David Tebbutt, a finance director at Faber & Faber, was killed Sunday when gunmen stormed the Kiwayu Safari Village resort in Kenya where he and his wife, Judith, were on holiday. The Telegraph reported that Tebbutt was shot while resisting a kidnap attempt. His wife was taken hostage by the attackers, "who are believed to have forced her on to a speedboat. It is not known where she is." The resort is "less than 30 miles from the border between Kenya and Somalia and it has been suggested that the attackers were Somali and possibly pirates," the Telegraph wrote.
A lawsuit has been filed against HathiTrust, a partnership of research libraries and five universities, contending that an initiative to digitize millions of books constituted copyright infringement, the New York Times reported. Plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in New York, are the Authors Guild, the Australian Society of Authors and the Québec Union of Writers, as well eight authors, including Pat Cummings, Roxana Robinson and T.J. Stiles. They are asking that the books be taken off the HathiTrust servers and held by a trustee.
"We’ve been greatly concerned about the seven million copyright-protected books that HathiTrust has on its servers for a while," said Paul Aiken, executive director of Authors Guild. "Those scans are unauthorized by the authors."
John P. Wilkin, executive director of HathiTrust, told the Times that nearly all the digitized works were provided by Google and the project was "a lawful activity and important work for scholarship.... This is a preservation operation, first and foremost. Books are decaying on the shelves. It's our intention to make them available to people at institutions for scholarly purposes. We are ensuring that the cultural record is preserved."
The Times noted that the suit "leaves the Authors Guild fighting a two-front war against what it contends is copyright infringement. It filed a lawsuit in 2005 against Google, contending that the company's project of scanning and archiving digital books violated copyrights." A Google settlement was rejected last March (Shelf Awareness, March 23, 2011), and a new hearing on that case will be held Thursday.
We've been sharing reports from booksellers in the eastern half of the U.S. who dealt--and, in some cases, continue to deal--with the devastating effects of an earthquake, two hurricanes and widespread flooding during the past month. In Texas, massive wildfires have been the overwhelming challenge and Kathy Patrick, owner of Beauty and the Book, Jefferson, checked in with us over the weekend to report on the threat to her town and the community's response.
The region was engulfed by wildfires all week, and Patrick observed that "there are those of us in small towns, in my neck of the woods, dealing with our own crises, the loss of our timber lands, our homes and our livelihoods. It's hard to make a living when everyone here is battling the fires that are truly plaguing our state." Her community "joined the firefighters hand in hand to put out this fire, or prepare meals or donate water and their time." Patrick's Facebook page offered regular updates on the threats from and subsequent progress against the flames.
She called the response from outside the region heartening. Members of her nationwide Pulpwood Queens Book Club "keep calling in just to donate to my small little world's tragedy in the making." And Nicole Seitz, a South Carolina "author, artist and angel," was inspired by Patrick's e-mail and Facebook updates "to do something to help here." She created a painting of Beauty and the Book and auctioned it off on Facebook, raising $675 for the charity of Patrick's choice--"the heroes of my world, the firefighters of the Jefferson, Texas, Fire Department."
Today Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, San Diego, Calif., officially opens its new store in Redondo Beach at 2810 Artesia Boulevard. Plans call for "an entourage of gourmet food trucks [to] invade the parking lot for the store's 'Read and Feed' daylong event," as well as a reading by local author Denise Hamilton (Damage Control) this evening in the dedicated events space.
The soft opening will be followed later this fall by grand opening festivities. You can check out building-in-progress photos for Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach on the store's Facebook page.
Here's yet another interesting new venture for an independent general bookstore: Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., will manage the Cabrillo College Bookstore in Aptos for the next three months, the San Jose Mercury News reported. At the end of the semester, Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Casey Coonerty Protti will offer suggestions about the bookstore's future, and next year a college task force will issue recommendations.
