03 November 2011

Good News about Bookselling, Really, I Mean It, No Kidding!

Want to hear some bad news? Some ankle-wobbling throat-tightening bad thing? Neither do I. Here’s some good news, culled from recent editions of various trade journals in the publishing and bookselling sectors.

From Shelf Awareness, a daily trade online newsletter:

October 7: “A mobile pop-up bookshop shaped like a cat is the result of a second collaboration between arts collective NAM and Numabooks, a group of artists whose medium is the book. The latest incarnation, Numabookcat, will be on display at (their) gallery in Tokyo... For 4200 yen you have a little conversation with the host, who, based on those talks, will select 12 books for you. You will then get one book in the mail for an entire year.”

October 12: Two new bookstores reported opening. Owner Lara Hamilton of The Book Larder on Facebook in Seattle says she wants her cookbooks store “to be a place where people can gather and linger, where if we're not too busy, someone might offer you a cup of tea or something we've been cooking from a book.”

And the former Border’s location in San Francisco’s Stonestown Mall has become an independent bookstore named ODE Books. New owner Martin Carmody saved a ton of money on signage – ODE is three adjacent letters leftover from the old Borders sign. Sort of like the Toyota pickup we saw around Mendocino re-branded TOY.

October 13: Seven former employees of a now-closed Borders Express bookstore in Capitola are in the process of putting together a brand new store named Inklings at the same location in the mall. One of them told Shelf Awareness, “We really want to make a place for the people that come here regularly and just keep doing what we love doing.... They saw how we ran this store, how passionate we were about what we were doing and how much we wanted to keep doing it. They weren't really buying the store. They were buying us.”

In Kansas, Shawnee Books & Toys opened recently at a former Borders. New owner Michelle Ranney had “stayed through the chain's liquidation process, seeing firsthand the effects of a bookstore's closure in a community. Those were the ones that would make you cry: the teenagers that would come in that had been coming to the store for like 10 years and be like, ‘this is my home.’” She added, “I want people to still feel that way. I want kids to grow up here.”

October 17: Nancy Duniho, owner of the The Corner-Stone Bookshop in Plattsburgh NY plans to keep her store open “for the foreseeable future” after discussing the possibility of selling with 15 potential buyers this fall. “I had great encouragement from my clientele all summer long to stay open. They said they didn't want Plattsburgh to be without a bookstore,” Duniho said.

October 21: The Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA celebrates its grand opening tonight with a party featuring music, a poetry reading, and the ‘ringing in’ of the permanent art installation in the children's section. Tomorrow afternoon the store will have a celebration for children that includes story times, visits by storybook characters and more.

Bookselling This Week profiled Broadway Books in Portland, OR, noting that earlier this year, when Borders was closing, some of the bookshop's customers expressed concern for the indie. “People kept asking, ‘Are you going to be alright?’” said Roberta Dyer, co-owner of Broadway Books. “So we felt an honest response was needed.”

They produced a State of the Union address which, in addition to explaining the recent changes in the book industry and what they meant for the store, listed 10 things that the store was doing to remain competitive, and 10 things that customers could do, in turn, to keep Broadway Books alive.

“Oh, we put it everywhere,” said Dyer. “We really wanted to make sure we got the word out. The response was terrific. We wanted to be as transparent as possible. We worked really hard on it and carefully considered every word, so we were really gratified when the response was so strong.”

The response led to what Dyer said has been the shop's “best year ever” and customers are now “more understanding of how our business works... (It’s about) being informed enough to make a decision about where you're shopping or how you're shopping. It empowers people. We're sensing that our customers are smarter about that kind of thing than they used to be.”

I could go on with all this not bad, actually very good, news. I read about things like this almost every day. But we’re out of time and space. On my blog I’ll have links to all this and more. Go booksellers!


Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino CA recently held a community meeting along the lines of Broadway Books and other stores. Their manifesto...

Thanks to the good people at Shelf Awareness for keeping us up on all the news.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More good, well, interesting bookseller news: http://arepreading.tumblr.com/post/12325074726/repsextinction or if that doesn’t work try this: http://bit.ly/toE0Af

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