"Moving away from the big business, money-making focus of selling books and getting to the development of children and community" is the ultimate goal for Lauren Walker Thomas and her mother, Debra Walker, of Ladels Children's Book Boutique, Detroit, Mich., according to Model D.
"About 12 years ago I worked for Borders, and I got stuck in the kid's section at one point. It was awesome!" said Lauren. "The kids were so passionate about what they wanted to read, and so I wanted to open my own children's bookstore. . . . What libraries do is kind of what we like to do. We aren't librarians, but they are a part of the community. We wanted to do that but also have the retail aspect."
In choosing a location for the bookshop, Lauren said that the Corktown neighborhood "chose us," and they have been successful building relationships within the community and with other businesses.
"You can say location, location, location--but think outside the box. Make the store work with your vision," Debra added. "It's really the best of all worlds here. . . . Everyone else is downsizing, but Detroit can lead the way in independent businesses."
Instead of being threatened by the Internet, "business is booming at Canada's major public libraries," the Vancouver Sun reported. Among the reasons: "the high price of buying books to social networking, vampires and a new social acceptance for frothy best-sellers." More and more people are getting library cards and circulation continues to grow.
TiVo, which allows viewers to record shows and skip commercials, and Amazon are teaming up on a new project to allow viewers to see, in onscreen menus on TiVo, "links to buy products like CDs, DVDs and books that guests are promoting on talk shows like the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Late Show with David Letterman and the Daily Show," according to the New York Times.
For the past year, users of broadband-connected TiVos can download movies and TV shows from Amazon's Video on Demand store.
Although TiVo is in "only" some four million homes, it is working with such cable giants as Comcast and Cox to use its software in their boxes.
What would Harry do? Launching Potter-style events for books in other hot series has become a popular way to drum up excitement for new releases, the Associated Press (via the Reading, Pa., Eagle) noted, the current example being the midnight parties planned on August 1 for Breaking Dawn, some of which were highlighted here last month (Shelf Awareness, June 25, 2008).
Similar event excitement is building for the September release of Christopher Paolini's Brisingr, part three of his Inheritance fantasy series, and led the publisher to change the book's pub date.
"The retailers have become dependent on event marketing to expect their reach and broaden their sales," said Judith Haut, publicity director for Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. "We initially planned to release Brisingr on a Tuesday. From the get-go, we knew it was going to be a huge release, and we immediately were hearing from our accounts that they wanted a Saturday release."
"I go to downtown bookstores too but usually to check some books I have in mind before buying them online,'' 24-year-old office worker Kim Soo-jung told the Korea Times, which reported "the overall book-selling market is stagnant but online bookstores are growing at a notable speed due to cheaper prices and convenience catering to the taste of website customers."
The Korea Times also noted that there are now half as many bricks-and-mortar bookstores in the country compared to a decade ago, the total number having shrunk from 4,987 to 2,042. Meanwhile, "online book sales have risen by over 100 billion won ($98.3 million) each year since 2005. Their share of the market has also been rising--18% in 2005, 24% in 2006 and 28% last year."
Actress Joanna Lumley thinks contemporary poetry is something less than absolutely fabulous. The Guardian reported that, in a controversial introduction to Liz Cowley's A Red Dress and Other Poems, Lumley dismissed "so much" of today's poetry as maddeningly obscure and self-indulgent, writing, "It is a rare modern poem that achieves the balance between being challenging and accessible."
Ian McMillan, described by the Guardian as a "presenter of BBC Radio 3's the Verb, poet in residence at Barnsley football club and a contender for the next Poet Laureate," responded by calling Lumley ill-informed: "I suspect that she hasn't read very widely because she's ignoring the fact that poetry in the 21st century is a broad church. It's sad and frustrating that people can still come up with generalisations like this. You shouldn't be able to get poems on the first reading. Part of the delight is the time you take with them to understand them."
To ink or not to ink, tatt is the question. The Telegraph featured a number of photographs of "people whose body art is inspired by their favourite novel, poem or song." Sylvia Plath and Kurt Vonnegut "seem to hold a particular appeal."
Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow lauded his U.S. publisher's new website, Tor.com, as a "totally clueful big publishing website . . . which is part sf zine, part group-blog, part social network."