Notes: Bookstore Openings, Closing, Ownership Changes
Here's what may be a first: a couple decide to close their bookstore after 21 years and as they shut it down, they buy a different bookstore, which is working out well.
According to the Sacramento Bee, earlier this year, Vicky Panzich and John Hamilton announced the closing of Next Chapter bookstore, Woodland, Calif., citing discount retailers. As they wound down the business, the owners of Raven's Tale, Placerville, Calif., suggested Panzich and Hamilton buy their store.
Of course, their initial reaction was negative, but they visited the store several times and decided they could make it work because it was smaller, with lower rent and utility bills and only one or two part-time employees.
" 'Charmingly stupid' probably describes it best," Panzich told the Bee. But she added, "It's hard not to do what you really care about."
Last month Mockingbird Books, a 1,700-sq.-ft. children's store offering 7,000 titles, opened in Seattle, Wash., and has at least two booksellers on staff who used to work at All for Kids Books & Music, which closed last week. See stories in both the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and NWsource.
Mockingbird is owned by Alyson Stage. Geeta Teredasai is the manager. Bookseller Linda Spoor was a teacher and librarian in Seattle Public Schools for 35 years before joining All for Kids.
Mockingbird will have a grand opening party on August 31.
Mockingbird Books is located at 7220 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., Seattle, Wash. 98115; 206-518-5886; mockingbirdbooksgl.com.
Although she was only five years from retirement with substantial benefits, Kristy Bell, a Navy lieutenant, quit because she was burned out and dreamed of operating a bookstore, the Times-Dispatch reported. In May, Bell opened Minerva Books, Petersburg, Va., which stocks some 10,000 new and used titles, including 1,500 children's books.
"Some days I think I'll actually be able to make a living," she told the paper. "Others, I think I'll spend the winter huddled around a trash can fire underneath the Appomattox River bridge with trash bags strapped to my feet for warmth."
She describes herself as Minerva Books's "owner, janitor, perennial favorite for Employee of the Month and the PR department."
Minerva Books is located at 233 Bartow Alley, Petersburg, Va. 23803; 804-732-2440; minervabooks.net (check out the great pictures on the store's website).
After seven years, owners Paul and Mary McDonough are shuttering their gallery of children's book illustrators' art and books, Child at Heart Gallery, Newburyport, Mass., the first week of September. However, they will keep the web site ChildatHeartGallery.com active for the time being. One of a few art galleries dedicated to children’s book artwork, it has represented Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter limited edition prints as well as more than 30 other regional artists, including Newburyport native David McPhail, and has exhibited such other artists as Ed Emberley, Chris Demarest and Jane Dyer. The Child at Heart Gallery was one of the founding members of the ArtWalk in Newburyport, and hosted the snowflake exhibition for Robert's Snow for Cancers Cure, the proceeds from which benefited sarcoma researcher at Dana Farber. This event was initiated by author/illustrator Grace Lin (represented by the gallery) and her husband, Robert Mercer, who died in August 2007. Mary McDonough will continue to be involved in the Newburyport Literary Festival children's programming.
Madison Magazine touted Avol's Bookstore, Madison, Wis., as "that place you've been meaning to check out for years, but haven't found the time."
"A lot of people come in from the outside and the first thing I hear is 'Whoa, this place is big,'" said owner Ron Czerwien, adding, "What I like best about the store is what people tell us: that they haven't seen anything like it before. They love the selection, they enjoy the space itself, they appreciate that we do support the local writing community. Those are all things that we are very happy and very proud to do."
Tower Book Shop, Shreveport, La., "is nothing like your typical large bookstore. It's a full-service independent bookstore serving the community in a variety of ways," according to the Shreveport Times.
"We pride ourselves on customer service," said co-owner Frances Comegys. "Being able to share and put in a good word for a book is what I love about this job. Our staff is knowledgeable and we encourage new people to walk through our doors anytime."
Yikes. Swift Boat redux?
On its front page, the New York Times examined the phenomenon of Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality by Jerome R. Corsi, co-author of Unfit for Command, the 2004 book that was an integral part of the Swift Boating of Senator John Kerry. Obama Nation was published by S&S's Threshold Editions August 1 and will be the No. 1 on the Times's hardcover nonfiction list this Sunday.
The Times cited significant errors pointed out by others, but publisher Mary Matalin called Obama Nation "a piece of scholarship, and a good one at that."
The author told the paper, "The goal is to defeat Obama. I don't want Obama to be in office." He added that he plans to help several groups that will run ads against Obama.
Baker & Taylor continues to make changes in the executive suite.
Effective next Monday, Robert C. Nelson is joining the company as executive v-p, strategic business development, a new position. He was formerly president of UCT Forestry Group and earlier worked at R.R. Donnelley, at different times as president of Global Document Solutions in London, president, ipgs sales, and president, corporate sales. Before that, he held senior sales positions at Moore Corp., enfoTrust Networks and World Color.
In a statement, B&T president Arnie Wight said that Nelson "will work very closely with our management group to bridge the gap between where we are today and where we need to be in the future. He will be the leader for developing new products, services, markets and managing their integration. He will also support our senior sales and merchandising management in developing a stronger foundation for increasing growth and value in our current markets."