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WORTHLESS - Judge: Borders Gift Card Holders Hold Worthless Cards
In the category of "isn't it over yet?" yesterday, a federal district court judge in New York upheld a ruling by the Borders bankruptcy case judge that the holders of 17.7 million gift cards worth an estimated $210.5 million--all unredeemed when Borders closed in 2011--are owed nothing.
According to Reuters, Judge Andrew Carter said allowing cardholders to try to recover money from Borders would upset the liquidation plan that is "substantially" completed.
(from Shelf Awareness)
Modern Times Bookstore Collective Seeks Support
Faced with an estimated debt of $100,000, San Francisco's landmark Modern Times Bookstore Collective members "told supporters at a meeting last week that the 41-year-old bookstore may have to close its doors in September," Mission Local reported. The collective's members "are asking for a skilled base of volunteers including lawyers, marketing and PR experts, and fundraising professionals who can help to shape future plans and develop alternative revenue sources such as online sales." They also discussed the possibility of a crowd funding campaign.
"We all know that we can't just sell books," said Lex Non Scripta, the collective's event planner. "We have to look at other ways to sustain the stores, like programing events or having cafes. We are all looking to a long-time sustainability plan."
Staff member Travis Culley said the meeting was "necessary, overdue and exciting because something must change. Who knows what shape [it] will take? But there's enough spirit to help, sustain and survive even the most complicated situation."
Stephen King Publishing Joyland in Print Only
Reverse course! Stephen King, who in 2000 surprised the industry by making his novella Riding the Bullet available only as an e-book, will now offer his new novel, Joyland, only in a print edition, the Wall Street Journal reported.
King has kept the book's digital rights, saying, "I have no plans for a digital version. Maybe at some point, but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one."
King has supported independent bookstores before. In 1994, he famously did an independent bookstore tour from coast to coast, traveling via motorcycle, for his novel Insomnia.
"Part of the reason he publishes with us is to support our authors but I also think he enjoys the pulp presentation," his publisher, Charles Ardai told the Journal.
In another interesting King twist, this fall Scribner is publishing Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining.
NICE WORK - Image of the Day: 'Tom Chalk'
On his website SneezingCow.com, Michael Perry, author most recently of Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace, shared a special visual treat that greeted him at his reading Monday: "What I saw when I arrived at the event last night. Thank you Weyenberg Library, and thank you Nick of Boswell Books (Nick did the chalk)."
This is an old, and very interesting item that I saved from Shelf Awareness, from sometime last year.
Pete Townshend: Acquisitions Editor Was 'Best Job I Ever Had'
"Are you kidding? That was the best job I ever had. I had lunch with the old chairman, Matthew Evans, this week, and we both went dewy-eyed about the old days. He's in the House of Lords trying to stay awake, and I'm pounding stages like an aging clown. I loved the way the Faber editorial committee was driven as much by gossip and rumor as ideas. It was fun. Not what you expect in such an esteemed publishing house."
— The Who's Pete Townshend, author of Who I Am: A Memoir, in a New York Times interview where he recalled working as an acquisitions editor at Faber & Faber.
Such a great line!
For the book Woke Up Lonely, an endorsement from Marie Claire:
"It's as if a Paul Thomas Anderson movie (The Master, There Will Be Blood) married a David Foster Wallace novel and had a baby. Which is to say, this story is weird, thrilling, and inimitable."
Indie Bookseller's Advice: 'Never Forget the Wonks & the Weirdos'
"Never forget the wonks, and the weirdos, and the people who will be delighted by this book that they never could even have imagined could exist and they will find on your shelf."
— Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson in NYC, the best piece of advice she ever received from her mother, Holly, founder of the McNally Robinson indie bookstore chain in Canada.
Amazon and Taxes ... Jesus, they have NO SHAME!
Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate income tax bill," Reuters reported, noting that during the past six years, Amazon has paid approximately $9 million in income tax on more than $23 billion of sales to British clients.
I just love this name ... now I just need to create something for the name.
What About Online Taxation
Marketplace Fairness Act: 'Bad for Me. And I'm in Favor of It.'
