The Internet has been blamed for many bookstore closings. But an
instant connection with the wider world has made Sheri's Book Treasures
in Soldier, Iowa, pop. 207, an example of what the Des Moines Register
calls "an emerging rural Iowa phenomenon--unexpected storefront
businesses open for trade in sparsely populated areas because they sell
The store has 20,000 titles and nearly 95% of book sales are online, owners Wayne and Sheri Joyner told the paper.
The couple started by selling books from their home on six used-book sites, including amazon.com and
half.com, via sherisbooktreasures.com
. When supply overwhelmed the house, they took one of many available empty downtown storefronts. (The paper commented: "Rural
Iowa has long suffered decline and this town is no exception.")
Here's another eye-opener from this story. Because of the
ever-increasing pressure on used book prices, the Joyners sell many of
their books online for a cent and make money on postage costs.
Wayne Joyner explained: "Amazon.com charges $3.49 for postage. We get
$2.26 of it, or $1.59 if it's a paperback. So after our supply and
shipping costs, we make 50 cents."
Oh, and one Soldier resident said he appreciated having a store nearby
so he didn't have to drive an hour to go to the Barnes & Noble in
Today's Boston Globe
surveys how several independent booksellers in New England are faring in an increasingly competitive environment.
Janice Severance, owner of the Bookstore of Gloucester, Gloucester,
Mass., told the paper: "The Internet is a big issue, but you can't
replace coming into a bookstore and having the books displayed and
hand-picked." But since many readers enjoy browsing the Internet, "I
like to tell my customers, 'Go on the Internet all you like, but just
copy down the number and call us up, leave a message--even if it's in
the middle of the night--and we'll get the book, and if you don't want
to come in, I'll send it to you.' "
Allan Schmid, president of the New England Booksellers Association and
owner of Books, Etc., Portland, Maine, "spiffed my store up" when a
chain store arrived in his area, he told the Globe
. "I sort of went against what some
people may be inclined to do with the threat of declining sales, but
because you know that consumers are going to come back, and when they
did, I wanted the store to look nice.
"You can't just be asleep at the switch and think that the old model
will work," he continued. "You have to be creative, inventive, and on
your toes, and I think people who are in tune with that can have a
better chance for success."
In tones often used for late independent stores, Greg Stepanich in the Palm Beach Post
eulogizes his favorite local store, Borders in Boynton, Fla., which closed last weekend.
"I know it's not politically correct to applaud the superstores; it's
hard for independent booksellers to compete against companies such as
Barnes & Noble and Borders, whose size gives them a real
advantage," he wrote. "But customers like me patronize all kinds of
bookstores, and we love them all."
He concluded, "For me, it's the loss of a place where I could feel like
myself, frankly: A geeky man, obsessed with books and music, the kind
of person who rather pursue those two interests almost above anything
else. I'll miss the Boynton Borders, and the people who worked there,
and especially miss the extra outpost of culture it brought to the
place I call home."
In a move made in conjunction with Google's sponsorship of Shakespeare in the Park in New York City, the company has launched a site
devoted entirely to the works of William Shakespeare, allowing users to browse through the full texts of his 37 plays, Reuters
Many editions of the plays are available for sale via links to the
Amazon.com, B&N.com, Booksense.com, Froogle and the publisher.
The local development agency in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has applied for a
$1.2 million loan from the county office of community development to
open an 18,000-sq.-ft. store downtown, the Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice
reported. The county commissioners are expected to vote on the application June 21.
The store will be managed by an unnamed college store company. In
April, Barnes & Noble College and Follett were reportedly in the
running. According to the loan application, a management lease is still
The store will include an 89-seat café and is intended to serve as a
"portal" to the King's College and Wilkes University campuses, selling
both books for a general audience as well as textbooks. The colleges
and the college store company are putting up about $900,000.
Following the death last month of Dan Lundy, v-p and director of
academic and library marketing at Penguin Group and head of that
department for 16 years, the company has promoted Alan Walker, who
worked closely with Lundy for most of that time, to senior director of
academic marketing and sales. Walker was most recently director of
academic marketing and sales.
In a statement, Susan Petersen Kennedy, president of Penguin Group,
said of Walker, "In his new position, he will run the largest combined
academic marketing and sales department at a major consumer book
publishing company. His long-term relationships in the academic and
library communities will help us to further strengthen this important
aspect of our business."
Walker reports to John Fagan, v-p, director of marketing, Penguin
Books, who adds the title of executive director, academic marketing and
In a related note, a memorial service will be held for Lundy during ALA
in New Orleans, at 7 a.m., Sunday, June 25, in Jackson Square. For more
information, contact Charleen Davis at email@example.com
Advanced Marketing Services, the major book supplier to warehouse clubs
and owner of PGW that has been dealing with an accounting scandal for
several years, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to
deregister its stock. The company will no longer have to meet SEC
reporting obligations; the company's stock will continue to trade
through the Pink Sheets.
AMS said it "concluded that the increasing financial costs and
commitment of management's time to addressing increasing regulatory
requirements cannot be justified at this time." Few
securities analysts are covering AMS, the stock is thinly traded and
"the public market does not provide a realistic opportunity to raise
additional capital," the company continued. Thus, "the elimination of the legal,
accounting and administrative costs associated with being a
publicly-traded SEC reporting company" will allow management "to devote
more time and attention to the Company's business and operations" and
save a bundle of money.