Notes: Collecting Bookshops; Reading Day & Night
Operating on the theory that "kicking back with a good book can be just as much fun as sightseeing," the Christian Science Monitor's Erin Gehan observed, "Some vacationers collect snow globes or seashells. My family collects bookshops. No, we can't pack a bookshop and display it on a dresser, but when we discover a bookstore that captures the flavor of our destination, we stow the memory like a treasured souvenir." Among the bookstores highlighted in her collection were the Brewster Book Store, Brewster, Mass., and Hamlet's Bookshoppe, Breckenridge, Colo.
Suggesting that "new formats of media don't necessarily replace old, and that some habits don't change as quickly as people think," Fortune magazine reported that the comic book industry is alive and kicking: "At Marvel Entertainment (MVL), the industry's largest player, revenues for its print wares have been growing in double digits for the past three years and profit margins have been running at close to 40%. Plenty of magazine, book or newspaper publishers would put on a mask, cape or even giant bunny ears if that's what it took to generate those kinds of numbers--especially right now."
Fortune added that, with print publications tied to movie blockbusters like last summer's The Dark Knight and Iron Man, "it probably doesn't hurt to be in a corner of the media world that is effectively a duopoly. Indeed, the figures are all the more striking considering that, by most industry estimates, some 60% of comic book sales still take place via one of the most archaic distribution systems in existence: ye olde comic booke shoppe."
Seventeen volunteers participated, and many of them read straight through the night, during the second 24-hour read-a-thon, sponsored by RiverRun and SecondRun bookstores, Portsmouth, N.H., and officially dubbed Great Expectations: A Reading Marathon.
Organizers reported that the volunteers read more than 4,500 pages in books ranging from graphic novels to Sense & Sensibility to sociology texts, and raised more than $700 in pledges to support The Birchtree Center, a nonprofit organization based in Portsmouth that offers educational programs for children and youth with autism.
Other local businesses offered support as well. The Flatbread Company, Breaking New Grounds, Café Espresso and the Fresh Local truck provided refreshments throughout the event. Prizes for literary trivia contests and other games were donated by RiverRun Bookstore, G. Willikers, The Music Hall, Prelude and The Stockpot Restaurant.
"It was fun because we got a lot of books read," Michelle Filgate, RiverRun's events coordinator, told Foster's Daily Democrat, adding that "about 10 independent bookstores nationwide are holding Read-A-Thon fundraisers this month," part of an effort this summer to expand the program across the country (Shelf Awareness, July 16, 2008).
What's your state novel? The Associated Press (via USA Today) reported that the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill last week "naming Moby-Dick the state's official 'epic novel.' That was a compromise after some lawmakers questioned Rep. Christopher Speranzo's proposal to dub Herman Melville's 1851 classic the 'official book,' given the state's rich literary history."
Cory Atkins, a Concord representative, was "appalled" by the choice, indicating that her district has "more authors per square mile than any other. What about Louisa May Alcott? What about (Nathaniel) Hawthorne? How am I going to face my constituents?" she asked.
Joe Wikert has joined O'Reilly Media as general manager, O'Reilly Technology Exchange, which publishes O'Reilly's "animal books" and serve developers and system administrators. Wikert was formerly v-p and executive publisher at John Wiley & Sons for the WROX and Sybex imprtins in the professional/trade division.
In a statement, O'Reilly COO and CFO Laura Baldwin said that Wikert "embodies the innovative, adventurous 'alpha geek' spirit we believe is key to succeeding in today's publishing environment."