Focusing on the effect on publishers and authors--and their finances--today's New York Times
scans trends in digital publishing, ranging from John Updike's BEA talk
about the "grisly scenario" of the digital universal library where bits
and pieces of books would be merged in ways unimaginable to the authors
to how e-books are being used to help sales of paper books to e-book
projects that allow for quick dissemination of information from authors
who might have trouble gaining access to traditional publishing. The
piece doesn't mention distribution channel issues.
The AP (via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
profiles Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., where founder Michael Powell
has begun handing over the reins gradually to his daughter, Emily.
Two comments by Powell that stood out:
- "It's not enough to love books. You have to love the business of it."
- "The truth is we way underestimate the breadth of interest people have in books."
In the story, Daniel Raff of the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania said, "I'm not sure what the next big thing is, but
[Powell] has been involved in several very major big things so far and
has made out . . . with really striking efficacy."
Asked for comment about chain competition, Barnes & Noble CEO Stephen
Riggio said, "I think it would be more accurate to describe the
industry itself as more competitive than as a competition between big
and little. The existence of any one additional book store or any one
extra Web site is competition regardless of who it is owned by."
In a guest commentary in the Contra Costa Times
Melissa Manlove, who works at the Storyteller Bookstore in Lafayette,
Calif., makes the case for the value of independent booksellers--and
the importance of readers who value indies to "speak with our
pocketbooks," i.e., make more of their book purchases at independent
The Vermont Guardian
discusses the three-day annual meeting later this week of the Business
Alliance for Local Living Economies in Burlington and highlights the
Vermont Independent Business Alliance, a statewide buy local group that
has been meeting since last fall and one of whose major supporters has
been Chris Morrow, general manager of Northshire Bookstore, Manchester
Morrow had wanted to get an independent business alliance going in
Manchester, "but we realized that Manchester by itself was too small,
so we looked to the whole state of Vermont," he told the paper. "There
are some local-first campaigns right now that are in cities where there
are more than the 600,000 or so people in Vermont. While still a lot of
the work would be done locally, we thought there should be some
umbrella group to make it easier for that to happen, and at the same
time connect those businesses statewide."
The Vermont Independent Business Alliance should officially launch June 15.
The Sterling Journal-Advocate
in Sterling, Colo., caught up last week--and maybe gave a ride
to--Elijah Wald, who is hitchhiking around the country on his bookstore
tour for Riding With Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey
Review Press, distributed by IPG, $22.95, 1556526059), an account of a
hitchhiking trip cross-country that includes a history of hitchhiking,
his own stories of hitchhiking around the world over the past 30 years
or so, and lots of facts about contemporary hitchhiking (Shelf
, March 7
For a short while at least, Wald was having trouble getting a ride in
Sterling on his way to Iowa City, where he was reading at Prairie
Lights. "I don't think it's a good idea to try to hitchhike near a
state prison sign," Wald told the paper.
A point of clarity about the grand opening of BookStream, which we
announced in Friday's issue
: the new Poughkeepsie, N.Y., wholesaler is
offering one-day and a maximum of two-days service in the Northeast.