Notes: Happy Earth Day!; Ex-Booksellers Doing Well
Here's a nifty idea for celebrating Earth Day: Penguin Classics is supporting the Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign, which aims to replant much of Brazil's Atlantic Forest. The cost is only $1 for each tree. To help, Penguin is doing print and online advertising, a 25-city radio satellite tour featuring people from the Nature Conservancy and Penguin Classics, a publicity campaign, and distributing display easels and bookmarks that encourage readers to go to plantabillion.org to donate. The campaign and Penguin Classics's efforts run through August.
Penguin Classics executive editor Elda Rotor noted that the house publishes many important works on natural history and conservation, including works by Rachel Carson, John Muir, John Wesley Powell, Henry David Thoreau and Peter Matthiessen. She also said that the company is engaging in "sustainable business practices from the fiber that goes into the paper we use to print our books to all aspects of our day-to-day business operations."
As expected, the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency Board has approved the purchase of the building owned by the owners of Acres of Books, Long Beach, Calif., the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. The store, which opened in 1934, has more than a year until it must vacate the site. Part of the $2.85 million agreement includes relocation benefits--owners Phil and Jackie Smith indicated that they are looking at other sites for the store, some outside Long Beach.
The site will be part of a mixed-use development that is hoped will start redevelopment in the area.
Check out a piece by Michael Shatzkin posted on Michael Cairn's blog, PersonaNonData, about some deeper issues raised--or raised again--by some of Amazon's recent announcements involving POD and pricing.
Opening the front door proved to be a profitable move for Kathy and Will Krantz, owners of Milwaukee Street Used Books, Janesville, Wis. The Janesville Gazette reported that the couple began selling used books online in 2001 "from a 140-year-old storefront" they had bought for storage, but four years ago they "opened it to the public for limited hours."
was just a matter of unlocking the door," said Will of the decision
that, in two years, has seen their bricks-and-mortar book sales rise
from five percent to about a third of their total business.
The success of the Book Place, Memphis, Tenn., may, according to the Memphis Daily News, "be attributed to all the store employees having been at one time regular customers who share a love of reading. Or maybe it's the willingness of those employees to go out of their way to help every customer who enters the store find the right book."
Barbara Van Dyke, who has owned the bookshop since the 1980s, agreed: "We've had some customers coming in here that have been coming in for as long as I have. So we know what they like to read, we know what they're looking for. . . . Between all nine of us that work here, I think we cover everything as far as all the genres.
"It's a wonderful business," she added. "If you have to work, it's the best job in the world. The only other job I can think of that may be better than this is cutting Brad Pitt's hair."
Jan Beatty, some of whose poems are "sexually explicit," says the local Pittsburgh, Pa., branch of Joseph-Beth is censoring her by allowing her to read from her new collection, Red Sugar, only under certain conditions, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
For its part, Joseph-Beth says that some of Beatty's poems are too erotic to be read over a sound system in the "family-friendly" store. Among its offers: a signing without a reading or a reading without the sound system turned on.
A story titled "Hot Time, Living in the City" in yesterday's New York Times focusing on people who move to cities to retire featured a huge photo of Clara Villarosa, who for many years owned Hue-Man Experience in Denver, Colo., then moved to New York City and co-founded Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe in Harlem. She has since retired and says she is very happy living in the city and being near her two daughters in Brooklyn. She told the Times, "I love the opera and ballet, and I'm so close to Lincoln Center, and I like the theater. New York really had a special appeal to me culturally." Judging from the photo alone, Clara, one of our favorite--and always outspoken--booksellers, is thriving.
Also yesterday's Times wrote at length about a "revival" of one of Broadway's biggest flops--Moose Murders. On the 25th anniversary of the play's opening--and closing--night, John Borek, formerly with Village Green of Rochester, N.Y., put together a staged reading of the play, with the original music, in Rochester and will show it again in August at Sardi's, the Manhattan Theater District restaurant. The Times called this "all part of Mr. Borek's idea to pay homage to a play that has transcended its swift demise to become evocative shorthand in the theater world for anything that has gone tremendously wrong."
Borek told the paper: "Maybe Broadway had its chance, and they blew it. Maybe it will have a more receptive audience as a work of art."
Moose Murders might have been a flop, but this story about it is dynamite, particularly the critics' comments on the original production and a description of the plot.
Saved by a good book.
As reported by the Salem News, while raking her front yard last week, Judy Powers, who lives in Beverly, Mass., decided to take a break, went inside and got caught up reading Summer Light by Luanne Rice. At that point, two cars collided on the street in front, and an SUV crashed across her yard into the front of her house. Powers told a reporter after the accident that "she hadn't been able to reach her insurance agent and didn't know how extensive the damage was. She did, however, recommend the book . . . as well as others by Luanne Rice."
From NAIBAhood News:
The West Chester Public Library has recognized Chester County Book & Music Co. [West Chester, Pa.] as a Literacy Hero. The store won the "Corporate Good Neighbor" distinction, with seven other awards going to individuals and businesses who inspire the pursuit of knowledge. Chester County Book & Music Co. has long worked with the Public Library to bring in best-selling authors as mystery writer Lisa Scottoline, historian David McCullough and comic-memoirist John Grogan to chat with local readers. Children's section staffers review kids' books for a local publication called Kids' News, which librarians use themselves and share with children and parents. The company has held in-store fundraisers to benefit schools and nonprofit organizations, including designated days when a portion of store profits has gone to Chester County school libraries. The company has also supported the Chester County Adult Literacy program, donating space to hold adult-literacy programs, consultations and other activities--and contributing bookstore gift certificates as prizes for program award-winners.
Effective May 2, Andrew Wilkins, the always-entertaining publisher and deputy general manager of Thorpe-Bowker and Bookseller & Publisher magazine, Australia's book trade journal, is leaving the company. He will continue working at his book publishing company, Wilkins Farago, putting out "interesting books from around the world." He also says he is "looking forward to testing my mettle in the competitive world of international business publishing, and to pursuing other opportunities as they take my fancy." He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Tim Coronel of Bookseller & Publisher, who is succeeding Wilkins as publisher.