In the past six years, Cabrillo College Bookstore expenditures have increased 27.1% from $729,000 to an estimated $1 million, but sales have declined, and revenue from new and used textbooks has fallen 28%. In reaction, the bookstore this year reduced hours, let go one full-time employee and cut staff hours by 20%. Bookstore manager Robin Ellis has resigned.
Victoria Lewis, Cabrillo College's v-p of administrative services, told the paper: "The goal was really to find a bookstore with retail experience to help assess our bookstore and provide interim management and stabilize operations so we can come up with longer term solutions." Among ideas already being considered for increasing revenue are adding a café and adding a POD service.
Protti said, "The book selling industry is very challenging right now, and anytime you can form a collaboration between two independent stores facing similar challenges it can lead to more innovation."
"Should We Fight to Save Indie Bookstores?" asked Macy Halford on the New Yorker's Book Bench blog, where she admitted that until the recent threat of closure for her indie, St. Mark's Bookshop (Shelf Awareness, September 9, 2011), she had responded to "news of random indie-bookstore shutterings as I do to news of catastrophes in faraway lands: with a pang of concern that soon settles into a vague sense of unease about the world and the problem of human existence."
Now she answers the question with a qualified yes, noting that "since we haven't entirely killed the bookstore yet, I would like us not to. Going into bookstores to browse, to attend readings, to interact with the staff, to see the selection they’ve curated--all these things excite me and entice me to read."
And yet, she wrote, "chaos and destruction are a part of life, and their consequences, impossible to foretell, are not always negative.... My fondest hope is that, should the bookstores still standing now fall, a new type of store, somehow able to survive in the digital era while retaining what's special about print, would emerge."
Delhi's neighborhood bookshops are "challenging the virtual bookstore by going an extra mile," including lunch and cookies on the house at the Timeless Art Book Studio in Kotla Mubarakpur. Owner Raavi Sabharwal's shop was "designed to give you the feel of a typical Victorian living room," the Indian Express reported.
"I am very particular about the aesthetics of the place," said Sabharwal. "My books are expensive. I might not attract the masses because if I had wanted to, I'd be sitting in a mall."
Roli Books has two locations--the Half Price bookstore at Select Citywalk mall, Saket, and CMYK, an art bookshop at Lodhi Road. "The space and the location determine the kind of things we can do," said Kapil Kapoor, the company's director. Half Price offers aggressive discounting at the mall, while CMYK sells quality art books. "It is a destination bookstore and we organize a number of events--book binding and photography workshops, design forums, art exhibitions and special movie nights, complete with comfortable chairs, popcorn and the works... and we have received a phenomenal feedback," Kapoor observed.
photo by Mayank Austen Soofi
The top 100 nominations for World Book Night in the U.K. next year have been unveiled. During the past two months, more than 6,000 people submitted their 10 favorite reads. The collated results will inform the choices of the editorial selection committee, chaired by novelist Tracy Chevalier. A final list of 25 titles for World Book Night 2012 will be announced October 12 at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
The World Book Night Top 100 is led by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, followed by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.
Bestselling author, legendary chef and TV star Anthony Bourdain will have his own imprint at Ecco, acquiring three to five titles a year. Daniel Halpern, Ecco's president and publisher, noted that the paperback edition of Kitchen Confidential "was one of the first books we published at Ecco as an imprint of HarperCollins a decade ago. As an informal (over the table) advisor to me during this time, his intuition has been unerring--suggesting such authors as Ferran Adria and Fergus Henderson. Now he's becoming one of us, sort of."
Bourdain said he is looking forward to working with Halpern: "Like me, he's passionate about words, about food, about the broad range of experiences out there--and I know from my own experience, that he's crazy enough to take a chance on authors whom others have either overlooked or avoided."
John Hays and Kevin Dougherty have been named vice-presidents at Inner Traditions, Bear & Co. Hays joined the company as director of sales and marketing in 2009. Kevin Dougherty has been part of the company's IT department since 2007.
Book trailer of the day: Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese (Quirk Books).