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Bookstore

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...

Hachette responds to Amazon’s statement, will discuss compensating authors when terms are reached
May 28, 2014 | 1:28 pm

Last night we got a statement from Amazon in regard to its current squabble with Hachette over contract terms; today we get a (somewhat snarky) statement from Hachette. Digital Book World has posted Hachette’s statement, which I’ll reproduce in full here: It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives. For reasons of their own, Amazon has limited its customers’ ability to buy more than 5,000 Hachette titles. Authors, with whom we at Hachette have been partners for nearly two centuries, engage in a complex and difficult...

Two fingers to UKIP with “More Bloody Foreigners” event
May 27, 2014 | 10:25 am

BloodyAfter a European election with a surge for the UK Independence Party that showed just how xenophobic the English are prepared to be, a counterblast is being staged at the London Review Bookshop  with a "More Bloody Foreigners" event scheduled for June 11th, featuring four continental European crime writers - Poland's Mariusz Czubaj, Bosnian Andrej Nikolaidis, and Italians Marco Malvaldi and Ben Pastor - supported by their publishers Bitter Lemon Press, Europa Editions, Istros Books, Maclehose Press, and Stork Press, and the Polish Cultural Institute in London. "Located in the heart of Bloomsbury, just a Rosetta Stone’s throw from the British Museum,"...

Sneaking books into bookstores is not a good idea
May 25, 2014 | 10:36 am

Here’s another one from the “probably not a good idea” department. Self-published writer Brendan Leonard had a bright idea: he might see if he could get his book more exposure by planting it in a Barnes & Noble store. All that was necessary for it to ring up was to have an ISBN bar code on it, which it did. He then had the idea to use it as an Instagram promotional gimmick: place books in various stores and post their location to Instagram so people could go buy them. Granted that he was giving money away by giving his...