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Bookstore

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...

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...