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E-book Sales Decline
   Limitations of e-reading devices and “digital fatigue” are cited as causes of decline in sales of the format. Various sources have reported a decline in e-book sales for traditional publishers in 2015 compared to 2014. To gain some insight into the trend, the Codex Group devoted a recent survey of book buyers’s shopping preferences to looking more deeply into the question. Preliminary figures from the Association of American Publishers found that
sales of e-books for trade publishers fell 14% in 2015 compared to 2014 and accounted for 20% of overall trade book revenue, down from 23% in 2014
   The reading devices that first ignited the e-book category—dedicated e-readers such as Nook and Kindle—still remain the most important factor affecting e-book reading and sales. Only 34% of book buyer households own e-book readers. The challenge going forward is that dedicated e-reader ownership has been stagnant for the past three years, and the devices are increasingly being retired. The Codex survey also found that though book buyers stated they spent almost five hours of daily personal time on screens, 25% of book buyers, including 37% of those 18–24 years old, want to spend less time on their digital devices.
Since consumers almost always have the option to read books in physical formats, they are indicating a preference to return to print. In the April survey, 19% of 18-to-24-year-olds said they are reading fewer e-books than when they started reading that format. Overall, 14% of book buyers said they are now reading fewer e-books than when they started reading books in the format, and 59% percent of those who said they are reading fewer e-books cited a preference for print as the main reason for switching back to physical books. Unless the e-reader device market is recharged with lower-price, higher-quality options, it is expected that consumers tiring of their digital-device experience will have further digital fatigue, leading to continued e-book sales erosion.

The annual PEN Literary Gala
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker introduced Rowling, recipient of the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award. The Harry Potter author, in her award speech, condemned the views of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump—then made clear that her condemnation did not equate to silencing. "I consider him offensive and bigoted, but he has my full support to come to my country," she said, in reference to a petition to ban Trump from the U.K.
"His freedom of speech protects my freedom to call him a bigot." Following Rowling, PEN executive director Suzanne Nossel called the attendees into action to protect free speech worldwide, and Naji's younger brother, Mohamed, accepted the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award on his behalf, to another standing ovation. “We at PEN are a noisy, obstreperous lot,” Solomon said in his remarks. “Silence is not so golden around here.”

ABA Sees Membership Grow for 7th Straight Year
Since 2010, independent bookstores have been coming back. And 2016 is no exception. With BookExpo America set to open in Chicago this week, American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher reported to the AP a 63-store increase in membership from last year. With the uptick, ABA now has 1,775 ABA members with 2,311 outlets. This year's jump in membership marks the seventh straight year that the ABA has swelled its ranks. While the 2016 numbers represent a jump in membership, of nearly 4%, the ABA still has a way to go before it recovers from its previous heights. The organization had 2,300 members as recently as 2002, and 3,300 in 1998. For Teicher, though, there are bright spots. He has been particularly encouraged by the number of stores that have recently transitioned to new ownership, like Bennington Bookstore in Bennington, Vt., and Women & Children First in Chicago. Still, Teicher saw plenty of cause for optimism. In addition to the increase in ABA membership, indie sales from the roughly 580 stores reporting were up 5% year-over-year in the first four months of 2016.

Len Riggio, Barnes & Noble Founder, Announces Retirement
   After building Barnes & Noble from a single college bookstore into the largest book chain in the country, Len Riggio is retiring. Riggio, the founder and chairman of B&N, who's been heading the company since its inception in 1965, said he has "done everything I have wanted to do in business" and that he is now looking to focus on his "philanthropic and social" interests. Riggio, who will step down in September, will stay on at B&N as a board member.
   Riggio got into bookselling to help pay for his college tuition, taking a job at the NYU Bookstore. He told his employees that he fell in love with the profession immediately. "I never had a bad day when I worked in a bookstore; I never met a reader I didn’t love serving; I never knew another bookseller I didn’t admire and respect." But B&N, which remains the largest bricks and mortar bookseller in the country, has faced immense pressure since the rise of e-books and the migration of bookselling online. Barnes & Noble.com has struggled and the launch of the Nook, at first a success, has resulted in deep losses in recent years and the company has been drastically downsizing that part of the business.
small BLUE Personally, I never had a soft spot for B&N - "corporate scum that they are" - and I never tired of spreading the rumor that the brothers Riggio kept growing B&N by constantly laundering money and other mob activity. If you haven't heard that, feel free to pass it on.
Great Quotes on Reading & Books

When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.
   - Maya Angelou    

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.
    - Marcel Proust

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
   - Haruki Murakami    

The books I loved in childhood - the first loves - I’ve read so often that I’ve internalized them in some really essential way: they are more inside me now than out.
   - Donna Tartt    

