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Harvard Business School Study: Indies Thriving
   Ryan Raffaelli, an assistant professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School who studies how industries reinvent themselves when faced with technological change, has released the preliminary findings of a five-year study on the independent bookstore resurgence.
   Among the study's key findings so far are the "3 C's" of independent bookselling: community, curation and convening, which have been integral to the indie resurgence.
Community refers to the role of independent bookstores as early champions of the local first movement, and the emphasis that many indies place on their community roots. Raffaelli describes curation as the more personal and specialized touch that booksellers bring to their inventory, and convening pertains to the increased importance of bookstores as event and meeting places.
   He also pointed to the "top-down work" done by the American Booksellers Association, particularly in facilitating the sharing of best practices among member stores, as important. "The theoretical and managerial lessons we can learn from independent bookstores have implications for a wide array of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses facing technological change," Raffaelli said. "But this has been an especially fascinating industry to study because indie booksellers provide us with a story of hope."

National Book Awards: Annie Proulx and the Happy Ending

In her acceptance speech for the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards author Annie Proulx said: 

   We don't live in the best of all possible worlds. This is a Kafkaesque time. The television sparkles with images of despicable political louts, sexual harassment reports. We cannot look away from the pictures of furious elements, hurricanes and fires, from the repetitive crowd murders by gunmen burning with rage. We are made more anxious by flickering threats of nuclear war. We observe social media's manipulation of a credulous population, a population dividing into bitter tribal cultures. We are living through a massive shift from representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy, now cascading over us in a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data.
   Everything is situational, see-sawing between gut-response likes or vicious confrontations. For some, this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others, it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending.
   To me, the most distressing circumstance of the new order is the accelerated destruction of the natural world and the dreadful belief that only the human species has the inalienable right to life and god-given permission to take anything it wants from nature, whether mountaintops, wetlands, or oil. The ferocious business of stripping the earth of its flora and fauna, of drowning the land and pesticides again may have brought us to a place where no technology can save us.
   I personally have found an amelioration in becoming involved in citizen science projects. This is something everyone can do. Every state has marvelous projects of all kinds, from working with fish, with plants, with animals, with landscapes, with shore erosion, with water situations. Yet somehow, the old discredited values and longings persist. We still have tender feelings for such outmoded notions as truth, respect for others, personal honor, justice, equitable sharing. We still hope for a happy ending. We still believe that we can save ourselves and our damaged earth, an indescribably difficult task as we discover that the web of life is far more mysteriously complex than we thought and subtly entangled with factors we cannot even recognize.
   But we keep on trying. Because there's nothing else to do. The happy ending still beckons, and it is in hope of grasping it that we go on. The poet Wisława Szymborska caught the writer's dilemma of choosing between hard realities and the longing for the happy ending. She called it consolation.    
   Darwin. They say he read novels to relax, but only certain kinds, nothing that ended unhappily. If he happened on something like that, enraged he flung the book into the fire. True or not, I'm ready to believe it. Scanning in his mind so many times and places, he's had enough of dying species, the triumphs of the strong over the weak, the endless struggles to survive, all doomed sooner or later. He'd earned the right to have the happy ending at least in fiction, with its microscales. Hence, the indispensable silver lining, the lovers reunited, the families reconciled, the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded, fortunes regained, treasures uncovered, stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways, good names restored, grief daunted, old maids married off to worthy parsons, troublemakers banished to other hemispheres, forgers of documents tossed down the stairs, seducers going to the altar, orphans sheltered, widows comforted, pride humbled, wounds healed, prodigal sons summoned home, cups of sorrow tossed into the ocean, hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation, general merriment and celebration, and the dog Fido gone astray in the first chapter turns up barking gladly in the last.

Book World Closing All 45 Stores in Midwest
   Book World, a family-owned independent chain of bookstores located in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Missouri, will be closing all 45 of its locations. Book World opened its first store in 1976 in Rhinelander and is currently the fourth largest bookstore chain in the U.S. Senior v-p Mark Dupont said the company has 320 employees in its stores and at its corporate headquarters in Appleton, Wis. A liquidation sale will begin Thursday at each Book World location. "The national shift in the retail marketplace towards e-commerce has triggered the loss of vital mall anchor stores and a downward spiral in customer counts at Book World stores, reducing sales to a level that will no longer sustain business operations," Dupont said.

