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Bookstore

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...

James Patterson buys good karma, wants you to know it
June 25, 2014 | 6:25 pm

James PattersonJames Patterson is in the news again - correction, James Patterson has bought himself a slot in the news again. And he wants you to know he's a giver. He's given more on top of what he gave before. He adores your bookstores. And he wants them to love him too. I know it's been hard. I know it's been cruel. I know you've counted the long dark empty days without a single James Patterson announcement or photo or headline in your favorite media. I know your newspaper ad pages have been dreary wildernesses without his unforgettable features or peerless words....

What does your ideal bookstore look like?
June 19, 2014 | 2:25 pm

ideal bookstoreBook Riot's charming 'Reading Lives' recently series posed this question: what does your ideal bookstore look like? Author Susie Rodarme enumerated her desired features: spacious design, large selection of small press books, comfortable seating, nighttime hours, recommendations sprinkled all over the store... It had me thinking back to my book-loving childhood, where I often dreamed about this very question. And my answer always came down to one thing: more books, more books, more books! And...I hate to turn this into one of those tiresome 'us vs them' print vs ebook debates, but...well, my dream has at last been realized. The ebook...

Authors lost the book war long before Amazon vs. Hachette
June 19, 2014 | 12:28 pm

publishersI meant to cover this piece from The Weeklings when it popped up on The Passive Voice the other day. To my surprise, it’s reprinted on the normally rabid pro-publisher/anti-Amazon Salon Magazine this morning, so I guess I have no excuse now. In this article, J.E. Fishman traces authorial woes all the way back to the 1930s when Penguin began to flood the market with cheap paperbacks. This kicked off a paperback revolution among US publishers. Through all of this disruption no one asked authors what they thought. When it came to business, authors were...

Waterstones has an unusual customer
June 3, 2014 | 5:46 pm

Origin 632014 54248 PM.bmpSay what you will about Waterstones, they’ve got a sense of humor. First it was their plan to counter Amazon’ drones with a trained owl delivery service. Now a friend just directed me to this Storify tale about what happens when a customer reads aloud from the wrong book. (Granted, the tale is about 8 months old, but it’s still funny.) I have to admit, the Elder God probably wouldn’t have been able to get as personalized service from Amazon. That’s what gives these bookstores their competitive advantage right now....

Robinson-Patman, Amazon, the publishers, and the ABA: Where’s the lawsuit? (Updated)
June 3, 2014 | 3:16 pm

Two different op-eds have popped up on CNN and Al Jazeera suggesting that Amazon, big bully that it is in the Hachette negotiation, needs to be taken down a peg under the Robinson-Patman Act. (If you didn’t hear a raspy voice say “I’m Patman” when I mentioned the name of that law, I’m pretty sure you did just now.) Robinson-Patman is an anti-predatory-pricing regulation that’s on the books dating back to the ‘30s, intended to prevent businesses from charging different prices in different towns to undercut local competition, or from using their size to bully suppliers into giving...

Redesigning the small bookstore
June 2, 2014 | 3:35 pm

books1What would the bookstore of the future look like? The Economist’s Intelligent Life magazine asked four Commonwealth architecture firms to come up with their futuristic vision for a small High Street bookshop with two floors of 1,000 square feet each, and a limited budget of £100,000 (about $168,000) to make all the improvements. The visions they came up with are certainly interesting. They differ in details, but they all agree that it’s not just a matter of moving furniture around to make it look nice. They need to redefine the bookstore’s business model, and then design a space to...

Hachette vs. Amazon: Big publishers messed up, small publishers rejoice, investors beware, and ordinary people don’t care
June 2, 2014 | 1:08 pm

Late-night comedy hosts and political radio pundits love Presidential elections. No matter who wins, they’re guaranteed four more years of great material. I feel kind of the same way about the Amazon/Hachette spat currently going on. There are so many great articles coming out, and I am desperately trying to resist the temptation to blog them all! Let’s see here: the Minneapolis StarTribune has an interesting story about public reactions to the Amazon-Hachette spat at BookExpo. As might be expected, the reaction by the general public was generally positive toward Amazon and “Huh? Who’s that?” toward Hachette. Most attendees...

Publishers, Amazon, and competition: Three points of view
June 1, 2014 | 11:00 am

There’s a theme in the triad of Amazon/Hachette articles I found this morning, and the theme is…competition. First of all, here’s a rare op ed in favor of Amazon that originally appeared in CNN’s “Fortune” section. (Though it seems to have vanished from there; the link no longer works and the author reposted it on his own blog.) Len Sherman rebuts an earlier anti-Amazon piece by Adam Lashinsky and argues that Hachette’s background as an illegal colluder suggests it is more interested in keeping prices high, whereas Amazon wants to keep them lower for consumers. ...

Not everyone has a local bookstore, nor should they have to
May 30, 2014 | 12:14 pm

img_1118 People like to talk about the importance of buying books in a local independent bookstore to help keep local independent bookstore culture alive—especially now that the mud is flying around about Amazon and Hachette squabbling with each other. Rather than support a bully, the thinking goes, you should buy books from a local instead. But as Kelly Jensen notes in BookRiot, that’s often not possible. It may even smack of “privilege.” Not all readers have access to brick and mortar stores. Not all readers have the capability to walk to their local indie...