In the quarter ending December 31, net sales at Amazon.com increased 18% to $6.7 billion, and net income rose 9% to $225 million.
"But in a sign that Amazon was not immune to the recession, its
operating margins fell to 4.06% from 4.78%, a result of
heavy discounting to persuade reluctant shoppers to buy," the New York Times reported. "Amazon offered a broad estimate for the current quarter and did not
make any estimate for the year, as it normally had. It said it expected
operating income of as much as $210 million, a 19% increase over
the first quarter of 2008. At its most pessimistic, the forecast was
for a 9% increase."
Sales of media, which includes books, rose 9% to $3.64 billion. The Times also noted that while Amazon released no new statistics on Kindle sales, a news conference is scheduled in New York on February 9 to introduce a new version of the electronic reading device.
Cool Blues Idea of the Day: Joe Neri, owner of the Well Red Coyote
bookstore, Sedona, Ariz., can also often be found performing on guitar and vocals with his contemporary
electric blues band, Blues Dawg. Sedona.biz
featured a photograph of the group with an announcement of their
upcoming gig at the Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood.
piece noted that "Blues Dawg was founded by Neri in the mid-90s in Los
Angeles, playing all of the Southern California venues and recording
two studio and three live albums. After moving to Sedona in early 2005,
he re-formed the band, keeping the same basic sound of covers and
Carol Valera Jacobson, owner of Downtown Books, Craig, Colo., was honored with a 2009 Celebrate Literacy Award by the Colorado Council of the International Reading Association, according to the Daily Press.
"My first response was, 'They didn’t have anyone else to pick.' Then I decided I was just going to go there, be grateful and say thank you," said Jacobson, who opened her bookshop in 2006 and expanded it a year later. "I thought, and still think, that a town without a bookstore is a very sad community. It wasn’t enough to be a store owner. I wanted to encourage people to read, and think, and grow, and all that jazz."
Timeless Treasures Books and Gifts, Denver, Colo., was described by La Voz Nueva as "a little bookstore with a great big heart" in an article about the bookshop, owned by Reba and Eddy Yepes, that opened a little more than a year ago.
"I told Eddy I want to open up a children’s bookstore," said Reba. "I would like to open one in the community where people can come and relax and I can read to kids and we can sell books at a reduced rate. . . . First thing, I went to the Head Starts and said I’m here. I would really be thrilled if you guys would take field trips and come to storytime with me and so I’ve had five Head Starts come in. . . . They love hearing stories and if I can inspire them to read, if I can put books in kids’ hands, in adults’ hands and help them--that’s what I want to do."
It may be hard to conjure thoughts of spring in the depths of January, but Troubadour Books, Boulder, Colo., is preparing for its second annual Sage Community Partnership/Troubadour Bookstore Boulder County Youth Poetry Competition to celebrate Poetry Month.
Troubadour's owner Deb Evans told Bookselling this Week that the event was inspired by desire to "encourage some of the at-risk youth in the community to bring their writing to a public forum. . . . Last year, we had what we thought was a pretty good response--about 160 entries from 58 contestants. It was great. This year we're hoping to get more. I try to promote the store by sponsoring performances and auctions for a few small local dance schools, youth orchestras, and so on."
"If you come to the bookstore most nights, you can get an idea of what a revolutionary society is going
to look like," said Travis
Morales, manager of Revolution Books/Libros Revolución, in a New York Press profile of the Chelsea bookshop that "has a proud and unambiguous agenda: the replacement of the political and economic system that currently dominates the world--i.e., America's--with transnational communism."
Scottish bookseller Jayne Ramage "is urging customers to beat the biting recession and escape the worries of the economy by spending the day in bed with a good book," Deadline Scotland reported. Ramage, who owns Watermill Bookshop, Aberfeldy, staged a "24 hour bed-in" at her bookstore recently, during which she "spent the whole day in bed with a succession of escapist, inspiring and uplifting books. Her novel day off was complete with cups of tea, biscuits, a cat at the end of the bed, a telephone off the hook, lots of fluffy pillows and a warm duvet and, of course, a pile of books to fill 24 hours."
Customer Douglas Craig was pleasantly surprised. "It's very unusual to see someone in bed when you pop into a book shop," he said, "but after a chat with Jayne it all makes so much more sense. I think it's a wonderful idea, as anything that gets people to read more can only be beneficial. She's an inspiration for people to keep on reading, and enjoying, books."
Bargain Book News interviewed Jeff Press, founder of World Publications, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Asked about his overriding business philosophy, Press advised, "Tell the truth! Plenty of business means plenty of problems. Even with the best intentions lots of things are going to go wrong. You don't need to complicate things with stories and lies. One thing my wife has always said, 'Without good relationships in this business, you have nothing.'"
Academic publishers "are holding their breath about 2009," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which reported that in the midst of the economic downturn, university presses must contend with a number of problems, including "low sales, high numbers of books returned [and] operating subsidies threatened by state and university budget cuts."
"The general feeling of uncertainty, I think, is as troublesome as anything," said Peter J. Dougherty, director of Princeton University Press. "In a normal year, you can make some predictions with some confidence based on how things have gone. This year it's a very, very difficult game to play."