Books Etc., Falmouth, Maine, will be shutting next Monday, February 28.
Owner Allan Schmid, a former president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, told Shelf Awareness
that the store "never fully recovered" from the effect of the financial
meltdown in late 2008. "People stayed home in the fourth quarter of
2008," he said.
In April 2009, Schmid closed the Books Etc. store
in Portland, consolidating in the Falmouth store, and changed the
business model to emphasize more used books. Schmid was "quite pleased"
with business last summer, but after moving to a slightly smaller space
in September, "we were basically closed in October" because of
construction and moving. The holiday season was solid, but January was
The store simply wasn't "sustainable" in the current
economy, Schmid said. "It probably would have worked if we had more
time, but we ran out of time." He added that he had tried to find either
buyers or partners in the last few years but was unsuccessful.
the closing, Schmid said that he is optimistic about the future of
bookstores and will miss customers the most. Schmid bought
Books Etc. in 1987 and opened the Falmouth store in December 2000.
Allan Schmid may be reached at email@example.com.
Egyptian booksellers and publishers are expressing optimism about their post-revolution future, the Bookseller reported. Trevor Naylor, associate director of sales, marketing and distribution at the American University in Cairo Press, said, "Many Egyptian stores opened up again on Sunday for the first time; the atmosphere is absolutely wonderful not least because the Egyptians themselves are happy about the change. For a long time we had armored tanks parked outside the store. There was no point in opening because no one could get in--and when there are one million people outside your door you do get a little nervous.
"We are hopeful now that what has happened will have a positive effect on education, and publishers and booksellers will have more freedom to sell books. There will also be so many stories people will want to tell about what has happened here--that will mean more books."
Naylor has high hopes for the upcoming Tahrir Book Fair at the end of March. Describing it as an "an event which has emerged from the ashes of the cancelled Cairo Book Fair [Shelf Awareness, February 1, 2011]," the Bookseller noted that this event "is programmed to include thousands of books from Egypt and abroad, as well as author signings and seminars."
Added Naylor: "Everyone around the globe now associates Tahrir Square with freedom and revolution; we really wanted to do something that celebrates what happened here, and this seems like a great way to do it."
Barnes & Noble is expanding the reach of its PubIt! digital publishing platform for independent publishers and self-published authors into bricks-and-mortar retail stores. Last night the company hosted the first in a planned series of PubIt! author events at its Santa Monica, Calif., location. A panel discussion featured PubIt! author H.P. Mallory; Beth Orsoff, a traditional turned self-published author; and Lisa Cortés, president of Cortés Films and executive producer of the Oscar-winning movie Precious.
"This in-store PubIt! event is a continuation of Barnes & Noble's strategy of bringing the digital and physical reading worlds together," said Theresa Horner, B&N's v-p, digital content. "We recognize the importance of uniting the reader with the author regardless of the book format, and we look forward to conducting many more events to support our PubIt! authors in our bookstores."
B&N said that since PubIt!'s launch four months ago, more than 11,000 independent publishers and authors have joined, adding approximately 65,000 new works to the Nook Bookstore.
The not-so-gradual shift in emphasis from paper fliers to social media for publicizing events has helped Manhattan's legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe grow "from a small, volunteer-led venue best known for weekly poetry events to a thriving arts center with partnerships across the city," the Wall Street Journal reported.
"Unlike some other arts venues, our demographic is very young, tech savvy, and diverse in every sense--geographically, economically, ethnically," said Daniel Gallant, Nuyorican's executive director. "They don't necessarily have money to go buy a magazine or newspaper, but they will go online and see what their friends are doing."
The Nuyorican's online success story includes a $10,000-per-month grant from Google, 30% increase in online ticketing, 40% jump in web traffic and double the number of events, from an average of one per night to two or more.
Frederick Vallaeys, a product specialist for Google's Adwords service, said, "One common mistake small businesses make is they don't spend enough time learning the keywords and choosing them correctly. [Nuyorican] really stood out in how they adapted and made changes."
"It seems like only yesterday that we were cursing Borders for driving local independent bookstores out of business. And yet, this time next month, America's streets will still be littered with thousands of independent bookstores. Borders stores? Not so much," wrote Paul Carr in TechCrunch, where he suggested that "the death of Borders might actually cause something no-one in the book trade ever thought they'd see: a resurgence in independent book stores.... As a lover of books, and of bookstores, I have to say that bright future excites the hell out of me--perhaps enough to stop me mourning the bazillion Borders reward points I've racked up over the years and which are now barely worth the plastic they were stored on."