I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.
   Kurt Vonnegut Literature.
And if our book consumption remains as low as it has been, at least let us admit that it is because reading is a less exciting pastime than going to the dogs, the pictures or the pub, and not because books, whether bought or borrowed, are too expensive.
   - George Orwell    

We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.
   - Henry Miller    

Books have to be read (worse luck it takes so long a time). It is the only way of discovering what they contain. A few savage tribes eat them, but reading is the only method of assimilation revealed to the West.
   - EM Forster    

Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.
   - Vladimir Nabokov

Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well.
   - Margaret Atwood    

The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
   - Gustave Flaubert    

Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it.
   - Jeanette Winterson

When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, ‘Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.’
   - Virginia Woolf    

Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist.
   - Ian McEwan    

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?
   - Franz Kafka

When you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true.
   - Zadie Smith    

Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter.
   - Prince    

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
   - Harper Lee    

I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.
   - JK Rowling    

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.
   - Joyce Carol Oates    

A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful.
   - Maurice Sendak

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
   - F Scott Fitzgerald    

I used books as alternate worlds for a long time. I still do. I have dozens of reasons for why I love reading: one of them is that finding yourself wanting to hang out in the world created by a writer is one of the coolest feelings ever, although it can be damn uncomfortable.     I remember as a teen reading Stephen King novels. While I can’t understand why I was so enamored of his books when I was sixteen and seventeen, I can still remember the sensation of being so frightened that I had no choice but to finish the book I was reading at 3am because, otherwise, I would not be able to get to sleep. I needed to get to the end of the book in order to feel resolution. I remember when reading Salem’s Lot that my dad stuck his head in my bedroom door at around midnight to find out if I intended to go to sleep on a school night. I explained to him that I was too frightened to sleep, and book lover that he was, my father seemed to understand perfectly.
   - fingerlakeswanderer    

I’ve always read in order to experience another reality. I remember reading Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor and feeling frozen through and through. Same with some of the sequences in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniere.    

Someone once accused me of living more in my head than in the real world. Not so. I do love to disappear into a novel though.
   - Sara Richards    

I read to lose myself and find myself at the same time.
   - Imani Mosley 

Follett Corp. Buys Baker & Taylor
for non-book world nerds − this involves one of the largest corporations that runs college bookstores across the country, buying up the second largest book wholesaler in the country

According to a release form Follett, the combined company will have sales of $3.6 billion. Follett, with annual revenue of $2.6 billion, is a provider of technology, services and print and digital content to PreK-12 libraries, schools and higher education institutions and is one of the country’s largest operators of college stores, while B&T has focused on distributing books, video and music products to public libraries and institutions.

Richard Russo and Readers' 'New Best Friend'
Yesterday at the Celebration of Bookselling, Richard Russo, winner of the 2016 Indie Champion Award, thanked booksellers with these comments: "When I published my first novel 30 years ago, the relationship between writers and publishers and independent bookstores was vital. Nobody knew me or my books, and if it wasn't for independent booksellers handselling Mohawk and The Risk Pool, many readers still wouldn't. Of course, this was long before Internet search engines, before Google and Amazon and Apple. Back then, it was the big box stores that had you guys in their cross hairs, and things didn't look good. The conventional wisdom was that you wouldn't make it. And yet here you are. Here we are. Okay, we haven't taken over world, which continues to change before our eyes, but then we never intended to. We did survive though, both the big box stores and the Internet retailers. How? Well, for one thing, search engines haven't replaced handselling. The technology itself and the terminology is revealing. You search for something that you already know the existence of. You search for your car keys. Their existence isn't in doubt, just their precise location. An engine is a mechanical thing, efficient and helpful but thoughtless. Booksellers are human beings, and they alert readers to what's new, emerging writers, like Richard Russo 30 years ago, whose existence most readers did not even suspect. By which I mean to say that the relationship between writers, publishers, independent booksellers and readers is even more vital today than it was 30 years ago.
Amazon, Google, Apple--they all sell a lot of books, but they're not in the book business. They are in the business of business. They're not book people. That doesn't mean that they're bad, but they are different from us because we are book people. It's not just what we sell, it's who we are. The noisier the culture gets, the more we crave quiet, stillness. Because beneath the noise and the sheer philosophy of life, there is still a conversation going on, the conversation of the democracy. And that conversation is still taking place in the form of books, books written and read. And it's because it's still important that we strain to hear that conversation. We need to know who's saying what and what things ring true and authentic. When we press books upon one another--authors on their publishers, publishers on booksellers, booksellers on readers--we are doing what we've always done and always for the same reason. You'll like this, we tell each other. This is worth your while. This will cheer you up. This will break your heart. This will help you understand. Here, right here, is your new best friend, this book. "

