Thursday's Today Show on NBC featured three independent booksellers, who offered reading recommendations for the program's "Cover to Cover" segment. Bookselling This Week noted that the trio--Marva Allen, Hue-Man Bookstore & Café, New York, N.Y.; Jamil Zaidi, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.; and Roberta Rubin, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., had also appeared on the show last December, along with Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.
This time, the booksellers focused "on books for readers on the go, titles to share with friends, and great bedtime reading." You can find their picks, as well as a video of their appearance, at the Today Show website.
In a declaration filed in U.S. District Court this week, J.K. Rowling contends that the publication of Steve Vander Ark's The Harry Potter Lexicon "constitutes a Harry Potter 'rip off' of the type I have spent years trying to prevent, and that both I, as the creator of this world, and fans of Harry Potter, would be exploited by its publication," according to Reuters.
The lawsuit was filed last October by Rowling and Warner Bros. against RDR Books, an independent publisher based in Michigan that had originally planned to release the book in November 2007.
The ABA has called on New York State member bookstores "to voice their support for the Internet Sales Tax provision in Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposed budget by writing to both their state senator and assemblyperson," Bookselling This Week reported.
"With debate over the budget in full swing over the next few weeks, the time for New York booksellers to act is now," said ABA COO Oren Teicher. "We have a great opportunity to effect change and level the playing field for New York State businesses--we must not let it slip away. We strongly urge all of our New York members to adapt and send the letters we have provided."
Teicher added that "the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, which has played an important role in the campaign for e-fairness, is once again providing vital assistance in this current letter-writing initiative."
Even by the Oprah Winfrey's lofty bookselling standards, her latest pick, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, is heading for a very high orbit. Earlier in the week, USA Today observed that of the top five bestsellers on its list, 10 copies of the Tolle book were selling for every two copies of second ranked Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts).
According to the Associated Press (via USA Today), approximately 3.5 million copies of A New Earth have been shipped since the selection was announced a month ago. The book "is the fastest-selling pick ever at Barnes & Noble, Inc., according to a statement issued Thursday by Winfrey. It's also a record shipment in a four-week span for any book by Penguin Group (USA)."
The AP reported that Brian Tart, president and publisher of the Penguin imprint Dutton, suggested "a key factor was the upcoming Web seminars featuring Winfrey and Tolle, to be held for 10 consecutive Mondays starting March 3."
Said Tart: "Oprah herself has committed 10 weeks to talking to the author, and people from all over the world will be able to participate." He also noted that "more than 500,000 people, from more than 100 countries, have registered for the seminar."
Heartstone Books, Putney, Vt., "is likely closing next month," the Brattleboro Reformer reported, adding that owner Caryl Richards "is still holding out hope that one of the potential buyers she has been talking with is going to step forward and keep the book store alive."
"It's always been a little bit of a miracle that we've been around at all," she said. "I'm ready, and I'm not sad for myself, but I'm sad that Putney is losing its bookstore."
In an already difficult business environment, Richards noted that one recent incident in particular "made her wonder how longer she would be able to keep it all afloat."
According to the article, "on a slippery winter's day recently, a regular customer asked if her [UPS] package could be dropped at the store. It was a hardcover book ordered from Amazon.com."
"That was so insulting, and when she came to pick it up, she was pretty embarrassed," Richards said. "She came back and bought a $1.50 sticker book with her granddaughter, but I would rather have had the hardcover sale."
Another Vermont bookshop, North Country Books, Burlington, will soon close its bricks-and-mortar operation after 14 years in business. Owner Mark Ciufo told Free Press that he will continue to run his used bookstore online.
Could Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall," be read as "an inquiry into
whether property rights make for a civilised society"? Is it possible
that "the most unexpected people--oversexed teenagers, Las Vegas slot
addicts, juvenile delinquents and even your boss--are rational,
unconsciously weighing up risks and rewards and complying with economic
That's what Tim Harford, author of The Logic of Life: Uncovering the
New Economics of Everything, suggests, and in the Guardian he
recommends his "top 10 undercover economics books." The surprise pick has to be The Poetry of Robert Frost, Complete and Unabridged.
In the Czech Republic, "perhaps the only people the Harry Potter saga is enchanting these days are lawyers," according to the Prague Post, which reported that "publishing house Albatros, owner of the rights to J.K. Rowling’s bestselling fantasy series in the Czech Republic, is threatening to sue the large online retailer Vltava Stores for supplying copies of the series’ last book to the supermarket chain Tesco far ahead of the publisher’s schedule."
The official release date for the Czech edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was Jan. 31, but Albatros "mandated that the much-anticipated release be sold only in bookstores until March. Despite this embargo, the book hit select Tesco stores as early as Feb. 5." Allegedly, Vltava Stores sold Tesco the copies by routing them through a third company.
The San Diego Union-Tribune profiled Friends Bookstore, Lemon Grove, Calif., whose mission is "to spread the love of reading along with recycling books while raising money to support the Lemon Grove branch library."