Notes: Cody's Events Legacy; B&N's After-tax Charge
Noting that "one of the many sad things about the closure of Cody's Books in Berkeley last summer was the sudden, precipitous halt to the steady parade of author events and booksignings," the Contra Costa Times reported that Melissa Mytinger, former events coordinator at Cody's, has launched Berkeley Arts & Letters, "a new series at First Congregational Church of Berkeley."
Mytinger, who worked at Cody's for 21 years, has teamed up with Praveen Madan, co-owner of the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif., and together they "have structured their new series along the lines of the large-scale events Cody's had mounted at FCCB in the past. Books will be available for sale and for author signings at the readings, and a $10 suggested donation will be taken at the door to offset the church's costs, with no one turned away for lack of funds."
Although several events have already been scheduled, Mytinger said "it was too late to put on a full program for fall. I think the full launch will come in January. We'd like to do between six and 10 events a month, both at FCCP and at the Berkeley City Club."
The closing of the Whistle Stop Book Shop, Stratford, Conn., after 18 years is "not a tragic ending," according to the Connecticut Post: "It's not the economy. It's not the Internet or the big chains, either. It's just time for the story . . . to end" because co-owners Bonnie Lee and Pam Robertson are retiring from the bookselling business.
While the tough economy may not have been the cause of the shop's closing, the Post reported "it has affected the chances the Whistle Stop will be bought. [Robertson] said the store's two or three potential buyers are having difficulty securing credit to buy the business."
The article also included a list of other independent bookshops in the region, along with a succinct note of optimism from Susan Shaw, owner of the two Collected Stories Bookstores in Milford: "People need books."
Barnes & Noble has taken an after-tax charge of about $1.8 million related to the resignation in August of B&N.com CEO Marie J. Toulantis, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that was reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
Toulantis had worked at B&N since 1997 and continues as a consultant (Shelf Awareness, August 19, 2008).
The New York Times offered "a historical tour of a more spiritual nature" in a travel piece headlined, "In Buddha’s Path on the Streets of San Francisco." Spiritual tourists are advised that in their search for the wellsprings of American interest in Buddhism, "as unlikely as it sounds, it started at a cluttered little independent bookshop that itself seems like a throwback to another era."
"I made a beeline to City Lights as soon as I moved to San Francisco in the 1960s,” said Wes Nisker, a Bay Area FM radio commentator who teaches and writes about Buddhism. "It was the epicenter for a radical new kind of Buddhism that was beginning to flower in America. As a budding Buddhist myself, I had to make it the first stop for my own personal pilgrimage."
"To satisfy the public's craving for financial advice," Borders has created front-of-store displays in all its superstores that feature finance and personal-finance titles and Barnes & Noble has sent a list of appropriate titles to its superstore managers, suggesting they set up displays where appropriate, the Wall Street Journal said.
The five titles of most interest to consumers, according to Michael D'Agostini, business book buyer at Borders:
- The Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles Morris
- The World Is Curved by David Smick
- The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros
- Bad Money by Kevin Phillips
- Crash Proof by Peter Schiff
Author Scott Turow will announce the 20 finalists for the 2008 National Book Awards from the stage of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater on Wednesday. According to the National Book Foundation, the announcement will be transmitted by videolink and be available at the Foundation's website at 12 p.m. EST. Bookstores, libraries and bloggers are invited to link to the event. The NBF still has a limited supply of posters and bookmarks available. Interested bookstores and libraries can e-mail Sherrie Y. Young, NBF's director of marketing and special projects, at email@example.com for more information.
"What's with all those summer reading lists?" asked the Boston Globe in offering a fall reading list alternative: "You'd think no one ever picked up a book at any other time of year. Well, summer is gone in a blink around these parts and, besides, this isn't exactly a beach-read kind of town. So here's a radical idea--why not a list of great fall reads? Why not some books filled with spice and substance for curling up with on these first chilly days? Maybe even one to last until the first snowed-in day."
Goodnight, money. Slate posed an inter-generational question for our time: "Mom, What's a Credit Default Swap?" Answer: Books to read your children during a financial crisis.
More on titles by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature last week.
Another publisher of his work in the U.S. is the University of Nebraska Press, which published Onitsha in 1997 and The Round and Other Cold Hard Facts in 2003. By the way, Nebraska says it has nearly 200 titles translated from other languages in print, making it "one of the largest, most active American publishers of translated works."
AbeBooks.com reported that at the end of last week, Le Clézio was "the No.1 search term," and the site sold "significant" numbers of his books. As of Friday, there were fewer than 1,500 copies of his titles on AbeBooks.com available in English, but that number may increase.
Was the fix in for Nobel lit prize gamblers? The Associated Press (via USA Today) reported that the Nobel Prize literary jury suspects an insider may have leaked winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio 's name because "an unusual number of bets were made predicting he would win."
"I have a strong suspicion that there has been a leak in the system this time," said Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. "I don't want to say more."
After the award was announced last week (Shelf Awareness, October 10, 2008), Nick Weinberg, a spokesman for Ladbrokes, said the sudden drop in Le Clézio's odds--from 14-1 to 1-2--had caused the bookmaker to suspend betting: "It's the result we feared. Punters were convinced that Le Clézio's time had come and they were spot on."
Another publisher is donating proceeds to a presidential campaign--but not for the same team that Patriot Press is supporting (Shelf Awareness, October 10, 2008).
During October, Small Beer Press, Easthampton, Mass., is running a sale on all of its books and is donating 20% of the proceeds of that sale to the Obama-Biden campaign. Publisher Gavin J. Grant says, "Our books are all great, and slightly weird. But nothing weirder than what's happening in the world. Who can believe George W. Bush managed to get elected once, never mind twice? Or that Sarah Palin's candidacy for vice president is taken seriously?"
Speaking of the Governor of Alaska, in just nine days an idea at a Collins editorial brainstorming meeting became a book. The heavily illustrated Terminatrix: The Sarah Palin Chronicles is by the editors of the Wasilla Iron Dog Gazette, aka Adam Bellow and Bruce Nichols, and features pictures from "a private collection of family photos . . . some of them annotated in the Governor's own hand" ($9.95, 9780061778728/0061778729). The book goes on sale officially tomorrow.
Dan Koenig has been promoted to director of sales planning and operations at Macmillan. He was formerly marketing and supply chain manager in the distribution sales and marketing department and earlier was customer promotions manager and marketing manager for Rodale in the distribution sales and marketing department.