Kazuo Ishiguro Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature
   The 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to English author
Kazuo Ishiguro "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world." Describing Isihiguro as "a writer of great integrity," Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, commented: "If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell, but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix. Then you stir, but not too much, then you have his writings.... He doesn't look to the side. He has developed an aesthetic universe all his own." Author Salman Rushdie offered his congratulations to his "old friend Ish, whose work I've loved and admired ever since I first read A Pale View of Hills. And he plays the guitar and writes songs too! Roll over Bob Dylan." In a statement, the Academy said "Ishiguro's writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place. At the same time, his more recent fiction contains fantastic features." Ishiguro's books include The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, The Buried Giant, A Pale View of the Hills, An Artist of the Floating World, When We Were Orphans, The Unconsoled and Nocturnes: Five Stories. In addition to the Nobel, his honors include the 1989 Booker Prize and the 1986 Whitbread Prize. He was made an OBE in 1995, and in 1998 he received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

   (from Shelf Awareness)

Trevor Noah Wins Thurber Prize for American Humor
   Thurber House has named Trevor Noah the winner of the 2017 Thurber Prize for American Humor for his memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. The annual award honors the best book of humor writing published in 2016.

Stoner to be a Movie
Following an Oscar victory for his performance in Manchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck has found his next film. Affleck is set to star in Stoner, directed by Joe Wright, and produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions. Cohen Media Group (CMG) and Film4 will team with Blumhouse on the film. Andrew Bovell will adapt the script based on the novel of the same name by John Williams. The movie will follow the life of William Stoner, a dirt-poor farmer turned academic, who emerges as an unlikely existential hero while making his way through the first half of the 20th Century. “Because the novel is so beautiful but not well-known, fans of ‘Stoner’ feel like they’re in a secret club. I’m so excited that Casey, Joe and Andrew have come aboard to help expand this club’s membership,” said Blum, who optioned the book in 2011. “This quintessentially American work is being brought to the screen by a terrific international team and we’re confident their combined perspectives will add rich layers to this moving story.”

small BLUE I've read Stoner, and it is a very special novel. I look forward to seeing how they take a fine piece of writing and put it on the screen. -

Forbes' Highest-Earning Authors: J.K. Rowling Tops List
   J.K. Rowling has returned to the top of Forbes magazine's Highest-Paid Authors list for the first time in nearly a decade, displacing James Patterson.
   The top 11 writers sold nearly 30 million volumes in the U.S. over the past 12 months, logging $312.5 million in pretax income
   To formulate its list, Forbes looks at print, e-book and audiobook sales from Nielsen BookScan figures; considers TV and movie earnings; and talks to authors, agents, publishers and other experts. Earnings were tabulated from June 2016 to June 2017 and are pretax; other fees are not deducted.

This year's top-earning authors are:
1. J.K. Rowling ($95 million)
2. James Patterson ($87 million)
3. Jeff Kinney ($21 million)
4. Dan Brown ($20 million)
5. Stephen King ($15 million)
6. John Grisham ($14 million) 6. Nora Roberts ($14 million)
8. Paula Hawkins ($13 million)
9. E.L. James ($11.5 million)
10. Danielle Steel ($11 million) 10. Rick Riordan ($11 million)

PBS to Unveil America's Favorite Books in New TV Series
The Great American Read, an ambitious eight-episode documentary series that PBS has just announced, will explore the place of reading in American culture. The show, which is set to start airing in the summer of 2018, will kickoff with a two-hour program that will reveal a list of America’s 100 best-loved books. The inaugural episode of the series, set for May 2018, will feature the list of 100 best-loved books, chosen by the public and by a panel of literary experts. The final program in the fall will unveil a Top Ten list of America's best-loved books, culminating in the first-ever nation-wide vote to reveal America's single best-loved book of all.

Bookstore on the brink in Oakland’s revitalized downtown - struggles of the independent bookstore
(the following bits are taken from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Otis R. Taylor Jr. on July 19, 2017)

   Luan Stauss hummed along to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and other songs playing on a Pandora station as she prepared to open her
Laurel Book Store on Monday morning in downtown Oakland. She sighed after counting the disappointing number of receipts from a weekend event featuring an author. “Every month that we don’t make enough, I have to make a decision about who has to wait” to be paid, said Stauss, whose store rent is $6,300 per month. “I have to look at my options at this point, and if I can’t catch up and get this stuff paid off, they probably won’t extend me much of a lease.”

