Big Think – “Is the frequently drawn distinction between online bookstores (efficient, convenient, innovative) and traditional bookstores (old-fashioned, communal, curated) a false one? This fall, Molly Gaudry and her fellow staff at The Lit Pub are trying to prove that it is. Billing itself as “an online bookstore that hand-picks and recommends books,” The Lit Pub was founded earlier this year and has recently relaunched with an effusion of bookish joy. (“From our hearts to yours!”) The site features staff-written reviews of select books and literary magazines, as well as a prominently displayed honor roll of publishers whose books it offers. Since many of these publishers are themselves small independent outfits, there’s a strong spirit of mutual support at work in the enterprise. A detailed explanation of the Pub’s business model is available on their FAQ page.”
LA Times – “More than 36,000 have signed an online petition to try and save St. Mark’s Bookshop in Manhattan. The store has been a fixture in the East Village, at various locations, since 1977. Now rising real estate prices may force it into extinction.”
LA Times – “Flip back in time to downtown Los Angeles nearly five years ago — before tiny dogs were everywhere and fancy strollers anywhere, before you could walk 10 minutes south of City Hall and find cafe after cafe serving lattes. Picture living in a loft on a quite lonely stretch of Main Street on the edge of skid row, short on the necessities that most residential areas take for granted. Then imagine one day finding a new store full of crisp hardcovers. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, we’re civilized,’ ” said Jacqualine Mills-Lord, a writer who shed tears of joy at the sight of Metropolis Books.”
NYT – “California, with a colossal hole in its budget and 12 percent unemployment, is confronting this quandary as it tries to compel Amazon.com to collect sales tax. Amazon is so confident that bargain-hunting consumers will rally to its side that it is essentially ignoring the law. Maybe they will. But as the battle between the state and the retailer was heating up late last week, news came that Serendipity Books in Berkeley was closing. Antiquarian stores like Serendipity were once plentiful. They specialized in winnowing the detritus of the past, plucking the important material for collectors, scholars and institutions. Serendipity was for decades one of the best such shops, and eventually one of the last. In the years to come, people will have a hard time appreciating there were such places, where anyone who wanted to could look and learn and buy, or maybe just while away a rainy afternoon. So let’s spend a moment giving Serendipity its due.”
Boston Globe – “THE LIQUIDATION of Borders Books, announced last week, is like the death of an unlikely friend – unlikely because Borders was itself implicated in the slow-motion degradation of the culture of the book. The story began in 1971, when brothers Tom and Louis Borders, students at the University of Michigan, established a book shop in Ann Arbor. They were among the first to grasp the potential of digital technology, inventing software that revolutionized how inventories were tracked. Borders became a book-selling powerhouse. The company proved insufficiently nimble, though, when online ordering – via Amazon or the Barnes & Noble website – transformed the point of sale, and digital files – via Kindle, Nook, or iPad – replaced paper publication entirely. The technology that made Borders boom ultimately killed it.”
Holyoke’s Andy Laties, 51, argues that now is the perfect time to open an independent bookshop (yes, really).
Park Hill Community Bookstore’s tale 40 years in the making Read more: Park Hill Community Bookstore’s tale 40 years in the making
Denver Post – “The Park Hill Community Bookstore is not much to look at, its three tightly packed floors of shelves crammed with 30,000 volumes, the bulk of them used.
And its business plan — a not-for- profit collective supported by 500 members, 50 volunteers and one paid staffer — isn’t what ambitious MBA candidates at Wharton fantasize about.
Yet the bookstore is thriving at a time when once-booming corporate models such as Borders have closed like unread copies of “Anna Karenina.”