Notes: Store Changes; Clinton Royalty; Eager Customer
It may not be news that "bookstores face an uncertain future," but it did become the focus of an editorial in the Boston Globe, which showcased Brookline Booksmith and the New England Mobile Book Fair.
The piece concluded that "books are an old medium, and shopping patterns are bound to change over time. But it would be a shame to lose the culture of browsing and discussing that has grown up around bookstores. So it's reassuring that these stores are finding ways to reinvent themselves. Maybe some will rewrite their own endings."
Anton Shelton, owner of Reader's Square Bookstore, Crown Point, Ind., was profiled in the Munster Times. "The people of Crown Point are very loyal to local businesses," he said. "There is a closeness in this community and people are saying that they really needed a bookstore in the area. . . . There are not lots of people here, but there is steady traffic. It seems like a really good place to start my first business."
When Shawna and Aviel Alkon relocated from Boca Raton, Fla., to Durham, N.C., they opened BookDabbler bookstore in September 2006. Aviel told the Durham News, "We didn't want a cluttered, old book store. We wanted a place where people could come and hang out, find the book they're looking for . . . drink coffee."
The Lake County News-Sun introduced its readers to Café Book, Antioch, Ill., which opened last month. Owned by Nicole and Jim Hayes, Café Book is a shop where "you can sit with a book at one of the four leather overstuffed sofas or half dozen tables nestled between the book shelves and order a coffee, pastry or panini."
The business was inspired by Nora Roberts's Three Sisters Trilogy, according to Nicole, who said, "There's a coffeehouse bookstore in one of her books. The feeling evoked from that place is what we wanted to create. . . . I think the community is really supportive of the downtown. We have moms that come in with babies and kids, all the way up to seniors who come in and have lunch. We also have high school kids that come in to get chai lattes."
"We certainly don't feel proud of the fact that Americans aren't reading as much as they used to. That's the take we have. I don't feel a sense of pride by outlasting Borders," Scott Abel, general manager of Kramerbooks, Washington, D.C., told the Washington Post in an article called, "The Changing Bookstore Battle."
Also quoted was Barbara Meade, co-owner of Politics & Prose Bookstore, who wrote in the store's online newsletter, "We have never been tempted by the allure of corporate imperialism--invading new book markets, slashing prices, demolishing the competition, and then back to business as usual, poor inventory and poor customer service."
Update on the sale of Just Books, Too, and neighboring Arcadia Coffee Company, Greenwich, Conn. The New York Times reported that owner Jenny Lawton "is talking to potential buyers about the bookstore and working with an investor group to keep Arcadia going. An April 23 benefit show to help the owners retire debt, featuring Jane Condon, a local comedian, is planned."
The owners of Acres of Books, the Long Beach, Calif., bookstore that has been a family business since 1934, have agreed to sell their building to the city's redevelopment agency and are indicating they will close the 12,000-sq.-ft. store, which until recently stocked a million new and used books, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Co-owner Jacqueline Smith told the paper, "I think it's very sad. But it's part of the ongoing culture and the changes with what people do in their free time . . . but also the rents, the redevelopment, the profit margins, it all just contributes."
Manager Raun Yankovich called Acres of Books "more than a bookstore. It's a place where the written word has a magical quality to it."
During the past eight years, Bill and Hillary Clinton have earned just over $40 million from four books, according to the New York Times, which combed the tax returns going back to 2000 released by Senator Clinton's campaign at the end of last week.
Bill Clinton received a $15 million advance for his autobiography, My Life, and altogether brought in $29.6 million from that book and Giving, a book on philanthropy. Last year his take on Giving was $6.3 million; he gave $1 million of that amount to charity.
For her part, Hillary Clinton earned $10.5 million from Living History and It Takes a Village. She gave $1.1 million of her book proceeds to charity.
By comparison, Senator Barack Obama, author of Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, received more than $1.2 million in 2005 and $507,000 in 2006 from his books (Shelf Awareness, March 25, 2008).
For the first time in a while, we have a report of a car crashing into a bookstore.
A driver who said she was trying to pull into a handicapped parking spot pressed the gas pedal instead of the brake and crashed through the window of a Barnes & Noble in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday, going 40 feet through the cafe section, according to WOWT. Three people were treated for minor cuts and bruises.
David Wolfson has been promoted to senior v-p, international sales, at HarperCollins. He joined the company in 1988 as an assistant in the sales department and held several positions before becoming responsible for all U.S. international sales in the early 1990s. Josh Marwell, president of sales, said that Wolfson "has built terrific relationships with accounts on six continents and become a leading advocate for U.S. export sales here at home."
Diana Calice has joined Independent Publishers Group as Spanish book specialist, responsible for marketing and sales of all Spanish-language publishers and titles. IPG distributes a range of Spanish-language publishers, including Blume, Combel Editorial, Villegas Editores and Thule Ediciones. The list features children's books, original works in Spanish and bestsellers in translation.
Most recently Calice worked at Barrons Educational Series and earlier was North American Spanish buyer for Borders and director of the Spanish-language market for Baker & Taylor.
Calice replaces Carolyn Ramirez, who had been with IPG since 2002 and helped launch the Spanish-language program. She is spending more time with her growing family.