   Three years ago, Stauss moved her bookstore from Oakland’s Laurel district near the Oakland hills to downtown Oakland, expecting that business would boom. These days, if you’re walking down Broadway, you can’t miss the big, block letters — B-O-O-K-S — in the ground-floor windows of her shop in the Lionel J. Wilson Building. Built in 1907, it’s a smaller version of the wedge-shaped Flatiron Building in New York City.

    She discovered that downtown Oakland near City Hall isn’t yet an area where people stroll and browse. Stauss’ lease is up at the end of the month, and last week she sent a plea to the store’s email list. She needs to raise $30,000 to stay open. When Stauss moved in, her landlord, the city of Oakland, gave her six months rent-free. The city also agreed to match up to $50,000 in capital improvements. With the tens of thousands of employees who come to downtown Oakland to work at companies such as Pandora, combined with the nearby hotels and proximity to BART, Stauss expected to have a bonanza of curious shoppers walking through her door. But that hasn’t happened.

   Stauss estimates she needs about 65 paying customers a day to survive. Stauss is struggling to keep the store open after moving to its new location.

   Laurel Book Store is barely holding on in “revitalized” downtown.

small BLUE  The struggle of an independent bookstore is so much about cash flow OR a lack of flowing cash. When sales aren't there, money isn't there, and it's always about deciding WHO gets paid. Who HAS to be paid − often landlords, utilities, and wholesalers − but then there is that bizarre aspect of publishers who have their credit people constantly contacting you for a past due balance of 60-90-120-150-180 days, or whatever, and then, once paid, the sales people will quickly love you again to place more orders. We kept it all going for 22 years and we both know how unusual and wonderful that time was. Best job ever! -

Bertelsmann to Own 75% of Penguin Random House
   Bertelsmann is buying another 22% of Penguin Random House from Pearson, which will give it a 75% interest in the company. The sale is expected to close in September, and needs to be reviewed by regulators.

Irony Update: Amazon Patents Anti-Showrooming Technology
   "Oh the irony," Mashable observed in reporting on Amazon's new patent "to block you from online price checking in its stores." Under the title "Physical store online shopping control," the system "would intercept certain URLs, search terms, and other web activity that takes place on its in-store Wi-Fi." Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first filed for the patent in 2012.
   The Seattle Review of Books' headline opted for a post-irony alternative: "Amazon develops anti-showrooming software and irony is dead."

small BLUE  Christ, you knew it had to happen once they had physical stores, but it's still an ultimate of corporate bullshit. -

Post Office Unveils Henry David Thoreau Forever Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service is honoring Henry David Thoreau during the bicentennial year of his birth with a Forever Stamp. A first-day-issue stamp dedication ceremony took place Tuesday at the Walden Pond State Reservation Visitors Center in Concord, Mass. Thoreau was born July 12, 1817. The stamp art is an oil-on-panel painting of Thoreau's face based on an 1856 daguerreotype by Benjamin Maxham. On the right side of the stamp is Thoreau's signature of his last name, and below it a branch of sumac leaves. Sam Weber was the stamp artist and art director Greg Breeding the designer. "Thoreau was one of the great thinkers in this country's history on a wide variety of subjects, and the expression on his face in the stamp image captures his introspective and inquisitive nature," said USPS general counsel & executive vp Thomas J. Marshall.

Book Passage Sues Over California Autographed Memorabilia Law
Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Book Passage--with stores in Corte Madera, Sausalito and San Francisco, Calif.--and co-owner Bill Petrocelli have filed suit against a state law that, the plaintiffs say, "will make it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell autographed books or host author events." Passed by the California legislature last year and effective this past January 1, Assembly Bill 1570 expanded the state's autograph law, which originally applied only to sports memorabilia, to cover any signed commodity worth more than $5, including books. At the same time, the plaintiffs noted, "AB 1570 makes irrational exemptions for certain online retailers, as well as pawn brokers." The suit argues that the law is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Bill Petrocelli The plaintiffs said that "if the owners of a bookstore dare to offer autographed books, they are confronted with a thicket of new legal obligations, liabilities, and vulnerabilities. They must personally guarantee the authenticity of each autograph, on pain of major financial penalties if they turn out to be wrong. They must provide a certificate of authenticity with the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the signed item. When an author signs a book in the presence of the store owner, the certificate must specify the date and place of the signing, and identify a witness to it. Sellers must state whether they are bonded, and note whether the item is part of a limited edition, the size of the edition, and whether future editions are in the works. And they must keep records on every sale for seven years." Fines can be as much as 10 times damages. Book Passage hosts more than 700 author events a year and operates the monthly Signed First Editions Club, in which subscribers are sent a first edition book signed by an emerging author. Petrocelli said that the law's "expensive mandates--with voluminous reporting requirements and draconian penalties--create a nightmare for independent booksellers that thrive on author events and book signings. Consumers will also suffer. The tradition of author events at bookstores, with opportunities for direct interaction between writers and readers, will be shattered. The cost of record-keeping and major liability threaten to make book signings impossible, and stores such as mine do not want to engage in the massive intrusion on customer privacy that is mandated by the law's reporting rules." Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Anastasia Boden added: "With the passage of AB 1570, California lawmakers have threatened the vitality of bookstores and the hosting of author events, and in so doing, dealt a major blow to free speech."