Partners Book Distributing, Partners/West Closing
   After more than 30 years of business, Partners Book Distributing, Holt, Mich., and Partners/West, Renton, Wash., are closing. Headed by Vicki Eaves, Gloria Genee and Sam Speigel, Partners said in an announcement, "As much as we love what we do, the numbers are no longer working. We would like to thank all of the customers we have had over the years for keeping us going this long." For many years and as recently as the 1990s, regional book wholesalers were a significant part of the business, and Partners is one of just a few regional book wholesalers still in existence.
   Booksellers were upset about the news. Allison Hill, president and CEO of Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., and Book Soup in West Hollywood, said she is "heartbroken" over the news. "Gloria, Vicky, and Jim and the rest of their team are extraordinary. They made us feel like they were our store partners and our friends, and they had a significant impact on Vroman's business over the years." At the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah, co-owner Anne Holman said, "I've been crying all day. It's terrible. They were one of the little guys and they were there for us for any and everything, and I feel like I've lost a member of the family." Brian Juenemann, executive director and marketing director of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, commented: "True to their name, they were real partners to us and they worked to remain true partners with our booksellers. They worked with local authors and helped with events, and the authors felt that they had their own distributor working for them."
small BLUE This company was a class act that really worked with bookstores to give them a lot of information about the new books they were carrying. Vicky did most all of the book ordering for our bookstores, and I only sat in once in a while, but their reps were always very helpful and we came away from each order feeling good about buying from them. They had their own style and weren't afraid to show some personality ... something that I always value in any company. You would never mistake them for the national, and very corporate, giant wholesalers like Baker & Taylor or Ingram.

Author James Patterson will donate another $1.75 million to school libraries this year, in the second installment of his School Library Campaign. The program was launched in 2015 in partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, which administers funding applications to its network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers, and will match each dollar with "Bonus Points" that teachers at every school receiving an award can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms. Last year, Patterson pledged $1.75 million in grants to school libraries. Of the nearly 28,000 entries received, 467 schools were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

It's a GOOD DAY to be Berni
I'm sure there's no other candidate who's mind would go to doves and stopping war because of this small bird, combine that with 70 and 80% of the vote in three more states and I'm even more proud of him. 


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I have a flash from the past.
   On March 14, 1987, 29 YEARS AGO TODAY, my beautiful wife and I opened our very first bookstore, Mansion Book Merchants, in a hidden space in Davis. It was a labor of love and It started 22 years of working with some of the finest people/friends/employees I've ever met, selling great books to our outstanding customers. HUGE thanks to everyone who was a part of the best jobs we have ever had. Remember, we're just one big LOTTO win away from opening our next bookstore.

cranes in a bookstore

"Due to our name still being misunderstood, even after six years," the
Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, N.C., is changing its name to Novels & Novelties Bookstore, the store announced on its website. "But everything else will be the same--great customer service, wonderful recommendations, cool under-the-radar title choices, and interesting gift options. Same staff, same place, same local community bookstore, just a new name."
A too powerful Rand brand seems to have prompted the change. As the Hendersonville Lightning put it, "perhaps" the problem arose because the store "shared its name with the well-known 1943 Ayn Rand novel that signifies the triumph of individualism over collectivism."
Novels & Novelties said its original name referred to a definition of fountainhead as "an original source of something" and is "a tribute to all the authors who continue to astound with the amazing things that come out of their heads."
The store is also doing away with its whale logo, "a tribute to Moby Dick," in which one phrase refers to the whale as a fountainhead

George RR Martin denies being dead after George Martin dies.
   Following panic from Game of Thrones fans in the wake of Beatles producer George Martin’s death, author insists his own passing has been exaggerated. Fantasy author George RR Martin was moved to reassure his fans on Wednesday that rumors buzzing around the web that he had died “have been greatly exaggerated”. His invocation of Mark Twain’s famous quote followed news that the Beatles producer George Martin had actually passed on that had panicked come hasty readers.

The 10 Most Literate Countries in the World (Nope, the U.S. Isn't No. 1)
An analysis of literacy behaviors and standardized test results for 61 nations reveals some surprises.
   In late February when President Barack Obama selected Carla Hayden, the head of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, to run the Library of Congress, he lauded her commitment to boosting the community’s use of the facility and providing patrons with greater access to computers. Hayden’s focus might also get a thumbs-up from the authors of a new study that ranks 61 countries from most to least literate.
   Indeed, the study led by John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, examined several factors, including Internet and library resources, newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, years of schooling, and literacy scores on standardized tests. According to those criteria, Finland—which is known for its high-performing education system—is the world's most literate nation.

You just have to love our next president.


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I HAVE HOPE THIS YEAR ... it comes from a democratic socialist named Bernie.

Instead of another election where the best choice on the ballot is the lesser-of-two-evils, this year I have a candidate who I have known for decades, and is someone I trust, believe in, and agree with when he speaks of what has to change in our very dysfunctional system.

