cash from its owner.”
NYT – “TO keep her independent bookstore not only solvent but thriving (revenue is racing ahead of last year by 16 percent), Sarah McNally has a limitless supply of small tricks up her sleeve. And a whirring, wheezing behemoth at her side. At the determinedly Wi-Fi-free McNally Jackson Books on Prince Street in NoLIta, customers can lie on a chaise longue, reading potential purchases from a selection of 55,00 volumes. The store is known for its 8,300-title literature collection, organized by geography.”
Mainichi Daily News – “On a Sunday afternoon over half a year after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated towns on March 11, local residents visiting a makeshift bookstore here were picking up books with an eager look. The sight of the tented bookstore would have been something unimaginable before the deadly quake and tsunami hit Kesennuma, which had hosted a burgeoning large-scale bookstore.”