Sadly Local Hero Books, Gifts & Wine-Tasting, Ojai, Calif., is closing this Saturday, July 5, exactly six years after owner Elio Zarmati bought Ojai Table of Contents bookstore and, a few days later, Local Hero, which he later merged.
In a piece he wrote about the closing for the Ojai Valley News, Zarmati said the downturn in sales was not because of local customers, who "have been stellar in their support and so have our local authors who have appeared at our events faithfully." Instead the problem is a drop in tourist traffic. "In the last few years, retail businesses in Ojai have experienced a steady decline," he wrote. "Blame it on the war, the price of gasoline and the cost of living. As Ojai revenues diminished, our City Council in its wisdom shut down the Visitors Bureau, reducing our promotional funds to zero, a penny-wise pound-foolish decision which has dealt a death blow to many of Ojai's retail merchants. It certainly was the coup de grâce for Local Hero."
Local Hero will be replaced by the Casa Barranca Wine-Tasting Room and Zhena's Gypsy Tea, which Zarmati described as "two homegrown businesses which employ local people, feature premium Ojai-made products and will help enhance our economy. My association with Bill Moses started a long time ago when I sought to add his wonderful organic Casa Barranca wines to the Local Hero wine menu, and Zhena Musyka was the manager of Local Hero when she was dreaming of creating over 160 blends of premiums teas--so it is karmic justice that they would pick up the torch and keep the Ojai spirit alive. They will carry a limited line of books for old time's sake."
Zarmati is the publisher of the Ojai Book and Your Wedding Day magazine and is developing "a new national monthly health publication based in Los Angeles."
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has introduced a new design for the FREADOM gift card that states on it that the participating bookseller is contributing 10% of the value of the card to defending the freedom to read. ABFFE president Chris Finan said the change was made because "we want to make sure that customers know that they are contributing directly to the fight for free speech." Since its launch two years ago, the FREADOM cards have raised more than $20,000 for ABFFE.
For a look at the new design, click here. For more information about the card and to order them, go to abffe.com/giftcardflyer.pdf. The deadline for ordering in time to receive cards for Banned Books Week (September 27-October 4) is July 14.
The Valley Voice
profiled Otter Creek Used Book Store, Middlebury, Vt., which is owned
by Barbara and Rusty Harding. "Used books are my personality, open it
up and know other eyes have been on the pages," Barbara said. "To own a
used book store is amazing. I like it when people come in and give me
feedback. I feel like customers have taken some ownership of the store."
Harry Potter goes for the green. Books from J.K. Rowling's series may be the priciest recyclables on the market. The Guardian
reported that "hectic bidding from around the world . . . saw a
Berkshire auction house sell a complete set of Harry Potter first
editions for £17,800 [US$35,449]."
Adding to the HP collectible
mystique is the fact that these books "were not 'true' first editions,
but firsts in Bloomsbury's 'deluxe' range, which the publisher only
began printing in 1999 after the Potter spell was already widespread."
"Ask a child what makes a children's book appealing, and she might say, 'It is weird and happy!'" noted CNN.com, which consulted three kids for their reviews of 10 summer reads.
Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has picked The Condition by Jennifer Haigh (Harper, $25.95, 9780060755782/0060755784), whose pub date was yesterday, as her July pick. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she writes:
"As a big fan of [Haigh's] previous novels, I wasn't surprised to be bowled over by The Condition. The moment I turned the last page, I knew I'd revisit the McKotch family sometime soon--steeping myself in their lives. Much like a film you want to rewatch to catch things missed the first time, this novel is so rich and detailed that I'm sure I'm not the only one who will reread it and love it just as much the second time around."
Effective immediately, Simon & Schuster is handling all new book sales and distribution of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing to bookstores, mass merchants, warehouse clubs, wholesalers and other retail outlets.
In a statement, S&S executive v-p, sales and marketing, Michael
Selleck said that S&S will "work very closely with [Chicken Soup for the
Soul] to grow their business in all of our channels."
Robert D. Jacobs, Chicken Soup for the Soul president and COO, said
that the company will "support Simon & Schuster's work with tens of
millions of targeted media impressions every month through our
extensive cross promotion program."
Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher Amy L. Newmark added that the publisher has "updated the Chicken Soup for the Soul line with a fresh new look inside and outside, topical titles, and 101 up-to-date stories in every book, all at a great low price."
Since 1992, Chicken Soup for the Soul has sold more than 112 million books in more than 40 languages.
Effective yesterday, Mary Bisbee-Beek has become publicity and foreign rights director for the Literary Ventures Fund. She was formerly trade marketing manager, publicity and foreign rights director, at the University of Michigan Press. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Literary Ventures Fund is a not-for-profit private foundation that serves as a primary "partner-in-risk" with authors and publishers in advancing works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.