“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.
“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.
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.”
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November 16, 2011Comments Off on Novelist Fights the Tide by Opening a BookstoreBookstores
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.”
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October 13, 2011Comments Off on Her Life Is a Real Page-TurnerBookstores
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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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September 23, 2011Comments Off on The efforts to save St. Mark’s Bookshop, by the numbersBookstores
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.”
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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.”