|home | site map | reviews | bookstore traveler | book awards 24books.org|
| Links to other news & information: |
— book awards news
— BLOG ARCHIVE - more recent past
— BLOG ARCHIVE - oldest past
Sorry, I am just starting to catch up with some of the book news that's come out since I lost the use of my laptop for several weeks. - John
The Story Prize Announces Three Finalists
There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter,
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson,
Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann.
The Story Prize, now in its 12th year, recognizes outstanding short story collections. The winner will be announced at the Story Prize’s annual award event in New York City on March 2. The winner will be presented with $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl. The two runners-up will each receive $5,000.
James Patterson donates £10,000 to flood-hit UK bookshops
Bestselling writer James Patterson gave £5,000 each to the Book Case in Hebden Bridge and the New Bookshop in Cockermouth.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Reading. - the late, great David Bowie
(from the August 1998 issue of Vanity Fair - Proust Questionnaire)
Black Oak Books to Close
Gary Cornell, who brought Black Oak Books in Berkeley back from the brink of closing in the mid-Aughts, said today that he will shutter the new and used bookstore by the end of January. Cornell first bought the store in 2007 or 2008, he said, from the previous owners who were struggling to adapt to the internet age of book selling and had racked up debt with the IRS. “When they got into trouble, I wanted to rescue it,” Cornell said. “But at some point, you have to say enough is enough.”
He initially operated the store at its existing location on Shattuck Avenue but said it didn’t generate enough sales to make the rent his landlord wanted. Cornell purchased a building on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, hoping the area would turn into the next Temescal, and moved the store there in 2009. Although sales did increase slightly after the store moved and went up marginally this past year, Cornell said the bookstore never generated enough foot traffic to cover costs. Though he said he didn't take a salary or expect to have the store pay for its rent, he was still having to subsidize the business to keep it open. “Bookstores are low margin businesses. You need a lot of sales, you need a lot of foot traffic,” Cornell said. “We just weren’t getting it.”
Black Oak Books follows Shakespeare & Co., a used bookstore that had operated in Berkeley for 51 years before closing in June. Although the brick-and-mortar location will be gone, Cornell said the store will still have an online presence. He found a space in El Cerrito to keep what’s left of the inventory and said he would consider reopening the store if he found the right location. He already has a tenant lined up for the San Pablo Avenue location.
The store is discounting books by 40 percent throughout this month, Cornell said. He’s hoping to get rid of most of his inventory by the end of the month when the doors close to the public.
Print Book Sales Up Again in 2015
Unit sales of print books rose 2.8% in 2015 over the previous year, following a 2.4% increase in 2014.
Unit sales of print books from outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan increased 2.8% in 2015 over 2014, marking the second consecutive year that print units posted annual gains. In 2014, unit sales increased 2.4% over 2013; in 2015 unit sales were up 5.3% over 2013. Total units sold topped 652 million in 2015 at outlets that report to BookScan, which captures about 80% of print unit sales in the U.S.
(from Publishers Weekly)
Let's see, how does that compare to all those bogus Print is Dead headlines? As a bookseller of many years, I'm smiling.
Bestselling Books of 2015
Nielsen BookScan Adult Fiction
1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - unit sales: 1,599,189
2. Grey by E.L. James - 1,406,868
3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - 1,345,721
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - 1,013,616
5. The Martian (trade edition) by Andy Weir - 673,041
6. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham - 576,362
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 563,293
8. See Me by Nicholas Sparks - 445,531
9. Gray Mountain by John Grisham - 365,392
10. The Nightingale by Kristin - 331,384
11. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King - 322,298
12. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz - 305,929
13 .The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - 296,641
Nielsen BookScan Adult Nonfiction
1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - 1,143,422
2. Killing Reagan by O’Reilly/Dugard - Sales: 851,980
3. American Sniper (trade edition) by Chris Kyle - 851,457
4. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond - 569,925
5. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young - Sales: 545,217
6. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown - 532,082
7. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath - 528,506
8. Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford - 492,684
9. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough - 443,801
10. American Sniper (mass market edition) by Chris Kyle - 354,536
December 31, 2015
Here's a little state pride from my online alumni magazine, Dateline UVM
UVM stands for the University of Vermont. − John
Vermont Ranked No. 1 Among Top Peace Corps-Producing States
The Peace Corps announced on December 8 that for the third straight year, Vermont ranks No. 1 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita. Fifty-two residents of the Green Mountain State are currently serving worldwide in the Peace Corps, with a ratio that also represents 8.3 volunteers for every 100,000 residents, the highest per capita rate in the nation.