"Sometimes bad news for you is good news for the social order. In those cases, it can be hard to be rational. (I know my first impulse in re. this bill was to be like, 'WE MUST DEFEAT THIS THING THAT WILL HARM MY COMPANY.') But ultimately I don't think that kind of selfishness makes for better governance. This bill is bad for me. And I'm in favor of it."
— Author John Green in his Tumblr post "When Things That Are Bad for You Are Good for the World."
'A Really Good Bookstore Is Not a Doughnut Shop'
"Maybe the solution [for independent bookstores] is to stop viewing such places simply as businesses that must succeed or fail according to the market, like doughnut shops or nail salons. A really good bookstore is not a doughnut shop; it is a social good. As citizens--and even potential investors--we need to put our money where our moany old mouths are."
— Leah McLaren in the Toronto Globe & Mail
U.S. Senate Passes Sales Tax Fairness Legislation
This evening, in a hard-earned victory for proponents of sales tax fairness, the U.S. Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (S.743) by a vote of 69 to 27. The legislation would give states the authority to require remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax in the state, so long as the seller does $1 million or more in remote gross sales annually. The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is expected to face a tough fight for passage.
A Dozen Interesting Literary Facts for Today
1. The original title of Fahrenheit 451 was The Fireman.
Ray Bradbury and his publishers thought The Fireman was a boring title, so they called a local fire station and asked what temperature paper burned at. The firemen put Bradbury on hold while they burned a book, then reported back the temperature, and the rest is history.
2. Ray Bradbury also wrote the 1956 screenplay for Moby Dick.
3. Don Quixote is the best-selling novel of all time, with over 500 million copies sold.
4. Edgar Allan Poe originally wanted a parrot to repeat the word "nevermore."
5. Charles Dickens believed in the supernatural, and he belonged to something called The Ghost Club.
6. John Steinbeck's original manuscript for Of Mice and Men was eaten by a dog.
Steinbeck's puppy, Toby, was left alone one evening and effectively ate some really important homework. Steinbeck wrote of the incident to his agent and said, "I was pretty mad, but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically."
7. Gabriel García Márquez refuses to allow One Hundred Years of Solitude to be made into a film. It's odd because most of his works have been made into films. Marquez stated that the reason is, “They would cast someone like Robert Redford and most of us do not have relatives who look like Robert Redford.”
8. To Kill a Mockingbird is Harper Lee's only novel, even though it won a Pulitzer Prize and spent 88 weeks on the best seller list. She currently lives in Monroeville, Alabama, and is allegedly working on her memoirs.
9. The manuscript for Hemingway's A Moveable Feast sat in a hotel basement for years.
In 1928, Ernest Hemingway stored two trunks that contained notebooks from the years he lived in Paris. Then in 1956, Hemingway retrieved the trunks and got to work transcribing them into his memoirs. The final product was published three years after Hemingway's death.
10. The band U2 borrowed a chapter title in Lord of the Flies to name one of their songs.
Chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies is titled "Shadows and Tall Trees," which U2 used as the final track on their debut album, Boy.
11. The Monster in Frankenstein has no name, but Mary Shelley once referred to him as "Adam."
Many people mistakenly think that the Monster is named Frankenstein, when in fact he's never given a name in the novel.
12. The original title for Where the Wild Things Are was Where the Wild Horses Are, and it would've featured horses.
The reason for the change was that Maurice Sendak couldn't draw horses. So, when his editor asked what he could draw, his reply was "things." Things are exactly what ended up in the book.
Pulitzer Awards for 2013
Pulitzer Prize for History
Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam - Fredrik Logevall
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Stag's Leap - Sharon Olds
Pulitzer Prize for Biography
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo - Tom Reiss
Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction
Devil in the Grove (P.S.) - Gilbert King
Tax Day wisdom from Mark Twain: "The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin."
American Library Association's 'Most Challenged Books List'
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom reported that in 2012 it received 464 reports on attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves, an increase from 326 the previous year. The new list was included in the ALA's State of America's Libraries Report 2013. "One reason we think the number went up in 2012 is that we made challenges easier to report by including a portal on our Web page," said Barbara M. Jones, director of the OIF.