E-books Still Going Down
Even as unit sales of e-books released by traditional publishers fell 14.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, according to research released by NPD Group BookScan. Sales of print books through bookstores slipped slightly, but bookstores still commanded about 40% of print unit purchases in 2016.

Communism for Kids Book Stirs Things Up
A book that teaches children about communism has caused an outcry from a faction of conservatives. Communism for Kids, released in March, is billed by publisher MIT Press as a fable with illustrations of “lovable little revolutionaries experiencing their political awakening.” But vocal critics have called the book's publication, at best, in poor taste and, at worst, dangerous. The response to the book, which was originally published in German and translated into English, has come as a surprise to its publisher. MIT Press director Amy Brand acknowledged that she “expected a range of feedback" to the title, but added that she "did not anticipate the extent and tone of the response."

Nolo Bookstore in Berkeley to Close
Nolo Press, which publishes do-it-yourself legal guides, plans to close its bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Berkeley, California, on April 28 as part of a transition to online-only sales at Nolo.com. The company is holding a 50% off sale in its store at 950 Parker St. from April 17 until closing day. "Nolo has enjoyed tremendous support for our Berkeley bookstore from the local community for many years," said marketing manager Leilani Drost.

Imagine Entertainment acquired the film rights to J.D. Vance's bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy
Ron Howard will direct and produce with his Imagine partner Brian Grazer, Deadline reported. "Hillbilly Elegy is a powerful, true coming-of-age memoir by J.D. Vance," said Imagine's president Erica Huggins. "Through the lens of a colorful, chaotic family and with remarkable compassion and self-awareness, J.D. has been able to look back on his own upbringing as a 'hillbilly' to illuminate the plight of America's white working class, speaking directly to the turmoil of our current political climate."

Exploding Manholes Near the Strand
    Early Friday morning, several manhole explosions near Union Square in New York City blew out the windows of Strand Books, forcing the store to close for the day. When it reopened at noon on Saturday, the store tweeted: "After Friday's incident, our Nevertheless She Persisted totes were the sole items standing. Coincidence? I think not. All locations open!"

Keeping Warm While Reading
    In the reading room of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., researchers might spend hours carefully paging through a 16th-century pamphlet or the only surviving quarto edition of Titus Andronicus. But they also have access to another unusual—if more informal—collection. Behind the reading room desk there is a vault where the staff keeps a small lending library of handmade shawls. All five are the work of Rosalind Larry, the room’s head of circulation, who made them, often on her lunch hour, during her many years at the library. Larry started knitting the first shawl in the 1980s, after the library was remodeled and the reading room expanded. Not long before, she had seen a colleague making baby booties and thought she might like to learn to knit. “She showed me how, and at first I was terrible at it,” Larry says. But soon she grew more ambitious, and when she had some yarn she wanted to use up, she thought she might make herself a shawl, since it always felt cold in the reading room.

