Notes: Holiday Sales; Newspaper Adds Book Coverage
Holiday sales at independent bookstores polled by Bookselling This Week ranged from up to down to flat. "But if there was one trend among those reporting an increase in sales, it was customers' heightened awareness regarding the importance of shopping locally," BTW added.
Also check out ABA COO Oren Teicher's account of working at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle, Wash., four days last month, also in BTW. His sojourn continues an annual tradition of ABA staff getting into the trenches with frontline booksellers at the height of the season.
George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman series, died on Wednesday at the age 82. The dozen Flashman books pretended to be the memoirs of General Sir Harry Flashman edited by Fraser. The Telegraph wrote, "This device allowed Fraser to pilot Flashman through a picaresque series of encounters with some of the choicest episodes of Victorian history."
Or, as the Independent put it, "The Flashman series is based on the bully character of Thomas Hughes' Victorian classic Tom Brown's Schooldays grown up and serving as an officer in the Army, fighting, drinking and womanising his way around the British Empire."
Bucking a trend among daily newspapers, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is expanding coverage of books, beginning with its Friday, January 11, issue. Appearing each week on the cover of Friday's Living section, the Reading Life will feature expanded coverage of books and the New Orleans literary scene, expanded bestseller lists and new features devoted to book clubs, reading groups and literary movers and shakers.
The paper wrote:
"Our expanded books coverage is built on a belief that a great many of our readers have a rich and varied reading life, beyond the newspaper. And while some national statistics seem to suggest that reading is on the decline, others make a different case."
It added: "Our area supports an array of lively literary festivals, high-profile visitors, strong creative writing programs and new and antiquarian bookstores, including local independent booksellers that are increasingly rare nationally. And New Orleans' rich literary history also continues to generate, attract and develop a host of talented writers, many of whom use the city and the state as the settings for their tales."
Sidney, British Columbia, is "Canada's bookstore capital," according to the Toronto Globe & Mail, which profiled this town of 12,000 people that boasts nine bookshops.
For more than a decade, bookseller Clive Tanner "has been encouraging booksellers to set up in Sidney, offering to scout locations, even helping with startup inventory. He expects at least one new bookstore to open this year, but his goal is to have 25 bookshops lining the seaside community's short commercial strip."
USA Today offers a "Winter Books Preview," complete with an interactive, page-turning, bespectacled snowman.
"We haven't seen a strong season like this in a long time," said Carol Fitzgerald of bookreporter.com. "Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah really resonated with me."
"I knew this was something I wanted to do, and that it would be fun, but I didn't know how much I would become attached to the customers, and what a joy it would be," Cyndie Kalina, the relatively new owner of Once Upon A Story, Long Beach, Callif., told the Grunion Gazette.
Kalina, who took over the children's bookshop one year ago, added, "It's important to support independent bookstores in the city, so that people can have a unique shopping experience, so that they don't disappear."
Still searching for a novel New Year's resolution? With the "audiobook diet," the Guardian suggested that you can cancel your gym membership and listen your way to literary fitness.
"Bookstore's absence leaves hole in heart of Old Town" was the headline in the Desert Sun for an article about Peppertree Bookstore's short-lived La Quinta, Calif., location, which opened and closed in a six-month period last year.
"I am so unhappy they closed," said Julia Edwards of La Quinta Healing Arts. "We need a bookstore. People who come in are disappointed there's no longer a bookstore."
Soho Press is adding a new imprint, Soho Constable, which will focus on mysteries originated in England by Constable & Robinson. Some of these authors were formerly published in the U.S. by Carroll & Graf.
The first season of 11 titles will be published beginning in April and include a range of mysteries. Authors include Barbara Cleverly, R.T. Raichev and Roberta Kray. The line will expand in future seasons.