The most challenged books last year were:
1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
5. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell & Justin Richardson
6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
8. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
9. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
10. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Well, I have taken a plunge into another website — I am now also listing the books I've read on LibraryThing. They do a pretty good job of listing them with other information that's quite interesting. It's great fun to be surrounded by book information and to list more and more of the books that you've read all through your life. I just started yesterday and I haven't put up reviews or rated most of the books, but there are more than 400 titles ... so far. (May 6 update - 2,200 titles ... so far) It's addictive.
The Senate just passed an amendment supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act. The Senate said “YES” to e-fairness by a vote of 75 to 24. This vote represents a huge victory for all of us who want to see the sales tax loophole closed — so that businesses that sell online will no longer have an up to 10% (whatever a community's sales tax may be) price/cost advantage compared to all those bricks-and-mortar stores who have committed to a location and collect the appropriate sales tax..
But, while this is a critical milestone, the fight for e-fairness isn’t over. With the majority of the Senate in support of a fair tax law; now support needs to be found in the House to make this level playing field the law of the land.
A pick of the bookplates of the famous from Shelf Awareness.
Douglas Fairbanks & Mary Pickford
I don't normally go for these things, but this is one of the funnier ones from the 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores' Slight difference from Harper Lee
"I'm looking for some books on my kid's summer reading list.
Do you have 'Tequila Mockingbird'?"
Twenty six years ago today, on March 14, 1987, we opened the doors of our very first bookstore. We had wild hopes and yet a little part of our minds wondered if we would be able to make it. Hopes won out wildly over those nagging little fears and our bookstore was open for 22 years. It was a wonderful run and we are so thankful to the many people who helped us and supported us for all those years. These people believed in what we were trying to do — to bring the best books together with the people who would love them and to do it with a style all our own. Today, with all the changes in the book trade, I appreciate each of our different bookstores more than ever. Thanks to all.
I sit down with the February 24 The New York Times Book Review and what do I spy?
*** On the front page I see that my man Jess Walter has reviewed the new shiny covered book, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine. I'm more interested in the UP FRONT section on page 4 that features Jess. He's working with his dad to clean up part of the family's cattle ranch in Spokane, Washington. "We're slowly cleaning the place, returning it to some sort of natural state. Also we just really like to burn things." Talking as a member of Spokane's Booze and Bad club (writers & professors who read Shakespeare & discuss it in bars) he comes to the following conclusions. "I'm starting to think everyone should have to read Shakespeare in their 40s and 50s, when you've lost parents and had children and really know failure, when you appreciate all of that paradoxical insight into human nature. That part of it is wasted on high school and college kids. Making 18-year-olds read Shakespeare is like having toddlers watch porn."
**** Then, page 7 gives us all a little more insight into Jackie Collins (this will be the only thing about JC) when she's asked, "If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?" Turns out it would be John McCain's Faith of My Fathers. Oh lord. "Now here we have a true American hero, a man with a moral compass and a sense of stunning loyalty and integrity." Does she ever listen to the wild mixture of BS that flows from his mouth? No more guidance from JC.
*** Page 9 has a more recent picture of Jamaica Kincaid that I found most interesting.
*** Page 10 has a review of that seemingly utterly depressing, and fascinating sounding book, Detroit: An American Autopsy. A voice from the book: "Can't say it's working. But what you gonna do? You ain't gonna be reincarnated, so you got to do the best you can with the moment you got. Do the best you can and try to be good."
*** Another of my last deep thoughts concerns the stunning photo on page 18 of some Swamp Thing (Revenge of the Creature) choking some Hollywood beefcake from the 50s.
*** Last insight. Wow, Tenth of December by George Saunders is at NUMBER TWO on the bestseller list!
That does it for my guided tour of this part of today's newspaper.
This would have been
the 88th birthday of Edward Gorey.
Over the next decade, Barnes & Noble will likely close a third of its 689 general retail stores, or about 20 a year, Mitchell Klipper, CEO of B&N's retail group, told the Wall Street Journal. Slimmed down to 450 to 500 stores, the retail stores represent "a good business model," he said, emphasizing that today only about 20 B&N trade stores--3% of the total--lose money. B&N also operates some 674 college stores, which are run separately from the general retail stores.
1.7.13 Huell Howser's smile has gone away ... after 67 years
Someone has died that always brought a smile to my face. He could also elicit a heavy groan and cause me to say, "Oh Huel." But, he was one of a kind, and the world is just not as happy a place without his overpowering enthusiasm and humor. Howser received his first name from a portmanteau of his parents' names, Harold and Jewell.