December 22, 2015
Books are steadily increasing in size, according to a survey that has found the average number of pages has grown by 25% over the last 15 years.
A study of more than 2,500 books appearing on New York Times bestseller and notable books lists and Google’s annual survey of the most discussed books reveals that the average length has increased from 320 pages in 1999 to 400 pages in 2014.
(read the whole article from The Guardian)
September 30, 2015
The Folio Prize will not run in March 2016, following the conclusion of its two-year title sponsorship by The Folio Society with this year's award.
A statement on the prize website has confirmed: "As we continue our work to secure a new sponsor for the Folio Prize, we have decided not to run a prize in March 2016. Instead, we are concentrating our resources on another promising development for the spring, while at the same time exploring how the prize might best fulfill its aim of bringing great books to readers in the future.
"We passionately believe there remains a place for a prize that is, uniquely, run by writers, and we intend to return with a full-scale prize in 2017."
Folio Prize founder Andrew Kidd confirmed that news on the spring 2016 development would come within the next few weeks.
The Prize, open to all works of fiction written in English and published in the UK, is judged by members of the Folio Academy, an international group of writers and critics.
August 13, 2015
Joan on the $10 bill
Getting a jump on the proposed redesign of the $10 bill to feature a woman's image, Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., has launched "a social media campaign in the hopes the U.S. Department of the Treasury will select Joan Didion," the Hollywood Reporter wrote. Rob Bieselin, a graphic designer at Book Soup, initially debuted the idea on the store's sidewalk chalkboard. When "customers responded enthusiastically, Bieselin substituted a publicity photo of Didion for Hamilton, printed a 4-foot-long poster of the redesigned bill and hung it in the front window," THR noted. Book Soup is also giving away the Didion-adorned $10 bills with each book purchase.
September 1, 2015 ... a little VERMONT NEWS
Chard deNiord named New Vermont Poet Laureate
Chard deNiord has been appointed Vermont poet laureate, succeeding Sydney Lea, who was named to the post in 2011. Seven Days reported that one of his goals "is to break down the walls of fear and intimidation many people feel toward poetry. Instead, he wants to help Vermonters, especially young people, to hear and appreciate poetry as 'essential language' that need not be reserved for weddings, funerals and other special occasions." His installation as state poet takes place November 2 in a ceremony at the Vermont Statehouse.
"I was stunned and humbled by this. I didn't expect it at all," said deNiord, a co-founder of the New England College MFA program in poetry. His books include poetry collections Interstate, Asleep in the Fire, Sharp Golden Thorn, Night Mowing and The Double Truth, as well as a collection of interviews with various American poets titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs.
DeNiord "joins an exclusive club," Seven Days noted. Vermont's first poet laureate, Robert Frost, was appointed in 1961 and served until 1963, after which there was a long gap until Galway Kinnell was named poet laureate in 1989. Since then, Louise Glück, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Grace Paley, Ruth Stone and Lea have held the position.
June 9, 2015
NCIBA Executive Director Hut Landon to Retire
Hut Landon, the longtime executive director for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, announced last week his plan to retire by the end of the year.
In a letter to NCIBA members, Landon explained that he has not tired of the book business. “What I am is a newly minted 65-year-old with a yen to spend more time at home and traveling with my wife, Joy,” he wrote.
Since his announcement went out, “I have been overwhelmed, frankly, by the number of people who have taken the time to write to wish me well. It’s very gratifying and humbling,” said Landon.
The NCIBA board has appointed a search committee to find Landon’s successor prior to the Fall Discovery Show, which will take place October 15–16 in San Francisco. Landon will serve on the committee and said he will stay with NCIBA as long as necessary to train his successor and ease the transition.
Landon noted he would be interested in working part-time in a bookstore once he steps down from his post, and invited suggestions for book-related projects. “I’m not off to a retirement home, and I still want to work, but I’d also like the freedom to take a trip, spend more time with friends and family, exercise every day, and, every once in a while, just do nothing,” he said.
“Hut has provided extraordinary leadership for NCIBA, and he is very highly regarded by all the regional associations around the country for his many, many contributions to indie bookselling, not the least of which is Independent Bookstore Day,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “I’ve had the honor of working with Hut for almost 25 years, and, speaking for myself and all us at ABA, we will miss him a great deal.”
