Notes: Biden's Bookstore Visit; Marketing in Tough Times
Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to By the Book bookstore, Liberty, Mo., yesterday. The Kansas City Star reported that owner Chris Todd "got about three minutes warning before Biden showed, and was thrilled with the visit."
In the shop, Biden met with local merchants. "He acted like he would have stayed in there the whole afternoon if he could have," said Todd. "People asked him about health care and tax cuts. I was impressed. He answered in real specifics."
Who says the book industry is totally prObama?
Patriot Press, Gettysburg, Pa., is donating 25% of its proceeds this month to the McCain-Palin campaign.
"With the political climate such as it is, we feel an obligation to endorse and support the candidate who believes in the ideals and freedoms of America, and who has a proven record in defending and honoring her," said Patriot publisher T.A. Lower. "It is imperative that we, as Americans, think about our choice for the highest office, and put country first."
The press publishes books that "emphasize traditional American values." Its 2008 releases include a Civil War novel, Shades of Gray by Jessica James, and the nonfiction title The Southern Cross: A Civil War Devotional by Michael Aubrecht, which "recognizes the five virtues of the 19th century Christian soldier."
Bookselling This Week's latest entry in the Bookselling in Tough Times series focuses on marketing. Among tips offered: booksellers should take advantage of less costly marketing methods, not slash marketing budgets, promote books as great gifts, push public relations, stress buying local and use loyalty membership programs to keep customers and lure back "lapsed" customers.
Cool Idea of the Day: Brown Bookstore, Providence, R.I., delivers general books, on and off campus, between 2-5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to homes and offices within a five-mile radius of the store, according to NACS's Campus Marketplace.
Although the rules call for a charge of $3 for orders under $25, and a five-mile limit, "the store has not enforced either rule," CM wrote. One unfortunate rule beyond the store's control is that deliveries cannot be made to Brown University dorms because of a school ban on any kind of dorm delivery.
Still, bookstore director Manuel Cunard said that the store had had "great feedback" and the school's "big red van" with its name painted all over has been "a moving marketing campaign for the store."
Mostly Books, Tucson, Ariz., is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the Arizona Daily Star observed that sisters Bobbe Arnett and Tricia Clapp "have adapted to changes that would make many small business owners shudder."
"If the lovely folks at Vroman's read this column, here's a message for you," wrote Charlotte Schamadan in the Pasadena Star-News. "Please finalize your deal with the city of Monrovia and come to Old Town. We'll welcome you with open arms, abiding curiosity, and smiling faces. We have hundreds of customers for you! And great restaurants and shops nearby for you and your customers to enjoy." Schamadan referred her readers to the Rumor Control link on the city's website for further details about the ongoing negotiations.
The Island Book Nook, Sanibel, Fla., will reopen in mid-October under new ownership, according to the Island Reporter. Melanie and Jan Wiford are moving from Ohio to the Fort Myers area to operate the used bookstore, which has been closed since the unexpected death of former owner, Joan Simonds. Mary Gayle Skinner will serve as store manager.
"We look forward to reviving and carrying on the icon that Joan built,” said Melanie. "Living in Florida has been a dream and now with the purchase of the Nook, the dream will become reality."
Fearing a collapse of his beloved free market economy and a possible drift toward communism, Stephen Colbert examined "The Red Lending Menace" on the Colbert Report, noting that "It is our patriotic duty to go to the local libraries, check out all the books we can, and never return them."
"It will be no comfort to beaten-up bankers that their plight has spawned a mini-boom in publishing," the Economist reported, noting there are "at least 18 books on the crisis that are either in the works or already in the shops. With publishers still sniffing out possible authors and agents hawking proposals from grizzled hacks, expect at least another dozen to join them."
Rowman & Littlefield has joined the e-crowd: the company, whose imprints include Scarecrow Press, AltaMira Press and Lexington Books, has partnered with OCLC's NetLibrary and Amazon's Kindle to make available all of its frontlist and selected backlist as e-books. The goal is to have 10,000 titles in e-book format within two years.
In a statement, Rowman & Littlefield president and CEO Jed Lyons said, "This initiative will make our current offerings and deep backlists available to scholars and students around the world."