Corny, dopey, a hick, square-shouldered, naive, a happy gay man, say what you may — he loved California and all the people he and his single cameraman came across. His style kept me watching him for all these years. It's incredible to think about just how many times we have all heard him say, "That's amazing."
Thanks Huell. - John
> Here's a little information from his website. <
When Huell Howser moved to Los Angeles in 1981 from his home state of Tennessee to become a reporter for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, he had no idea he’d fall in love…with California. His enthusiasm for his new home inspired the idea for the television series that started it all, California’s Gold. Huell had a simple idea: if he traveled the state with an open heart and an open mind, a microphone and a camera, he would uncover a treasure of California stories.
"We operate on the premise that TV isn’t brain surgery. People’s stories are what it’s all about," says Howser. "If you have a good story, it doesn’t have to be overproduced. I want our stories to reveal the wonders of the human spirit and the richness of life in California, including its history, people, culture and natural wonders."
... more from his website
Are Dedicated E-Readers Dying? Yes & No
A new study by IHS iSuppli released this week suggested the "rapid rise of tablets is driving the e-book reader market to an equally rapid fall," CNET reported, citing predictions that shipments of e-book readers "will tumble 36% this year to 14.9 million units and then drop another 'drastic' 27% next year to 10.9 million units. By 2016, IHS iSuppli predicted the e-book reader market will total just 7.1 million units," down precipitously from 23.2 million in 2011.
Tablet sales will rise dramatically during this period, with the study anticipating that the "electronics industry should ship 120 million tablets this year and 340 million by 2016," CNET wrote.
Today we saw a double rainbow over Emeryville, but mostly I just wanted to be able to type 12.12.12.
Loonie Idea: Buy Collected Works Bookstore for a Buck
If a new owner isn't found by Christmas Eve, Collected Works, Ottawa's largest indie bookstore, will close in January, co-owner Christopher Smith announced on the store's Facebook page. The asking price for the business is $1: "The catch: the new owner will need to assume all the store's current liabilities." Collected Works "needs a new owner with deep pockets and an action plan to make the bookstore viable," he wrote.
First Poet Laureate of Los Angeles
Eloise Klein Healy was named the first poet laureate of Los Angeles in a ceremony last Friday. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa chose Healy from a list of three finalists. She will serve for at least a year, or as long as two, and "travel the city, visiting its schools and neighborhoods, as an ambassador for literary art." Healy has been part of the Los Angeles poetry scene since the 1970s and is the author of seven books.
Ian McEwan's Best Fan Letter
"An Italian reader wrote to describe how he met his wife. She was on a bus, reading one of my books, one that he himself had just finished. They started talking, they started meeting. They now have three children. I wonder how many people owe their existence to their parents' love of books."
--Author Ian McEwan in the New York Times about the best fan letter he had ever received.
Another B&N Shareholder Calls for Spinoff
Another Barnes & Noble shareholder is calling for the company to spin off its digital operations to increase shareholder value. According to minyanville.com, Rick Schottenfeld, CEO of Schottenfeld Group Holdings, argued last week in a letter to B&N chairman Len Riggio that "Barnes & Noble's mature and cash generating retail unit isn't a good fit with its high growth [and money-losing] Nook business in public markets." The two types of businesses attract different kinds of investors, he said. He criticized the company's investment in the Nook with money from the stores, saying that the revenues generated by the stores should go to investors in the form of stock repurchases and dividends.
11.27.12 The Strange Story of a Drunk in a Bookstore
Bookshop B&E Suspect Caught Read-Handed
An intoxicated British man was arrested last week after he broke into Mr. Books Bookshop in Tonbridge, Kent, but became distracted by a copy of Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley. The Daily Mail reported that after stealing some £1 coins, Charles Crittenden settled down to read the book and eventually called police to confess his crime.
"My initial feeling was of shock and sheer horror and I was worried about what damage had been done," said shop owner Mark Richardson. Richardson added that the suspect "actually said to the police he was sitting in my shop reading Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley. I think they thought he was taking the mickey at first but there is actually a copy right by the phone. I even think in a strange sort of way that might have brought him to his senses."
