The Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in the Bay View section of Milwaukee, Wis., will close April 1, according to the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The store opened in 2005 (Shelf Awareness, July 11, 2005); there are four other Schwartz stores.
"It was a difficult decision," said Carol Grossmeyer, company president and owner. "It is sad. We're all sad. But it's the right decision at the same time. Sales were on a downward trend."
Daniel Goldin, general manager for the Schwartz stores, added, "We went into the Bay View location with a commitment to the Bay View
community and high hopes for a future as a small, neighborhood
bookshop. But our modest expectations were unrealized from the beginning. Sales started out slightly below our expectations and remained flat, and lately we began to see a bit of a downward trend. The energy we would need to put into the Bay View store would be at the expense of our other stores, and we could not continue. . . . This was a very prolonged decision. We really talked about it."
Despite the uncertainty surrounding New York governor Eliot Spitzer's resignation, this past Wednesday "the New York State Assembly passed its budget for 2008-09, including the Internet Sales Tax provision, which would require remote, online retailers using New York residents to solicit sales in the state to collect sales and use taxes," Bookselling This Week reported. "The state Senate also passed its budget resolution for 2008-09, though the Senate budget did not contain the Internet Sales Tax provision."
"Obviously, the week's past events have been a shock to most everyone, including the state's legislators and business owners alike," said Oren Teicher, ABA COO. "Yet, despite what has transpired these past few days, it is crucial that we not let it interfere with our determination to achieve e-fairness in New York. While the government may be in a state of flux, what has not changed is the tremendous opportunity that stands before us. With the Internet Sales Tax provision now in both the Executive and Assembly budgets, we inch ever closer to success."
Because of the "current uncertainty in Albany," ABA will postpone its planned series of lobbying events--originally scheduled for March 19. In the interim, the association recommends that booksellers meet with their legislators or legislators' staff at local district offices.
Three speakers have been lined up for the Book Industry Study Group's fifth annual Making Information Pay conference, to be held May 9 in New York City:
- Michael Raynor, a consultant and author of The Strategy Paradox, who will speak "on ways to manage experimentation when commercial success depends on strategic commitments."
- Michael Cader, chef of Publishers Lunch, who will talk about "thinking next to the box"--solving information problems and creating information opportunities.
- Todd Anderson, director of the University of Alberta Bookstore, Edmonton, Alta., Canada, who will discuss the store's Espresso Book Machine and "the impact of truly local print on demand," subjects he addressed at CAMEX last week (Shelf Awareness, March 9, 2008).
To register and to get more information about the conference, visit bisg.org/conferences/mip5.html.
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the Great Lakes Booksellers Association, 14 independent Indiana booksellers, and Borders Books and Music "are urging Indiana governor Mitch Daniels to veto a bill that would require bookstores to register with the state if they intend to sell 'sexually explicit materials,'" according to BTW.
ABFFE President Chris Finan commented: "It is not surprising that Indiana booksellers are strongly protesting this bill. They consider it anathema to have to register with the government in order to sell books. If Gov. Daniels signs this bill, it will be challenged as a clear violation of the First Amendment."
Novelist Terry Pratchett will donate $1 million to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, a British charity, to help fund research into the disease, according to the Associated Press (via USA Today). Pratchett, 59, learned last December that he has early-onset Alzheimer's.
"There's nearly as many of us as there are cancer sufferers, and it looks as if the number of people with the disease will double within a generation," he said.
Michael Shmuely, owner of wholesale bookseller Books for
Less, Brooklyn, N.Y., reached a settlement with the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission that will require him to "pay 21
former workers a total of $180,000 and donate 1,000 books about civil
rights and African-American culture to a charitable organization," the
New York Daily News reported. The settlement stems from a federal lawsuit
"brought by former employees who accused him of frequently using the
N-word and referring to the warehouse as a 'plantation.'"
Bookselling This Week profiled Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, Neb., and highlighted owner Carla Ketner's consistently successful sense of timing.
The idea for starting her bookstore came from a friend's offhand comment: "We were in the Book Clinic [Nebraska City] and my friend said, 'You should open a bookstore in Seward.' I said, 'Yeah, right. I don't want to work that hard.'"
She changed her mind and "after a while, I had so much time and energy invested in the idea, I had to go ahead and at least try it. . . . I was frustrated by the fact there was no place to buy books here in town. Birthday party gifts, too--the choices are going to Wal-Mart and getting junk, or driving to Lincoln to get something. That's how I decided what to sell: I figured if I needed these things, other people might, too."
When Ketner decided to go forward with her idea, "the owner of a store that had been here for 30 years retired . . . and it was the perfect location on the busiest corner in town."
Brian and Carolyn Jorgensen, owners of Mountain West Books and Harmony Home, Cedar City, Utah, have moved both stores "from their location on downtown Main Street to a much larger space just a block and a half south," according to the Cedar City Review.
"The new book store is exciting," Jorgensen said. "We have been able to expand all the general book sections including more bestsellers."
A photographic tour of some "bookstore finds" in Istanbul was featured on the "Jacket Copy" blog of the Los Angeles Times.