and The Handmaid's Tale Get Hardcover Reissues ... Because of Trump
   Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish new hardcover editions of two classic dystopian novels next month—George Orwell's
1984 on April 4 and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale on April 25. The move is an attempt to capitalize on the cultural zeitgeist and, in the case of 1984, a sudden surge in sales. Just two months ago, 1984—a novel set in a world ruled by an authoritarian government that monitors how its population acts, speaks, and even thinks—shot to the top of bestsellers lists. The backlist novel's ascension coincided with President Donald J. Trump's inauguration and the use of the term "alternative facts" by Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, to support a false claim made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Victory! Amazon Will Collect and Remit Sales Tax in All States With Sales Tax Laws
   After almost two decades of a hard-fought political battle to require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax in every state that collects sales tax, Main Street retailers can finally declare victory. Come April 1, Amazon will be collecting and remitting sales tax in all 45 states that collect and remit sales tax. That number was reached when Hawaii, Maine, and Idaho recently announced deals with Amazon.
    “It is safe to say that the arguments that we have been making — about fairness and equity — have finally won out,” said American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher, who pointed to the early and continued leadership of independent booksellers in support of e-fairness as one of the key reasons why Amazon is now collecting in all 45 states. “The campaign for e-fairness was a long one — longer than we expected — but now that Amazon collects in every state that has sales tax laws on the books, independent booksellers everywhere can take great pride in a remarkable accomplishment.”

Amazon Will Beat Wal-Mart for Most Tax Breaks in the Country This Year
  A study by the progressive economic policy research and advocacy group Good Jobs First that says this year Amazon will vault past a record for state and local tax subsidies held for many years by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the undisputed king of brick-and-mortar retail sales." The group estimates that Wal-Mart has won "more than $1.2 billion in tax abatements, credits, exemptions, infrastructure assistance and financing deals during four decades of rapid expansion that has left the company with 4,672 retail locations across the country." At the end of last year, Amazon's similar subsidies were estimated at about $1 billion. Bloomberg noted, "The new year began with Amazon committing to build out its rapid-delivery business model, and states and municipalities lined up to help. In less than three months, Amazon racked up another $92 million in tax credits and exemptions to develop warehouses and fulfillment centers in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland and Michigan." "Amazon is a juggernaut in terms of tax breaks," Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, told Bloomberg BNA. "They were pulling down $125 million annually for at least two years and they are on pace for that in 2017, given the deals we've seen already for the year. So it won't be long before they surpass Wal-Mart."

with Van Gogh's Sunflowers

cranes in a bookstore
MARCH 14, 1987

   Yes, THIRTY YEARS AGO today, we opened the doors of our first bookstore ... wow, that seems like decades ago ... oh. We kept our business rolling along for more than 22 years, before it closed, after moving again and again.

   We started in Davis,
moved to a second location there,
before we moved to Woodland,
and then to a second space in that city,
before we moved up to Placerville, and then shut down for the last time.

   All those years it was easily the best job we both ever had. So many good people: shopped in our stores, worked in our store, did events in our stores, and helped us out. We thank everyone for so much, and for so many great memories.

   Keep on reading. -
John & Vicky


Bertelsmann CEO wants 70-75% stake in Random House
   German media group Bertelsmann expects to raise its stake in its Random House joint venture with Pearson to between 70 and 75 percent and will find a long-term partner if necessary for the rest, its chief executive told Der Spiegel. Britain's Pearson - which currently owns 47 percent of Random House, the world's biggest general-interest publisher - said in January it may seek to sell its stake after a massive profit warning. Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe told Der Spiegel: "I expect we will raise our stake to 70 or 75 percent as long as the conditions are right."
   He said any partner for the remaining stake would need to take a long-term view. "Interest is high but we don't want a partner who would soon head out of the door again," he said. "There are many institutional investors like pension funds or family trusts who think long-term."


Rick Bass Wins Story Prize

Rick Bass has been named the 13th winner of the Story Prize for his new and selected stories volume, For a Little While. The prize comes with $20,000, and honors the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction. Bass's book was selected from among 106 books entered in 2016. In their statement, the judges wrote: “Rick Bass’s gift at conveying the vastness of the American wilderness through a form as compact as the short story is a cause for wonder."



Baileys Women's Fiction - Longlist

Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, which celebrates "excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world." The winner will be announced June 7.

   The longlisted books are:

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain




NO men

Bookstore Turns Books By Men Backward To Put Women Authors At The Forefront for Women's History Month

    Cleveland's Loganberry Books is making gender imbalance in the literary world startlingly clear. Books shelves full of backward spines emphasize the gender imbalance in literature. For two weeks in March, the store has flipped male-authored books around, filing them spine-in on their bookshelves to hide their titles from view. The experiment is called “Illustrating the Gender Gap in Fiction.”

