Notes: New Orleans Bookstore Returns; 'Bibliophile Haven'
The Afro-American Book Stop, destroyed three years ago by Hurricane Katrina, will reopen on July 1, Bookselling This Week reported. The 1,500-sq.-ft. store will be near its former location in New Orleans East.
Owner Michele Lewis plans a grand opening celebration July Fourth weekend, which coincides with the Essence Music Festival. She opened the first Afro-American Book Stop in 1992. Since Katrina, she has conducted business in Beaucoup Books.
Borders Group's "comfortable" liquidity is allowing it more "flexibility" in evaluating bids from potential buyers, CEO George Jones told Reuters. The company has been cutting operating expenses, reducing inventory as sales have declined and just sold its Australian, New Zealand and Singapore operations for a minimum of $90 million.
"We are a haven for independent bibliophiles," suggested the Times Argus, noting that "when it comes to independent bookstores, Montpelier [Vt.] has a high number of offerings per capita."
Although the Yankee Paperback bookshop is closing soon, other Montpelier bookstores "have not only survived, but thrived by answering a call to readers--and finding a niche," the Times Argus wrote.
"I don't know what's going to happen once [Yankee Paperback is] gone," said Robert Kasow, co-owner of Rivendell Books. "I don't know if some of those people will vanish into the ether, or if they'll dribble around to the other stores."
Kasow and his wife, Claire Benedict, also own Bear Pond Books, a general independent bookstore that has been in Montpelier for three decades. "The two stores are very different, we have different clientele," said Kasow. "There's a lot of people who can afford new books but like the idea of re-using and recycling. . . . We definitely draw from a lot of outside towns."
At the Book Garden, co-owner Chris Tanner said, "We have niches; we have different roles that we fill. It's been hard finding exactly what people want; that's always the trouble with used bookstores. Special orders are our specialty. . . . You look at what sells and just keep a general stock of everything. . . . We try to have something for everyone--especially the nerds, because they're not very well represented in this town, sadly."
Black Sheep Books "community space and bookstore is an all-volunteer organization operated by a five-member collective. "We do minimal business, minimal advertising, pretty much rely on word of mouth," said Kevin Moore.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., Downtown Development Authority has approved a special liquor license for Schuler Books Downtown. Grand Rapids Press
reported that "the $20,000 non-transferable licenses are designed to
encourage development of restaurants in the downtown area, where
traditional licenses can cost $80,000 to $100,000."
While the license still requires City Commission approval, Schuler's co-owner Cecile Fehsenfeld said gaining the option to serve beer and wine would help draw customers: "We're a bookstore. This is simply a way to enhance it, maintain viability and be competitive within the market."
"Walking into Book Zoo feels like stepping into someone's living room," according to the Berkeley Daily Planet, which profiled the "funky little used bookstore in North Oakland" run by co-owners Erik Lyngen and Nick Raymond, "mavericks who don't use a cash register or sell books online and are trusting souls who leave a cart with sale books out overnight with a slot in the door for payment."
"You can't easily browse online," Lyngren said. "They can't compete with us." Raymond added, "It depresses me to think the Internet's highest function is a home-based shopping mall."
Lyngren's wife offered this perspective: "I want more independent stores like this where you can ask questions about what's important to you. I want to live in a community where I know the people who run the stores, and they know their customers."
Keith Galestock, editor of the National Association of College Stores's College Store magazine--one of our must reads--and director of the NACS Store, is resigning, effective a week from today, June 20, to pursue other interests. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.