CEO of Barnes & Noble Doesn't Even Read Physical Books Anymore
Bloomberg's Nicole Lapin interviewed Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch to talk about what e-books he has on his Nook. She also asked him what "book books" he's reading.
"I don't really read physical books that much anymore," responded Lynch as he stood in a Barnes & Noble retail store with books all around him. "I like to read digitally."
(I just feel sorry for the man — when he misses so much of the reading experience with his head stuck in a Nook and not a real book. - John)
U.K.'s Indie Booksellers: 'We Pay Our Taxes!'
Independent booksellers throughout the United Kingdom are now displaying "We Pay Our Taxes" posters in response to Amazon's unimpressive appearance before the Public Accounts Committee last week.
(Simple and to the point. - John
Forty-six percent of independent merchants plan to incorporate Small Business Saturday in their holiday strategies, and a majority (67 percent) said they will offer discounts on November 24, according to the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released last week by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express.
A couple of Amazon news items
Amazon Faces $252M Fine In France Over Taxes
The Direction Générale des Finances (France’s equivalent of the IRS) is asking Amazon to pay $252 million in non-reported tax and penalties. Most of Amazon’s revenue in Europe goes to Luxembourg, where the corporate tax is much lower. According to Reuters, the request covers the fiscal years between 2006 and 2010. In a document attached to the latest quarterly earnings, Amazon declared that it’s ready to legally challenge the accusation.
Copperfield's Moves Napa Store
Copperfield's Books, Napa, Calif., has completed its move to a different location in Bel Aire Plaza. The store closed its 9,701-sq.-ft. old space early last week and re-opened in the new 4,000-sq.-ft. space on Friday.
Over a Third of eReaders Are Used Just Once Before Being Set Aside
by Nate Hoffelder
Back in January I reported that nearly half of the gadgets given as Christmas gifts in the UK last year had yet to be opened a month later.
Given that Kindles topped that survey’s list of unused devices, it comes as no surprise today that a recent poll showed that a third of US ereader owners said they only used their device once before putting it away or selling it.
CouponCodes4u.com, the US subsidiary of the coupon site which released the January survey data, recently polled 1,983 US consumers and asked about the gadgets they used. This filtered group of respondents consisted entirely of ereader owners, and 337 (17%) indicated that , on average, they used their ereader at least once a week. Another 575 (29%) use it at least once a week. And the not-so-surprising statistic today is that 694 (35%) of the respondents indicated that they used the device just once.
The survey went on to ask why those 694 owners only used the ereader once, and the majority (396 respondents or 57%) indicated that they didn’t have the time to use it; they are too busy. Approximately 22% (153 respondents) said that they’d received it as a gift and didn’t have a need for it. And a sizable 174 (25%) were among the Luddite minority who preferred to read with paper books.
The survey data goes on to show that 37% of the regretful ereader owners did not think it was a good buy, and another 29% planned to get rid of their ereader because they used it so rarely.
It’s data like this which explains why one of the best times of year to get a new gadget is in the first couple months after Christmas. To heck with Black Friday; by the end of January there’s usually a glut of gadgets being disposed of, so much so that it is almost a buyer’s market.
(Not sure how much of a true reflection these numbers are, but I thought them interesting. — John)
Philip Roth Quits Writing
Philip Roth, the famous American novelist, has written his last book. That is, according to an interview published last month in the French magazine Les inRocks. The Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal and twice National Book Award-winning writer remains one of the American favorites to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and was this year awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature by the Spanish Royal Family. His last book, Nemesis, was published in 2010.
Here's what Roth told Les inRocks
"I do not intend to write for the next ten years. To tell you the truth, I'm done. Nemesis will be my last book. Look at E.M. Forster, he stopped writing fiction aged 40."
"I used to write book after book, but I haven't written anything for three years. I preferred to work on my archives for my biographer."
"I decided to reread all my books, beginning with the last one, Nemesis. Until I got fed up just before Portnoy's Complaint, which is imperfect. I wanted to see if I had wasted my time writing. And I thought it was rather successful."
"I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote and I read. To the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life. The thought of sitting down to write one more time is an impossible one for me."
"And if I did write a new book, it would most likely be a failure.
Who needs to read another mediocre book?"