   The classics and older favorites, bookstore owner Logan noted, have a more masculine bias than popular new books. “I am certain the ratio has improved in my generation, and Dickens, James and Trollope take up an awful lot of space,” she wrote, “but I took an overview count of the 7,500 works of fiction we worked on [excluding genre and mass-market], and female authors represent approximately 37 percent.” 


small BLUE I came across this poem again and feel like sharing. Enjoy again. -

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone 
W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Literary Condoms for this year's Independent Bookstore Day

These cleverly beautiful literary condoms are perfect impulse buys. Booksmith in San Francisco developed them for Bookstore Day 2016 and they were so popular they will be available nationwide this year!
Each pack of 12 contains:
  six “Give Me That Darcy” Jane Austen condoms
       and six "Great Expectations" condoms.


Obamas May Get $65 for Their Books
When word broke early last week that former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama had landed a joint deal at Penguin Random House worth a reported $65 million, many in the industry were stunned. The advance is, if not the largest on record for two standalone works, certainly the largest in recent memory. As is its company policy, PRH has not commented on the money. But many in the business, including scouts monitoring the auction, said they think the $65 million figure is accurate.

Books, Inc. Opening 12th Store in Campbell California
   Books Inc., which has 11 stores in the Bay Area, plans to open another store, in Campbell, Calif., in Silicon Valley, in early summer 2018. The Campbell store will be in the Pruneyard Center, next to Stanford University. Books Inc., founded in 1851, is one of the oldest bookstores in the country.

gloryThe Glory Hole sucks it down at our local dam on Lake Berryessa.

Family Christian book chain closing its 240 U.S. stores
   Family Christian, the biggest U.S. Christian bookstore chain, said on Thursday it was going out of business and planned to close its 240 stores across 36 states. “We have prayerfully looked at all possible options, trusting God’s plan for our organization, and the difficult decision to liquidate is our only recourse,” Chuck Bengochea, the company’s president, said in a statement. “Despite improvements in product assortment and the store experience, sales continued to decline,” he noted. “In addition, we were not able to get the pricing and terms we needed from our vendors to successfully compete in the market.”

S&S and Threshold Cancel Yiannopoulos Book
   Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled Dangerous, the book by Milo Yiannopoulos that caused intense criticism in the book world. The apparent impetus for the decision was a 2015 interview that circulated in the past several days in which the Breitbart News senior editor condoned pedophilia, which led the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to rescind an invitation for him to speak at its annual gathering this week. Earlier, he was criticized for hate speech against a variety of groups and particularly for harassing African-American actress Leslie Jones, which led to him being banned from Twitter.
   Threshold gave Yiannopoulos a $250,000 advance and planned to publish the book in March. Recently the book was postponed to June because Yiannopoulos said he wanted to add material about recent protests against his appearances on college campuses. S&S issued this statement yesterday: "After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos."

small BLUEMilo has not impressed me on the few chances that I've seen him on TV. He reminds me of a lightweight Ann Coulter - a concept that hurts my brain - but I haven't witnessed his infamous Dangerous Faggot college tour. Some smaller press will probably pick him up and his fans can read him then - I'm going to pass, as I've had enough of this shit.

Bookstore Sales Up 2.5% for 2016
   Bookstore sales for all of 2016 rose 2.5%, to $11.981 billion, compared to 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. The annual gain marks the second year in a row bookstore sales have risen, after 2015's gain of 2.6%. Before that, bookstores sales had fallen every year since 2007, when the Great Recession began. 

Amazon Books to Open in Walnut Creek, California ... a plague spreads
   Amazon has confirmed plans to open a ninth bookstore, in Walnut Creek, in the Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Amazon has opened Amazon Books locations in Seattle, San Diego and near Portland, Oregon. It has announced branches in Chicago, New York City, Paramus, N.J., and two near Boston. The Walnut Creek store will be at Broadway Plaza, an open-air shopping center. The only indie in the town of 64,000 is used/collectible/rare bookseller
Swan's Fine Books, at 1381 Locust Street.

Sacramento's Avid Reader to Move
   The Avid Reader at Tower, at 1600 Broadway in Sacramento, California, will move by the end of the month after the store's landlord decided not to renew its lease, the Sacramento Bee reported. They have leased a former auto parts shop at 1925 Broadway. The new location is about 3,600 square feet, about the same size as the current location. The store will move on February 27 and open in the new location on the 28th.
   The 1600 Broadway location was formally the glorious Tower Books for oh so many years ... across from the Tower Theater, Tower Cafe, and the former Tower Records. Years back, this area was a golden chance for a good meal, a good movie, and some great browsing for books and music, I speak from a great deal of experience in these matters.