"Savvy shoppers know that there aren't any true deals to be found at the liquidation sales of closing retailers, but most people aren't savvy shoppers," the Consumerist observed in highlighting selections from blog posts by Borders employees. Included among the high- and lowlights has been the discovery that "stores are doing record business now that the liquidators have arrived and the garish 'store closing' signs are up. Thanks to consumer confusion, business is good at the stores that aren't closing, either. Who knew bankruptcy was so good for business?" the Consumerist wrote.
Author Michele Lee, who works at one of the doomed stores and has been blogging about the experience, introduced her Day Five entry this way: "By this point we've all adjusted from an 'OMG how can the store close' to a 'Let's get this shit done as best as we can' mentality. Again, I love my coworkers because while work was light-hearted none of us are putting up with nonsense."
On the bookstore's blog, Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., reassured customers about the shop's current health and future prospects. He also offered some perspective regarding the Borders situation, noting that while, as an indie, Green Apple was never a fan of the chain, "we will not dance on their grave."
Mulvihill asked his customers to decide for themselves what importance an indie presence has in their lives: "If you think Green Apple is a necessary part of the San Francisco literary landscape, then shop here, or shop here more often, or bring us new customers, or pay cash, or bring your own bag, or Yelp or blog about us. If you're in 'the media,' write about us or have us on your show. [Editor's note: or quote you in Shelf Awareness.] Forward our e-mail newsletter to friends who read. Or if you'd rather shop online, our website is very functional. And if you read e-books, give our Google e-books a chance. We can help.... But if you'd rather not have a bookstore in your community, shop mostly or only at Amazon. No one should shop at Green Apple out of charity or pity or noblesse oblige, but because you want what we've got. You mold the retail landscape with every purchase; vote wisely."
Lanora Hurley, owner of the Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis., expressed similar thoughts in a letter she e-mailed to customers and posted on the website. It began: "My staff and I are very saddened by the loss of jobs in our area [Borders is closing all of its Milwaukee locations]; we are all too familiar with the pain and difficulty of watching our fellow booksellers lose a job they are very passionate about. However, we at Next Chapter Bookshop want to thank you, our loyal customers, for realizing that there is immense value in supporting a locally owned, independent bookshop."
Last month, owner Gary Weissbrot announced he would be closing Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, N.Y. (Shelf Awareness, February 14, 2011), but the shop may still find new life as a co-op.
The Cornell Daily Sun reported that Buffalo Street Books staff member Bob Proehl recently proposed turning the store into a cooperative organization. He suggested a goal of raising $200,000 to buy the business, dividing that cost into $250 shares. As of February 21, "community members have already pledged $160,000 toward buying the bookstore," the Daily Sun wrote.
"The possibility that Buffalo Street Books will continue to operate is an absolute thrill for me both as a book lover and as a citizen of Ithaca," said Weissbrot. "I can't imagine living in a town that doesn't have a bookstore, even if I don't own it."
Threatened with closure last March, Mr. Mopps' Children's Books and Toys, Berkeley, Calif., is now operating under new ownership. The Daily Californian reported that Devin McDonald and Jenny Stevenson bought the business from Eugene Yamashita in October, closed for a month after the holidays to renovate, and have been open ever since. McDonald said the store has retained its loyal customers: "Generations of kids have been coming here. There are great-grandparents who brought their children in and now are bringing their great-grandchildren in."
Obituary note: Perry Moore, author of Hero--a YA novel about a gay superhero--and an executive producer of the The Chronicles of Narnia movie series, died last Thursday, the New York Times reported. He was 39.
The Book Lady's Blog featured an "I love big books" video, noting that in the midst of pondering the demise of Borders and other industry issues, a moment was needed "to celebrate books and feel hope for the future of literature without having to analyze anything. This is giving me a happy right now, and I hope it'll work for you, too."
Barry Miles, author of biographies of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and other books about the Beat Generation, chose his top 10 counterculture books about the London scene for the Guardian. "I have an entire shelf of academic studies of bohemianism, the avant garde and the counterculture--the behavior of beatniks, mods, rockers, hippies and punks--but I always prefer the memoirs of the actual participants," he wrote.
"The Paris Review is not actual reviews of Paris, no." Look in the Quickmeme aisle for more Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich responses.
Book trailer of the day: The Band That Played On
by Steve Turner (Thomas Nelson), the first book about the eight members
of the Titanic's string band who famously kept playing as the ship
Effective next Monday, Caroline Sun joins
HarperCollins children's books as publicity manager. She was formerly a senior
publicist at Penguin Young Readers Group. Earlier she worked at Macmillan.
Literary PR firm Hilsinger-Mendelson East announced a pair of appointments:
David Kass was promoted to associate director of publicity. Formerly a publicity manager, Kass has built specialties in business, politics, social issues and sports.
Iris Blasi joined the firm as coordinator of digital media, overseeing online interface and strategies to help authors promote their work across multiple digital platforms.