According to Salon, Roth's publisher Houghton Mifflin has confirmed that Roth intends Nemesis to be his final book.
River Reader Bookstore Closes
River Reader bookstore, Guerneville, California, closed last week after 17 years in business, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported. Susan Ryan, who has owned the store for the past five years, said that during the past year, "I sold half as many books as I needed to break even, and it has been that way for the last few years.... I think it is the economy, this community is struggling, and people buying books online. She added that she will miss her life as a bookseller: "This is my passion, I love this, I love being part of the community," Ryan said.
We have now relocated to the Seattle area. We are working with a relative and getting the lay of the land. The journey north from northern California was a clear example of our own climate change, as the rain took over more of each day as we moved north. We had a chance to stop and see a dear friend in Portland and spend some relaxing time on his houseboat.
He took us on a tour of Portland, a tour that included a visit to the famous/infamous Voodoo Doughnuts. I had a Bacon Maple Bar and the Dirty Old Bastard (raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting and Oreo's and peanut butter) yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.
After that I required some down time — what a meal. That's it for now. - John
Rainy Day Books to Close
Rainy Day Books, Tillamook , Oregon, will close December 30 after 26 years in business, the Coast River Business Journal reported, adding that the "iconic bookstore... is a calling card for tourists and visitors, some of whom stop there annually on their pilgrimages to the beach." Despite having many devoted customers, owner Karen Spicer cited familiar reasons for the decision, including changes in the industry like the rise of Amazon and e-books, a gradual but steady sales decline and troubled economy."It's time to do something else," she said. "It's sad. I never imagined books would go out of fashion. Independent bookstores are like the canary in the coal mine. When we're gone it will mean something drastic has happened, something is lost, and it will be too late to bring it back."
Rakestraw Books On the Move
Landlord issues and an unexpected and fortuitous vacancy has led to a new home for Michael Barnard's Rakestraw Books in Danville. The new, cozier location (550 Hartz Avenue) is right next door to the old location at 522.
Bookseller Bill Petrocelli Now a Novelist, Too
Congratulations to Bill Petrocelli, longtime co-owner, with his wife, Elaine, of Book Passage, Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., who has written a first novel, Women for Peace, that is scheduled to be published next fall by Turner Publishing.Todd Bottorff, Turner's president and publisher, said, "As an independent publisher, I'm particularly happy to publish a leading independent bookseller's debut work of fiction. It's an exciting collaboration from both sides of the indy desk."
Penguin and Random House May Merge
As publishers, big and small alike, try to figure out how to move forward in this ever-changing book world, British publisher Pearson PLC revealed that it is in talks with German media group Bertelsmann SE over merging the firms' Penguin and Random House publishing operations. Pearson said it "is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House" but added that there is no certainty the talks will lead to a transaction.
Oh yes, let's create even larger behemoths out of our current publishing giants.
It's Official: Random House, Penguin Creating Joint Venture
Four days after officially confirming that Pearson and Bertelsmann were in discussions about combining their book publishing operations, the companies announced this morning that they are creating a joint venture named Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann will own 53% of the joint venture, and Pearson will own 47%.
B&N Customers Suffer Identity Theft Scheme After PIN Pads are Hacked.
Barnes & Noble has been hacked. The retailer said that there was "tampering with PIN pad devices" in 63 of its stores, all related to "one compromised PIN pad" in each location. In reaction to the tampering, B&N said it has stopped using the pads in all 700 of its stores.
Kepler's Grand Reopening Party — October 16th 7-10PM
Kepler's is Back! - Join them for their Grand Reopening Party
Wall Street Journal article about Kepler's
How do you say that author's name?
— here's a site where the actual author tells how to say it.
Amazon Confirms It Makes No Profit On Kindles
“We sell the hardware at our cost, so it is break-even on the hardware,” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, told the BBC.
This marketing strategy reminds many of Gillette in the early 1900s, who give away the razor and sold the blades.
“What we find is that when people buy a Kindle they read four times as much as they did before they bought the Kindle,” said Bezos in the interview with the BBC. “But they don’t stop buying paper books. Kindle owners read four times as much, but they continue to buy both types of books.”
