Bookstore sales in January started off the new year nicely, rising 4.7% to $2.3 billion from $2.2 billion in January 2007, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, total retail sales in January rose 3.9% to $343,938 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.
Welcome news about a Los Angeles bookseller appeared on the Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy
blog: "Come May--give or take a few weeks--Skylight Books will open a
second space right next door in the 1934 building at the corner of
Vermont and Melbourne avenues, promises general manager and co-owner
In the bookshop's March newsletter, Slattery
writes, "It's all so exciting. It will be at least a few months before
all is ready, but we plan to move our art, film, music, theater and a
few other sections to the new space, which will allow us to also expand
a few sections."
She told Jacket Copy there are two reasons why
Skylight is expanding. First, Skylight has "a supportive landlord who
is offering us the space for a fair rent. He could have rented this
space for a lot more money to some chain operation. He thinks that the
bookstore is an important thing."
And second, "Ours is a walking
neighborhood. People are going to other shops and restaurants, the
movies. I don't know that there are that many places like that any more
around the Los Angeles area."
More good news:
filmmaker Dan Seitz has come up with an unusual plan to repay a favor
that Pandemonium Books & Games, Cambridge, Mass., did for him last
year. Seitz told the Boston Globe
that last March he happened to enter the bookshop during a particularly
bad time in his life and found a copy of Tom Holt's satirical fantasy, Ye Gods.
started reading it on the 70 bus, and I don't think I ever laughed so
hard," Seitz said "The book really just broke through . . . cleared
away the clouds, and let me think."
Now that Pandemonium
confronts $160,000 of debts, Seitz has begun "video recording
interviews of patrons for a documentary about the store. He hopes to
have an edited product by July, then sell it through distributors,
online, and at the store. Proceeds will be used to pay back taxes."
Wall Street is in bear territory these days, but Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio continues to be bullish. The first three trading days of last week, he bought another 420,000 shares of company stock, for between $26.97 and $27.81 each, or a minimum of $11.3 million. Only the week before, Riggio bought 890,000 shares of B&N (Shelf Awareness, March 10, 2008). He now owns approximately 14.7 million shares of B&N.
Worst headline of the week: "Fahrenheit 451: Bookstore roof catches fire" accompanied a report by WOOD-TV,
Grand Rapids, Mich., about a blaze at the RiverTown Crossings Mall
Barnes & Noble bookstore Saturday. A faulty neon sign, rather than
futuristic bibliophobes, was cited as the likely cause.
Warning that "many of spring 2008's nonfiction books are two shades darker than somber," the Seattle Times featured a Spring Books Preview.
The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association's children's book and literacy dinner takes place Saturday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Pasadena, Pasadena, Calif. Featured speakers are Jon J. Muth, Frank Beddor and Dean Lorey. Special guest is Robin Preiss Glasser. Some 20 authors will be in attendance. For more information, click here.
BookBeat: A Book & Music Cafe, Fairfax, Calif., is for sale. Gary Kleiman, who created the store in Marin County almost nine years ago, said that "with two beautiful children to raise and a couple of new projects in the works, it is time for me to step out from behind the counter."
He added, "My ultimate goal at this time is to find someone to whom I can pass over the reins of BookBeat. Someone who loves it as the great community haven it has become. Someone to keep the independent and creative spirit alive. Someone who will continue fostering the music scene, the children's poetry readings, etc., and the strength of the café and bookstore that already exist."
Gary Kleiman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.