OBAMA This just makes me smile ... another good thing out there.

More Protests Against 'NYT' Bestseller Cuts
   Author groups representing 20,000 writers have issued a joint statement chastising the New York Times for eliminating several of its bestseller lists, particularly the
mass market paperback list and certain e-book lists. The statement reads: "As organizations representing adult fiction authors, the undersigned believe the New York Times is making a tremendous mistake by abandoning its mass-market paperback and e-book bestseller lists. With this change, the Times is choosing to ignore a significant percentage of US book sales. This decision serves no purpose in fostering a thriving, inclusive fiction market or strengthening the state of publishing. Additionally, the change will make the lists less relevant to authors and readers, as well as the entire publishing and library community. On behalf of more than 20,000 members and their millions of readers, we strongly urge the Times to rethink its extremely limited definition of what constitutes a bestselling novel."

The organizations include: Horror Writers of America (1,500 members), Mystery Writers of America (3,000), Novelists Inc. (900), Romance Writers of America (10,000), Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (1,900), Sisters in Crime (3,800).

small BLUEOver the years, I've found myself reading very few mass market books. As an old guy, I have sore hands from decades of woodworking and there are reading glasses on my nose more and more often, but besides these problems, there are just not many titles in this format that interest me ... I think it is explained by the author groups listed in the article above: horror, mystery, romance, science fiction & fantasy, and crime. So we will all have to just bare the pain of fewer best seller lists.
- John

The Best Way to Buy Books
   "I do not believe there is a wrong way to buy books. I think that the BEST way to buy books is from a local indie bookshop, if you have one."
         - Neil Gaiman, on Twitter. His new book, Norse Mythology, is out tomorrow.

Costa Award Twice for Sebastian Barry
   Sebastian Barry became the first novelist to win the £30,000 (about $38,020) Costa Book of the Year award twice when he picked up this year's prize for
Days Without End.

Orwell's 1984 Surges After Trump's First Week
   George Orwell's dystopian classic
1984 is the #1 book in the country following the first week and a half of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Print sales of the Signet Classics edition of 1984 for the week ended Jan. 29 were almost 26,000 copies at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, making it the biggest selling book in the week. Sales the previous week were about 4,500 copies.

   Sales soared after Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the reality-TV-star-turned-president, Donald Trump, used the phrase "alternative facts" in an interview. Comparisons were made with the term “newspeak” used in the 1949 novel, which was used to signal a fictional language that aims at eliminating personal thought and also “doublethink”. In the book Orwell writes that it “means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”. 

Dear ACLU,

As of today, 100% of the profits from every Trump Action Figure sold on FCTRY.com will be donated to the ACLU.

small BLUE The above text came from the company that I got my Bernie Action Figure from a few months back (and then a friend sent Vicky her very own figure) ... they proudly watch us as we sleep. Originally FCTRY.com had asked their customers to vote if they wanted a Trump doll action figure, and they voted overwhelmingly against it. Now, they have made up for ignoring that vote, and stated that they would donate all those profits to the ACLU. See, there is always some good news out there. 


Baileys drops women's prize for fiction sponsorship
The women’s prize for fiction will no longer be named the Baileys prize, after the drinks brand announced that it will end its partnership with the award after the winner of the 2017 prize is announced in June. Previously known as the Orange prize, the award is one of the highest-profile book prizes in the world and the only major honor in the UK specifically focused on women. Organizers of the women’s prize have said they want its next sponsor to pay for a year-long boost for women’s fiction, rather than a once-a-year celebration when the winner is declared.

Bookshop Santa Cruz - January Newsletter - Casey Coonerty Protti
   This week is about reflection and action. First, I turn my thoughts towards the last eight years and the long-lasting impact of having a President who put reading and books at the forefront of his life and his policies. Regardless of what you think of his politics, the fact remains that President Obama was a faithful champion of the written word. While discussing his reading habits recently in the New York Times, he credited books with giving him a sense of history and perspective in the White House. He said that reading fiction was most important to him because of its profound impact on developing a sense of empathy. During his presidency, Obama frequented a number of independent bookstores for shopping visits, read to children at the White House, and released reading lists regularly. He also convened meetings with a number of presidential historians and biographers to discuss the historical implications of presidential action (to be a fly on the wall in that room…). How many people were inspired to pick up a book because they saw that the most powerful person in the world committed to do so? We can never know, but we can be eternally thankful for the example he set for our nation. 
   We are now facing four years of a President who says that he has no time to read. President-elect Trump says, “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.” He famously turned a library in his Mar-a-Lago compound, filled with first editions of famous books, into a bar.