Ferlinghetti Declines Hungarian PEN Club Prize
Poet and co-founder of City Lights Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, has declined the €50,000 (US$64,683) Janus Pannonius International Poetry Prize from the Hungarian PEN Club after he "discovered that a sizable portion of the prize money had been provided by the Hungarian government, which has been widely accused of officially and unofficially stifling free speech," New Directions reported on its blog. In a letter to Hungarian PEN Club's president Geza Szocs, Ferlinghetti wrote there was "no possibility of my accepting the prize in a ceremony in the United States or elsewhere. I am sorry it has come to this, and I am grateful to those in Hungary who may have had the purest motives in offering me the Prize."Calling him "a bastion of the New Directions list for over sixty years," Ferlinghetti's publisher said "we are proud of his decision and stand by him in his fight for free speech."
New Donors' to Sponsor Former Orange Prize in 2013
After organizers of the former Orange Prize were unsuccessful in their quest to find a replacement for the mobile services company that had backed the award since its inception, a group of "high-profile private donors" has stepped in to sponsor the award, which next year will be called the Women's Fiction Prize, the Guardian reported.
The supporters include Cherie Blair and Joanna Trollope. In a statement, the prize administrators noted that "while they were looking for a headline sponsor for 2014 and beyond, the immediate future had been secured by gifts from companies and private donors," the Guardian wrote.
Diesel Books disguised as Brokeland Records for the Michael Chabon party for his newest novel, Telegraph Avenue.
And now there's even more Diesel news, Diesel Bookstore has plans for a fourth California location in Spring 2013 — which will be in Larkspur — in addition to the current bookstores in Oakland, Malibu, and Brentwood.
4 out of 5 publishers now produce ebooks
a majority of publishers produce 1/2 of their titles as ebooks
36% of publishers get more than 10% of their revenue from ebooks
amazon is the most popular sales channel for 68% of publishers for ebook sales
80% of publishers still produce print versions (aka real books) versions of ebook titles
65% of publishers have converted less than half of their backlist titles into ebooks
(source - 4th annual eBook Survey of Publishers)
According to the Association of American Publishers, for March, 2011 ebooks were 17% of total sales for the 84 member publishers.
New Kentucky License Plates Support Libraries
Kentucky has a new license plate sporting the slogan Support Kentucky's Libraries. "Kentucky's public libraries welcomed more than 20 million visitors last year who checked out more than 30 million books and other items," said Governor Steve Beshear. "It's clear that Kentuckians love their public libraries, and now they have another way to show their support."
Bill and Judith Moyers Honorary Chairs of Banned Books Week
Award-winning broadcast journalist Bill Moyers and Judith Davidson Moyers, president of Public Affairs Television, have been named honorary co-chairs of Banned Books Week (September 30 – October 6).
Bill Moyers, a long-time supporter of Banned Books Week, will appear in an online video addressing the importance of our freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
“Censorship is the enemy of truth, even more than a lie,” said Moyers. “A lie can be exposed; censorship can prevent us from knowing the difference.”
Two Quick Ones
Writer Junot Diaz has received one of this year's 23 MacArthur Foundation "genius" awards (formally John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships) which garners him $100,000 a year for five years.
J.K. Rowling's Home for Sale
"Offers are invited from £2.25 million (US $3.64 million)" for J.K. Rowling's 19th century Edinburgh home that "stands in a walled garden" and is renowned as "the place where the Harry Potter books were written," the Telegraph reported for a photo tour in its Property section.
Stephen Colbert does the honor of reviewing his own book, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't for GQ magazine.
"Imagine if Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald teamed up to write the Greatest American Book. Now imagine that didn't happen and instead Stephen Colbert wrote one. Because that's what happened," observed Colbert, who praised his latest effort as "a work of stunning clarity and bold vision, and it contains some of the greatest hyperbole ever written in the history of mankind. Also, it has pictures. And page numbers, many of them in chronological order!"
Ferlinghetti on how City Lights bookstore came to be
"I was coming up from my painting studio, and I drove up Columbus Avenue. It was a route I wouldn't normally take, and I saw a guy (Peter Martin) putting up a sign where City Lights is now. I said, 'What are you doing?' and he said, 'I'm starting a paperback bookstore, but I don't have any money. I've got $500.' I said, 'I have $500.' The whole thing took about five minutes. We shook hands, and the store opened in June 1953 as City Lights Pocket Bookshop."