A longtime fixture in the bookselling community of Northern California, Landon became a bookstore owner in 1984 when he and his sister purchased a shop in Novato, California, naming it Landon Books. They later bought a second store in Marin County and closed the Novato location.
Landon served on the NCIBA board as a bookseller for 10 years before becoming part-time assistant director. He closed Landon Books when he became executive director of NCIBA in 1999.
As executive director, Landon has been integral in supporting the growing independent bookselling community in the region, introducing programs such as Book Sense, which later became IndieBound, and playing a key role in developing California Bookstore Day in 2014 and Independent Bookstore Day in 2015. Landon also co-founded and served as executive director of the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance.
(info from Bookselling This Week)
It's sad when someone who is really good at their job, someone who many people have come to depend on, decides to move on in their life. Of course, this sadness is a purely selfish feeling, because you also should be happy for the person who is moving on, for all the new excitements in their life. Hut was a person that Vicky and I had a little contact every year we had a bookstore. We counted on him for a warm greeting, the latest in bookselling/publishing news, and answers to any question we might throw at him.
Often, whatever a question might be:
What's that new program from the NCIBA?
Who might know how to get a certain author into our bookstore?
Where might we find a job post-bookstore-ownership?
Is that last nasty Amazon rumor, true? .............................................. The answer was, "LET'S ASK HUT."
He will be greatly missed by a vast multitude of people, and we all hope him the very best. Thanks for everything,
June 8, 2015
Books Inc. opens in North Berkeley after move
Books Inc. shut down its smaller store on Fourth Street to move to 1491 Shattuck Ave., the former location of another independent bookstore, Black Oak Books, which closed in 2009. (Black Oak is now at 2618 San Pablo. Ave.)
“This space is bigger, which is very helpful to us,” the store's manager said. “It allows us to expand our book and magazine selection, especially children’s books and cookbooks.”
Baker did say that “a lot of people miss Black Oak Books.” Black Oak moved out of the Shattuck location six years ago as a result of financial struggles.
In a case of bittersweet timing, Books Inc’s opening comes just five days after the city’s oldest operating bookstore, Shakespeare & Co., shut down permanently. Its owner, Jon Wobber, also cited an inability to make money as the reason for the closure.
The Books Inc move was initially scheduled for February, Baker said, but was delayed as Books Inc. waited for its construction permit. Books Inc., which became the company as we know it today in 1946, has a total of 11 bookstores in the Bay Area.
The new store is bigger than the Fourth Street one which means it is expanding its book and magazine selection, especially children’s books and cookbooks, according to manager Schyler Baker.
(see full article from Berkeleyside)
June 6, 2015
James Patterson Making Bookstore Grants in Australia, New Zealand
As he did in the U.S. and U.K., author James Patterson is making grants to bookstores in Australia and New Zealand to spend on initiatives to encourage children to read. The grants, which he announced yesterday in Sydney, total $78,700; stores can receive as much as $3,936 each.
"I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received from bookstores in the U.K. and the U.S.," Patterson said. "And I have been thrilled to see the real difference that these grants have already started to make. I can't wait to see the proposals from Australian and New Zealand bookstores."
"This is great news for an industry that is already seeing significant growth in sales for younger readers," said Joel Becker, chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association. "Along with James, we celebrate the role that bookshops have in communities throughout Australia. We are excited about the opportunity that these grants will provide for bookshops to reach out to new audiences, and to develop ideas and programs that encourage young people to engage with the world of books and reading. Our members will take up this opportunity with a gusto that will knock your socks off!"
Ali Smith wins Baileys prize with How to Be Both
Weaving together the stories of a teenage girl in modern-day Cambridge and a 15th-century Italian artist, Ali Smith’s How to Be Both has won the Baileys women’s prize for fiction, with chair of judges Shami Chakrabarti describing it as a work that will still be read in 100 years. The prize is worth £30,000, or about $45,955 American.
Berkeley's. Shakespeare & Co. Books Closes
As of today, intrepid readers looking to scour real life bookshelves for a new tome or tract have one less vendor in Berkeley. Shakespeare & Co. Books, which opened on Telegraph Avenue in 1964, has closed without formal announcement.
