The Australian surveyed independent booksellers in the wake of the bankruptcy of REDGroup Retail, owner of the Angus & Robertson and Borders chains in Australia, and spoke to some of our favorite booksellers Down Under, including David Gaunt of Gleebooks in Sydney, Mark Rubbo of Readings in Melbourne and Fiona Stager of Avid Reader in Brisbane and president of the Australian Booksellers Association. There is special emphasis on Suzy Wilson, owner of Riverbend Books in suburban Brisbane, who, the paper wrote, "believes social projects at independent bookshops across the country are about 'all of us putting our minds to building this community to be as strong as possible, so that we've got the best chance of surviving,' although she acknowledges they require a huge amount of work, which is 'not really reflected in the returns.' "
All Australian bricks-and-mortar booksellers are competing with Amazon as well as the Book Depository, an online bookstore in the U.K. that "offers heavily discounted titles and free shipping to Australia."
Ferguson Books & Media, Grand Forks, N.D., plans to open a second store, in a former Waldenbooks location at the Columbia Mall, the Grand Forks Herald wrote.
will have a soft opening later in the month and officially open by
April 1," said owner Dane Jeremy Ferguson, who had posted earlier on the
the bookstore's Facebook page: "It's official! Ferguson Books & Media became a chain today!"
new store will be about "90% identical" to the original. Ferguson said
community support for the store has been "immense.... Whatever chains
can do, maybe we can’t do as quickly, but we can make it up in customer
to the Odyssey Bookshop, Port Angeles, Wash., which is celebrating its
40th anniversary tomorrow evening with a party, according to the Peninsula Daily News. Current owner April Bellerud bought the store in 2009 from founder Craig Whalley.
party includes cake, favors and prizes. The store is also asking
customers to send in stories and photographs from Odyssey's past--those
people will be eligible for a drawing for a $40 gift certificate. And
anyone born on March 15, 1971, the store's birthday, will have a 40%
A wonderfully engaging bookseller, Bernard Henderson spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about his life at Alexander Book Co., San Francisco, Calif., where in the last 11 years, he has built up the store's offerings of black books from a single shelf to one of the store's several specialties and made the store a stop for major black authors.
"I'd say 90% of the African American customers are women," he said. "A lot of them work here in the Financial District. But then, because of word of mouth, and because they can't find the books anywhere else in stock, they'll come from all over."
The fastest growing genre in the past few years, he said, is black Christian fiction.
Henderson produces Bernard's Bookshelf, a public-access TV show, and started Bernard's B-list, recommendations of titles in a variety of formats and categories (see them online here). He's also so adept as an emcee at events that he's begun doing standup.
In Other Words,
the Portland, Ore., feminist bookstore and community center is
"enjoying an unexpected moment in the spotlight," thanks to the popular
IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia, the Oregonian reported. One of the ongoing segments is set at the fictional Women and Women First Bookstore,
where "a pair of humorless workers at a feminist bookstore (played by
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) give customers the grouchiest,
least-helpful, most guilt-inducing service imaginable."
sketches, which were filmed at In Other Words, have "spurred a lot of
discussion," said the bookstore's co-director, Katie Carter. "We're a
small organization, and Portlandia has gotten a lot of national exposure. It was a surprise--people outside of here care about Portlandia? And feminism is not a concept that is seen much in mainstream media."
some reaction that the fictional booksellers promote a stereotype,
Carter believes the segments make fun of clichés rather than
perpetuating them. "I think we were expecting some negative feedback,
but there have only been a few comments like, 'Why would you let them
make fun of feminism?' But Carrie Brownstein's a feminist, and it's
meant to be tongue-in-cheek."
Congratulations to Susan Novotny: literary agent Susan Golomb sold Comeback Love by Peter Golden, originally published as a Staff Picks Press book, to Atria via auction. Atria editors were "intrigued with the concept of SPP and having booksellers lead the way to new authors," Novotny said.
Novotny is owner of the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y., and Market Block Books, Troy, N.Y., as well as co-owner of Troy Book Makers. She founded Staff Picks Press as a way for booksellers to select and publish books that eventually may or may not be picked up major publishers.
Golden describes Comeback Love as "a journey into the hearts of two lovers who came of age in the 1960s and is a sensual exploration of youth, regret, desire, and the bonds that mysteriously endure in the face of momentous change."
Cool (but not chilled) idea of the day. For The Descent of Man, a first novel by Kevin Desinger about a wine steward who decides to turn the tables one night on two car thieves and, as a consequence, whose life spirals into a nightmare, the author and publisher Unbridled Books worked with an Oregon vineyard to create a special Descent of Man label for a pinot. The bottles will be gifts for some lucky booksellers.
Book trailer of the day: Live Wire by Harlan Coben (Dutton), which goes on sale March 22.
As part of its "ongoing investigation into the financially fictitious" (see Forbes Fictional 15), Forbes revisited a 2007 listing of the 25 largest fictional companies, asking readers if it was time for an update. Leading the earlier ranking was CHOAM from Frank Herbert's Dune, with annual revenues of $1.7 trillion.
Buzzfeed featured a roundup of amazing book sculptures, including a building made out of 7,000 phone books
Here's a surefire conversation starter: Writer Rob Silverman chose his "10 best books about New York" for the Huffington Post:
"Here are some classic fiction and nonfiction books that will help the
armchair traveler, the visitor, and the newly arrived to understand the
heart and soul of New York." (Check out our Facebook page for additional suggestions.)
Lit tatts of the day: Buzzfeed showcased "20 awesome literary tattoos" that are "classic to the bone."