Walmart Dumps Amazon Kindle Line
Walmart will discontinue selling Amazon's Kindle products, "severing its relationship with a major competitor and placing a bet that consumers are more interested in Apple's iPad and other gadgets." In May, Target made a similar move. BGC Financial tech analyst Colin Gillis told the New York Times that by selling Kindles, Wal-Mart was "encouraging its customers to step into that ecosystem.... Every time you pick up your Kindle, they're trying to get you to buy patio furniture. If I were Walmart, I certainly would not be encouraging my customers to go down the path of owning a Kindle and buying things from Amazon."
Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton came out today, and in it Rushdie discusses living under the fatwa issued following the 1989 publication of The Satanic Verses. He has also written a Thank You letter to independent booksellers for their support during that trying period.
The full letter reads:
"In February 1989, my novel The Satanic Verses was published in the United States a few days after the Khomeini fatwa; in the eye of the storm, in other words. What happened in the months that followed was something I will never forget. American writers gathered together in a show of almost complete unity to defend freedom of speech. Thousands of ordinary Americans wore “I am Salman Rushdie” buttons to express their solidarity. The independent booksellers of America put the book in windows, mounted special displays, and courageously stood up for freedom against censorship, refusing to allow the choices of American readers to be limited by the threats of an angry despotic cleric far away. The bravery of independent booksellers influenced other stores to follow their lead, and in the end a key battle for free expression was won—not by politicians who, as usual, arrived cautiously and tardily at the battlefield, but by the determination of ordinary people that it not be lost. I have never ceased to be grateful for what the independent booksellers of America did in 1989 and, now that I have finally been able to tell the full story of that battle, I’m glad to be able to honor your courage and give you all your due, both in the pages of my book and in what I will say about it when it is published. This is just to thank you personally. It was a privilege to be defended by you, and I have been trying, and will continue to try, to be worthy of that defense."
Write a book report, avoid jail: Judge orders man freed if he commits to literature
Once again, the Bay Area has proven its credentials as the most progressive area in America, this time with a judge's ruling that an allegedly violent criminal be set free, provided that he "read and complete book reports."
The decision, which came in the case of Otis Mobley Jr., was handed down in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who joined the court in January, according to her office.
Mobley, who is 23, will be released later this week pending his trial for attempting to sell a grenade launcher to an undercover federal agent in March. The Oakland-area incident ended in a gunfight; Mobley and two associates were arrested.
Last month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore ruled that Mobley should be released to his grandmother. Gonzalez Rogers upheld that decision on Monday, with the stipulation that he read " at least one hour every day, and...write reports on those books for at least 30 minutes every day."
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Mobley admitted to killing a man in 2009, though he was not charged because prosecutors believed his self-defense claim. In front of Gonzalez Rogers, prosecutors pleaded for Mobley to be kept in jail, citing his substance abuse and less-than-stellar past.
A clerk for the judge refused to provide a reading list for Mobley, or an explanation of why he was given a literary reprieve, though she did say one would be given to him during pre-trial proceedings. The clerk also said she was not aware of Gonzalez Rogers having imposed the reading list condition in previous cases she had handled for the Northern District.
It is unclear if Mobley will have to type his reports and who will review them for literary merit.
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some PHOTOS from our life
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Please check out our page for my movie comments.
Time for a little politics.
Back in August, Dylan Ratigan really let loose on his MSNBC show and made a lot of sense about money and politics. Some are calling his heated words, his Howard Beale "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" moment—as in the movie Network.
I've felt for decades that changing the funding of our politics was the key. Yet, as time has moves on, only more and more money has poured in AND government gets less and less accomplished. When will our government serve more of the people, EVEN the people without big money, those in real need? These are tough times and it's hard to see where things have a chance of improving. Maybe everybody (not just the deluded tea party people) needs to get angry and demand change. - John
Every year on March 14th, I look back, way back to March 14, 1987…back more than 25 years ago. That was when we opened the doors of our very first bookstore, Mansion Book Merchants in Davis. It was a very good day, one of the best in my life. It was a day full of hope.
Who knew then,
how many more days we would have, opening other doors, in other locations?
Check out where words run free and sometimes simply stagger about.
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