The owner wasn't immediately available for comment, but an employee said that yesterday representatives from Portland's Powell's Books, made Shakespeare an offer on the entirety of its stock. "They came in, looked around for a couple of hours, and said, 'We'll take it all,'" the employee said. He didn't specify terms but indicated that the offer was unexpectedly robust. "At that moment," he continued, "we had to the close the doors."
2499 Telegraph Ave., the parcel where Shakespeare has sold books for over fifty years, was sold late last year to Telegraph Partners LLC. The structure is in need of significant renovations. To properly upgrade the site, it was explained, Shakespeare would be forced to close for three to nine months. The company, wary of whether or not it could sustain the prolonged lull in sales, not to mention the herculean task of boxing up the entire stock during construction, reached out to Powell's.
Books Inc. Opening Santa Clara, California, Store Next Year
In July 2016, Books Inc., which has 11 stores in the Bay Area in California, is opening a 4,000-square-foot location in Santa Clara Square in Santa Clara, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Irvine Company is currently building the development, which will include retail, offices and condos, and is on the 101 Freeway, close to Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco '49ers. Books Inc. had a location in nearby San Jose that closed in the mid-1990s when a Barnes & Noble opened a block away. Later, a Borders opened in the spot Books Inc. vacated. "We are excited to return to the community we served for so many years," Books Inc. co-owner and CEO Michael Tucker said.
Santa Barbara's Granada Books Closing in May
Granada Books, Santa Barbara, Calif., which launched a crowdfunding campaign last month to stay in business, announced Tuesday that it will close in May "despite the remarkable, amazing, heartfelt, and overwhelmingly generous giving from our community." Slightly more than $20,000 was contributed; the store had wanted to raise $50,000 by the end of March.
On a personal note, when this store was first announced, Vicky and me both applied for the management positions at this bookstore, filled out a brutally long application ... and were never called. What if?? Two years was a short time for a bookstore to go down. One of our former employees worked for for Granada for a while. It's a tough world out there. - John
We make such a nice couple.
Just a thought, just a suggestion ... whenever you can not explain anything, try the following phrase.
It must be the asparagus.
It works for me. You're welcome.
Another day in the East Bay, and I found myself in another bookstore. Today it was the Books Inc. down on 4th Street in Berkeley ... which will be closing at the end of February and reopening in March on Shattuck Avenue, in the old Black Oak Books space. So, there I was looking for some more fiction and I came away with The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland ... which shows great promise.
The following is a glimpse into how my mind works. The title caught my eye, I check out the blurbs and back cover, where I learn that the storyline is a flash to the past, the main character works for a newspaper and creates a written transcript using tapes and phone calls from reporters on the phone. But the sample that got my wallet out was the following:
She walks to the window, where the sudden opening of the blinds startles the pigeon.
"Jump," she says. She struggles to raise the window so that the bird can hear her better. Stuck. She bangs it with her hand. Finally it opens and she leans out. "Jump! You're a bird. Go on."
He puts his claw down in defiance and looks at her with pigeon eyes.
"It's not lice, is it, pigeon? A case of OCD, maybe?"
And I was sold.
I had a little time for book browsing in the rich stacks of Moe's Books, and I came away with a couple of good finds. First, I didn't even know it was out, but I'm now the proud owner of a quality book from Counterpoint Press - Our Only World, a collection of ten essays by the always thought-provoking Wendell Berry. I find myself already half way through the Berry essays, and I love the way this man's mind works, even when I don't at first agree with him, his writing is so kind and intelligent that I love to go along with him for the ride. He has lot to say, is very opinionated, but he's always a gentleman and will takes you through the logical steps of his thought process.
Up second, was an unknown find by Percival Everett, Virgil Russell. Its covers haven't been opened yet, and it remains an unknown element in my traveling library.
Literary Cups Again at Chipotle
Eight months after author Jonathan Safran Foer turned his mid-burrito boredom into a series of stories for Chipotle cups and to-go bags (by the likes of himself, Toni Morrison, Michael Lewis, and George Saunders), he’s at it again. The fast-casual burrito chain on Tuesday announced a new slate of authors for its beverage cups and packaging. Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors), Julia Alvarez (In the Time of Butterflies), Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist), and Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible) are among the new additions.
former BLOG & news items
BLOG ARCHIVE - more recent past
BLOG ARCHIVE - oldest past
home | blog | site map | reviews | bookstore traveler | book awards "to the top"