Notes: A Rare Shop; Charlotte Bookstores and the Economy
Dragon Books, Bel Air, Calif., is "the kind of place you'd never expect to find in a strip mall--a lavishly decorated, uniquely-stocked rare books store," according to the Examiner. "Whether you're a collector looking to add to your stash or simply curious to see what a bookstore not named Borders or Barnes & Noble looks like, Dragon Books is an unexpected and inspirational experience."
Charlotte Creative Loafing sounded out booksellers in the North Carolina city about the current business climate and found that while they are struggling, those offering used books are faring somewhat better.
David Friese, co-owner of the Bookmark, said business is "crummy, and that's putting it mildly. . . . Things have to turn around. They might not have to turn around tomorrow, but they have to turn around soon. We certainly can't hold out for two more years. I don't know if we can hold out a year."
"These are the toughest economic times I've ever been through," said Sally Brewster, co-owner of Park Road Books. "It was a little rough after 9/11, but nothing like what's happened this time around, because this affected every aspect of the industry. The credit crunch has hit everybody." Brewster, who has hired an additional staff person for the holiday season, believes great service will help the shop succeed: "At our store, you know that people have selected the books, they know the books, and they're more than willing to give recommendations. Sometimes you have to shut us up, in fact. We're not just clerks ringing up an item." She also offered high praise for the city, saying, "Charlotte's been wonderful to us, and we want to stay here."
For used booksellers, however, the news is a bit less dire. "When times get a little hard, people come here rather than going to Borders," said Richard Rathers of Book Buyers. "So we're almost recession-proof. I've heard that, and our sales basically support that."
Operating on the theory that "reading a book starts with a single page," Charles Chatmon is chasing his dream of opening a bookshop by taking his mobile bookstore to the farmers market in downtown Vallejo, Calif., every Saturday, the Times-Herald reported.
"We want a permanent space for book discussions and workshops," said Chatmon, "We just want it to be exciting in Vallejo."
Barnes & Noble has signed a lease agreement to open a new location, in the Christiana Mall in Newark, Del. The store is expected to open in November 2009.
The art of naming your celebrity child:
Seen by intrepid reporter Jenn Risko: in the US magazine with President-elect Obama and his wife on the cover, "the new celeb baby name of the week" is Enzo.
Congratulations to the parents--and Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, Enzo's story.
A "huge election bounce" has given President-elect Barack Obama's two books new life on the bestseller lists, according to USA Today, which reported that "Brookings Institution analyst Stephen Hess can't think of another president-elect to hit the bestseller list."
"Obama's books, especially his memoir, stand apart," said Hess. "Books by candidates usually have a short political life, not a literary life."
USA Today's bestseller list, which will be published in Thursday's edition, shows:
- The Audacity of Hope, his 2006 book on politics and faith, is No. 8, up from No. 43.
- Dreams From My Father, Obama's 1995 memoir, reissued in 2004, is No. 9, up from No. 56.