Notes: A Green Rebuilding; General Retail Sales Slump
Bookselling This Week gives the background of the current green makeover of the 78-year-old Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa., which was bought last year by Bud and Janet McDanel, who consider the bookstore an "investment in the community."
The store is closed while its 100-year-old building undergoes a full gutting and rebuilding that meets standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. As part of the certification process, the store documents "that all existing materials in the building are being reused or disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, that new construction materials come from local suppliers and are either recycled or certified green, along with many other requirements." LEED certification adds at least 10%-15% to project costs.
Consultant Karen Fadzen and store manager Leah Lindemann are blogging about the makeover.
General retail sales in March were the worst in 13 years as consumers concentrated on "buying what they need," as Jennifer Black, head of an eponymous equity research company told the New York Times.
Reflecting a focus on the basics and low prices, sales at Costco and Wal-Mart stores open at least a year rose 7% and 0.7%, respectively, while most other stores reported declines. For example, comp-store sales at Target were off 4.4%, at Penney down 12.3% and at Kohl's off 15.5%. Even some higher-end retailers were down: Saks was off 2.9% and Nordstrom fell 9.1%
Utah's way of collecting a $10,000 fine against the owner of the closed Beat the Bookstore franchise: sue the bookstore.
The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is going to court to collect the fine against the franchise owner whose store was near the University of Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The fine was imposed because without notice, the store did not give refunds to customers after it closed in October.
The Associated Press (via CNNMoney.com) took note of Penguin Group's successful track record building on the word-of-mouth sales momentum for books like The Secret Life of Bees, The Kite Runner, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Eat, Pray, Love and Three Cups of Tea.
"They really are off the charts, as far as their trade paperbacks," said Cathy Langer, lead buyer for the Tattered Cover bookstore, Denver, Colo. "They market the books really well. They package the books really well, and the books are really good."
Dan Goldin, general manager of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Milwaukee, Wis., added, "I think one reason Penguin does so well is that it's one of the few publishers that does not have a vertically integrated sales force. It has two sales forces, one that sells hardcover and one that sells paperback. I really feel like that second set of eyes helps them a lot."