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Bookstore

James Patterson gives third round of grants to bookstores
December 16, 2014 | 6:25 pm

James PattersonJames Patterson is at it again. The best-selling author sent another round of donations to independent books stores around the country. This time, he doled out $473,000 to 81 shops in a third round of donations, according to the Associated Press. Patterson has donated more than $1 million since he launched the program a year ago. Initially, Patterson had intended this third round to be the last, but that may not be the case. According to the AP, he will offer more in 2015 along with an “ambitious plan to help school libraries.” The grants were awarded to shops based on proposals....

One of Budapest’s loveliest bookshops: Rózsavölgyi és Társa
December 11, 2014 | 1:00 pm

IMG_20141202_182020 One of Budapest's most fascinating and attractive specialist bookshops, as well as the storefront for one of Hungary's largest music publishers, is Rózsavölgyi és Társa, just off the tourist thoroughfare of Váci utca and a major feature of the Rózsavölgyi House, itself an architectural monument. As the pictures indicate, this is mostly a music bookshop, with possibly the largest selection of sheet music available anywhere in the city. It also sells musical instruments and accessories of all kinds for performing and student musicians, as well as a huge selection of classical CDs and DVDs. However, for visitors and others, it has a big...

Taiwan brings back the bookstore
December 2, 2014 | 2:26 pm

According to a recent report in CNN, Taiwanese bookstore chain Eslite is leading a renaissance of the bricks-and-mortar bookshop on the island, by focusing above all on the social experience of browsing and reading together. The chain facilitates this not only by a totally browser-friendly posture, but also by staying open 24 hours a day in some cases, and with cafes, gift shops, cultural events, and generally every means to make the stores social and cultural hubs as well as book marts. The chain is reportedly turning a healthy profit, fueled substantially by book sales. Barnes & Noble should take...

What would make an Amazon competitor competitive?
October 21, 2014 | 2:25 pm

competitionAs all and sundry go round and round about Amazon/Hachette and the end of author royalties as we know it, I stopped to consider. I believe the eBook marketplace is healthier with competition, even if Amazon is right now a pretty darned good company to do business with. I do not consider B&N, Kobo or Apple to be the ideal competition, although together, they may not be too bad. So, I asked myself, with both my reader and author hats on, what it would take to be a contender in the eBook marketplace. As a reader This was tough because Amazon does...

Amazon to experiment with brick-and-mortar store in New York City
October 9, 2014 | 5:16 pm

Remember when Apple opened its first retail store and everyone thought they were crazy? It’s déjà vu all over again. The Wall Street Journal (article paywalled; google the headline to read) cites the ubiquitous “people familiar with” the matter to reveal that Amazon is opening its first brick-and-mortar store at 7 West 34th St. in New York City, across from the Empire State Building and just a block away from Macy’s at Herald Square, just in time for the holiday season. The store space could be used for same-day delivery in New York City, returns and exchanges, order...

HarperCollins offers authors higher royalties for direct sales
October 2, 2014 | 6:17 pm

harper-collinsOne of the rallying cries of author advocates and Amazon adversaries alike has been that publishers should start selling their books direct to the public instead of letting middle-man Amazon have so much power. Another rallying cry is that publishers should pay authors bigger royalties. Well, Publishers Weekly reports that HarperCollins is combining those two suggestions, in a way—it’s offering authors an additional 10% royalty rate if they use an affiliate link on their web site to sell their book, e-book, or audiobook from HC’s direct sale site. (The PW article isn’t clear on the math; I’m assuming this means...

Why Are We Still Missing Out on Book Bundling Opportunities?
October 2, 2014 | 3:12 pm

art booksI saw a specialty display at Indigo the other day which sucked me right in: art books. I have always aspired to have skills in this area and never felt like I really did. The featured book of this display was on a technique calling 'zentangling' which promised success for everyone: it's just small doodles or patterns, repeated in miniature many times over. The finished designs are surprisingly slick-looking, and I coveted the book, going back to look at it several times, before pulling the trigger. I'm happy with my purchase, and feel that this is exactly the sort of book...

Amazon’s e-book position ‘weak’ but customer focus too strong for disruption
August 11, 2014 | 4:35 am

Here’s a couple of interesting takes on the Amazon/Hachette affair. It’s kind of refreshing, actually, after all this back and forth he-said/she-said of authors in favor of Amazon or Hachette and Amazon and Hachette themselves to look at what more neutral parties are saying. For starters, here’s Jake Kerr on Medium.com suggesting that Amazon is fighting so hard for lower prices on e-books because, far from being the monopolistic behemoth others accuse it of, its position in the e-book trade is actually fairly weak. This seems a little counterintuitive at first, but Kerr points out that e-book stores have...

The good news and bad news about Indigo Books rising star
August 6, 2014 | 2:22 pm

Indigo booksPublishers Weekly is reporting today that Indigo Books--Canada's version of Barnes & Noble--has had a strong first quarter, posting a 5.4% growth in revenue. That's good news, during this time of Bookpocalypse, no? Growth for a bookstore chain! Even in a year when they closed seven outlets! Death to Amazon, book lovers unite! Right? Or, not. Good news through the growth might be, the pundits at PW attribute the growth to the recent installation of Canada's first American Girl boutiques at two of the retail stores. One of these stores in a mall I go to regularly, and I can attest that...

Toronto’s last French-language book shop is going out of business
July 26, 2014 | 10:34 am

book shopVia Torontoist comes this sad news: Toronto's last French-language book shop is going out of business. From the article: "For 10 years, Maison de la Presse Internationale has been offering patrons a wide selection of both international magazines and French-language titles from its home at 99 Yorkville Avenue. After long-established French-language bookstore Librairie Champlain closed in 2009, Maison de la Presse became the only place in the city readers could go to browse an extensive collection of French-language titles..." But, as with the closing of another local niche bookstore---The Cookbook Store, which closed in March---don't be so quick to blame Amazon for...

Alice Munro’s ex-husband gives away the store, hands Munro’s Books to staff
July 15, 2014 | 1:20 pm

Here's a good and positive story for these days of doomsaying and handwringing over the fortunes of bookstores. Munro's Books in Victoria, British Columbia, founded in 1963 by Jim Munro and his then wife, Nobel laureate Alice Munro, is passing into the hands of its staff on the retirement of its founder. The thriving institution, "Canada's most magnificent bookstore," has been at its present 1108 Government Street premises since 1984, in a 1909 neo-classical building originally designed for the Royal Bank of Canada. Jim Munro, now 84, will hand the store over to four senior employees on his retirement in September,...

Reinventing the Bookstore
July 7, 2014 | 6:25 pm

bookstoreThanks to Nate at The Digital Reader for his fascinating recap of an article from a magazine called 'More Intelligent Life' which offers a series of concepts for reinventing the physical bookstore. The concepts had some interesting ideas in them, such as customizable reading areas, and book displays elevated to high art. Some of the ideas are not terribly practical though, and I'm not sure how they could be realistically implemented into the bookstore of today. So, assuming that your goal is a) to keep the retail floor space actually profitable and b) to do so in an actually manageable and...