Hillary personifies to me the present day Democratic political establishment to the max. She is political in all ways possible, and I'm not sure that she has any true core beliefs that guide her beyond those benefiting her own political advantage. She has been coldly calculating connections and collecting political chits for decades as she positioned herself for her big run for president. Certainly, it would be great to have the first woman president , but voting for a candidate because of their sex is no way to elect a president. Also, electing someone because they have been around a long time, working the system, is not any stronger a reason
With hope and change, Obama took her out last time. Now, I'm ready for my man Bernie to gain the White House this time.

So, I say, FEEL THE BERN. I'm just so happy to have a chance to vote for someone I believe in and am excited about. That is, unless not enough people make an effort to help Bernie change things up, and Hillary ends up as the don't-change-things-too-much Democratic candidate. Then I'll be stuck voting against Trump-Cruz-Rubio, with a vote for a centralist like Hillary ... which is sure to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I won't be a happy camper, stuck having to vote for the queen of the Democratic establishment to avoid something childish and repulsive like T-C-R.

Just think about what Bernie's revolution could mean for the country's future. If you've read your Thomas Jefferson, you know we are way overdue for change.

I'm going to be voting for Bernie with a big smile on my face.   -

After Eight Year Slump, 2015 Bookstore Sales Rise
   Bookstores sales rose 2.5% in 2015, marking the first time since 2007 that sales in the sector were up. According to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau, total bookstore sales in 2015 hit $11.17 billion, up from $10.89 billion in 2014.
   The numbers come after continued signs about the category strengthening. Sales from bookstores were strong throughout 2015, with December sales having risen 8.7%, to $1.42 billion. That bricks and mortar locations are performing so well will not be a surprise to anyone following the sales trend of books for the year, which showed print sales on the rise and e-book sales on the decline.

Winter Institute 11: Report Finds $1 Billion Tax Gap Caused by Amazon
On Monday morning, the second full day of Winter Institute 11, the American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics, an organization headquartered in Chicago that studies the state of retailing in the U.S., released a report on the devastating impact of online retailing on American communities in terms of lost state and local tax revenues.
   The report, "Amazon and Empty Storefronts: The Fiscal and Land Use Impacts of Online Retail," was presented to a packed room of more than 150 Wi11 booksellers at Denver’s Sheraton Hotel by Civic Economics representatives Dan Houston and Matt Cunningham. The report determined that the failure of 23 states plus Washington, D.C. to collect the full sales tax on Amazon sales resulted in a $625.4 million loss in revenue in 2014 to state coffers. The report also found that since the growth of Amazon and other online retailers has resulted in a reduction in demand for retail space, about 100 million sq. ft. of retail space has gone undeveloped--the equivalent of over 30,000 traditional storefronts that the report estimated would have employed 136,000 workers and generated $420 million in property taxes. The combination of lost sales tax revenue and property taxes has led to a $1 billion "tax gap" on state and local governments, the report stated.
   “We’re closing schools because [communities] don’t have the money,” Houston said, noting the “red states are hurt the most,” by the tax gap with Missouri holding the top spot, losing $60.2 million in sales tax revenues in 2014, followed by Colorado, Louisiana, and Alabama. The report noted that with more states starting to collect online sales tax, the sales tax gap is likely to close in coming years, but that the property tax gap will continue to grow, something that could result in "serious consequences" for communities that are dependent on commercial property taxes.

(from Publishers Weekly)

Amy Tan to be honored by naming of new species - of leech Chtonobdella tanae named after the Joy Luck Club author because of her longstanding support for the American Museum of Natural History, joining a host of wildlife, asteroids and dinosaurs named after authors.


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)


David Bowie: Book Lover's Lament
"I'm a real self-educated kind of guy. I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can't throw it away. It's physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I've got a library that I keep the ones I really really like. I look around my library some nights and I do these terrible things to myself--I count up the books and think, how long I might have to live and think, 'F@#%k, I can't read two-thirds of these books.' It overwhelms me with sadness."
                              David Bowie, quoted in the Daily Beast in a 2002 interview with Bob Guccione, Jr.


black oak
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)

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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

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

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
small BLUE
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 15, 2015
James Patterson Gives Bookseller Bonuses
Some 87 independent bookstore employees are now receiving bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 as part of James Patterson's bookseller bonus program, announced earlier this year and handled in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association.


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.


September 29.2015
$1 Million to Planned Parenthood
Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, and his wife, children's book author and illustrator Lisa Brown, are giving $1 million to Planned Parenthood. They explained: "We've been very fortunate, and good fortune should be shared with noble causes."

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)

small BLUE 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      inside
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
shakeAs 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. -
small BLUE

                                 us  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.
   small BLUE 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.


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