Notes: Iowa City Flooding; Russert Sales; Proud Penguin
Concerning the flooding in the Midwest, Susan Walker, executive director of the Midwest Booksellers Association, writes:
"We know that the University of Iowa bookstore in Iowa City, located in the university's student union building, is flooded--the building is right down on the river bank, unfortunately. Apparently they were able to move books and fixtures out before the water rose, from what we are told by third-party sources, but the very recently renovated union building itself is flooded. The other Iowa City stores--Prairie Lights and Iowa Book--are up on top of the hill and well above the river level, so they wouldn't get flooded themselves, but they are certainly affected by the destruction and losses in the city as a whole."
As of yesterday, the paperback editions of the late Tim Russert's two books, Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life (Miramax) and Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons (Random House), are the No. 1 and No. 2 bestselling titles at Amazon.com and in the top 5 at B&N.com. But like many bricks-and-mortar stores, the big online retailers are out of stock.
Amazon says it will have copies of Big Russ and Me on July 2 and copies of Wisdom of Our Fathers on July 12.
Carol Schneider of Random House told Newsday that since Russert's sudden death last Friday, the company is printing 100,000 additional copies of Wisdom of Our Fathers, which began shipping this week. Likewise Beth Gebhard said that Hyperion has gone back to press for 100,000 copies of Big Russ and Me.
Higher fuel costs, particularly diesel for busses, are battering public schools' budgets, and in response, school boards are shaving outlays for everything from building maintenance and field trips to textbook purchases, the Wall Street Journal reported.
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. The Guardian noted that the boy wizard "will still have his work cut out to catch the Bible, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, has sold 2.5 billion copies since 1815, and has been translated into 2,233 languages or dialects. Rowling would be more likely to catch Mao Zedong's Little Red Book, which has reportedly sold 900 million copies, but its sales are slowing down."
Penguin proudly notes that its operations in Canada and Australia were simultaneously--but perhaps not coincidentally--named publisher of the year.
Penguin Canada was honored by the Canadian Booksellers Association at BookExpo Canada, the first time in 20 years it won the award and the third time overall. Penguin Canada president and publisher David Davidar thanked authors, agents, booksellers and staff.
Penguin Australia was honored at the Australian Book Industry Awards for the first time in nine years and the third overall, too. CEO Gabrielle Coyne thanked "the company's spirit of collaboration, with authors, illustrators and photographers as well as booksellers, suppliers, agents and the media."
"In megastore era, small businesses must be smarter, not just smaller," noted the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times, which offered tips on "what the survivors are doing." Suggestions included:
- Link service to purchases. . . . One local bookstore hosts special events with leading authors that are open only to those who purchase books from the store.
- Band together. . . . independent bookstores recently formed IndieBound to encourage customers to value and patronize local bookstores, helping them compete against the likes of Amazon. There's strength in numbers.
BookMasters, Ashland, Ohio, has broken ground on a new warehouse that will offer 40,000 square feet of space and will include wire-guided tracking for its turret trucks and RFID inventory management controls with complete EDI capabilities.
Dave Wurster, COO of BookMasters, noted that the new state-of-the-art warehouse will give the company 9,000 more pallet locations in addition to the 22,500 it already has in its 100,000-sq.-ft. space. The company has a 110-acre site, allowing plenty of room for more expansion.
BookMasters's AtlasBooks division distributes and sells for more than 500 publishers.
Amazon is opening another fulfillment center in Arizona, this one in Goodyear. Last year it opened a fulfillment center in Phoenix. The Goodyear center, which opens in the fall, will have more than 500,000 square feet of space.
Read Orwell, save the world. SciFi channel's Visions for Tomorrow initiative asked fans to pick the "Top Things You Must Read, Watch and Do to Save the World." Wired reported that the "top three planet-saving activities were reading, recycling and registering to vote."
And what should you read?
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- The Stand by Stephen King
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
John Fagan, many years ago a bookseller at the University of Pittsburgh, has added another area of responsibility to the several he already has at Penguin. V-p and director of marketing for Penguin Books and executive director, academic marketing and sales, Penguin Group, he is now also marketing director, eBooks, a new position.
In a statement, Susan Petersen Kennedy, president of the Penguin Group, said, "We are excited by the current momentum of our eBooks in the marketplace and by the number of Penguin Group (USA) eBooks that continue to top national bestseller lists. Connecting writers to readers is what we are all about and eBooks are yet another way to make that happen."
Before joining Penguin as marketing director of Penguin Books in 2000, Fagan held various sales and marketing jobs at Random House for 13 years.
In partnership with Greater Talent Network, Inc., Simon & Schuster has created a speakers bureau that will offer the services of its authors for speaking engagements worldwide. As the company put it, "Groups looking for the best in public speakers can find authors from a variety of disciplines to satisfy any interest, including business finance, technology, health and well-being, current affairs and journalism, food, history and politics, fiction, entertainers and celebrities, memoirists, award-winning authors, and more."
"Connecting authors with an audience of readers and book buyers in as many ways possible is our top priority, and the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau reflects our firm belief that the life of a book and interest in our authors extend well beyond initial publication," Carolyn Reidy, S&S president and CEO, said in a statement.
PopMatters, the online arts and culture magazine, is running a month-long look at "the world of the secondhand bookstore and its storied place in the lives of book lovers." New essays appear each week. Check it out at popmatters.com/pm/features/series/434/.