'Don't Shop at Amazon's New Chicago Store'
   "I have a favor to ask: When Amazon opens its retail store in the Southport Corridor area of Lakeview later this year, please do not shop there.... Obviously, Chicago isn't going to become a ghost town, but we should be very aware of the cultural and community riches we have in our many independent book stores. "The vitality of places like Women & Children First, Quimby's, Unabridged Bookstore, City Lit Books, RoscoeBooks and a dozen others I could name are part of what make Chicago a vibrant city. That vitality is also why I am not overly worried about an Amazon store colonizing Lakeview. "Chicago is better than this. "But we must be vigilant in the face of these threats and remind ourselves that the people who own and work in the local stores are our neighbors, are here to stay and are invested in ways a corporation could never match. "We have seen how easy it is to let something meaningful slip through our fingers. Chicago's literary culture shouldn't be trusted to one man in Seattle."
   -- John Warner, the Chicago Tribune's "Biblioracle," in a recent column

Pearson Wants to Sell Its PRH Stake
   In announcing more bad financial news this morning, Pearson indicated for the first time that it wants to sell the 47% of Penguin Random House that it owns, and is sending partner Bertelsmann, which owns the other 53%, an "exit notice." In November, Pearson CEO John Fallon had said the company "will consider" selling its stake in 2017.
   Under the 2012 merger agreement that created PRH, each company had to hold its stake for three years and each has the right of first refusal if the other wants to sell.

obQuotation of the Day
'So Long, Reader-in-Chief Obama'
"So long, Reader-in-Chief Obama. It was a beautiful eight years."
   -- Claire Fallon in a Huffington Post story about President Obama's love of reading, his promotion of indie bookstores and his recommendations of many books during his time in the White House.


In Dark Times, Bookstores Offer Hope
"People are predicting that free speech will take it on the chin in 2017.... It is because booksellers are strongly committed to tolerance and free speech that I believe that we can help moderate the tensions in our society.... There is no better medium for encouraging the free trade in ideas than books. They allow us to move beyond the heated emotion and inflamed rhetoric of campaigns to think hard about our problems. They provide common ground for debating the issues. "In dark times, bookstores offer hope."
   -- Chris Finan, director of the American Booksellers for Free Expression.

(from Bookselling This Week)  


Newport Vermont's Wider Than the Sky Bookstore Closing
   Wider Than the Sky, the children's books and pastimes store in Newport, Vermont, will close for good this week, the Daily Express reported; according to owner Diane Jameson, "her last regular business day was Saturday, but she plans to be at the store part-time until the end of the week. She said sales are down, and she is ready to retire."

(Newport is where I was born - long before this store opened.)

On the red carpet last night, Bryan Cranston, who was nominated for best actor in the HBO biopic
All the Way, told People that during his tour last fall for his memoir,
A Life in Parts, he bought copies of his books in bookstores, put the receipts in them and left them as gifts to whomever browsed and opened them. "I did that in every bookstore on my tour," he told People. "I did that and just put the receipt in there and put it back on the shelf. So if anyone was looking at my book, they'd see on the receipt it says 'open me.' But I left the receipt so they didn't feel like they were stealing." At least one fan found a note from Cranston, reproduced on Twitter, which read,

"Hi. Hey, thanks for taking a gander at my book. Take this book for yourself FREE! Really I just bought it--see the receipt. I hope you enjoy the read. Have a nice day. Bryan Cranston. Dallas Airport. Oct 19 2016. 9:45 AM."


Print Book Sales Rose Again in 2016
   Unit sales of print books rose 3.3% in 2016 over the previous year, making it the third-straight year of print growth. Despite a less-than-ideal environment—no breakout bestsellers on the adult fiction side and a lengthy, brutal election cycle that sucked nearly all of the air out of the cultural conversation—unit sales of print books were up 3.3% in 2016 over 2015. Total print unit sales hit 674 million, marking the third-straight year of growth, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 80% of print sales in the U.S.
   Most print formats had an outstanding year, with hardcover up 5.4%, trade paperback up 4%, and board books up 7.4%. Mass market has been on the wane since the introduction of e-books, and its slide continued in 2016 with a 7.7% drop in unit sales. Physical audio, where sales were down 13.5% on the year, also took a big hit from digital.


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