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I am a huge fan of the book store, the library and all things book-related. The library has narrowly edged out the bookstore as my favourite air-conditioned hang-out (I do not have air conditioning) because of the free wifi. But is that enough? Can the bookstores and libraries of this world stay viable and relevant in this age of e-downloads?
I think they can. But they need to expand their definition of business a little if they’re going to do so. One clue as to how this may evolve can be found in the way other businesses are updating themselves these days. And in my news feed these days, the big buzzword has been the ‘hub.’
The Washington Post reports today that the bookstore will soon announce what customers and employees have long feared: The place is for sale.
The 26-year-old store's owners, Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, both 74 and so in sync they often wear the same colors without planning to, say they are simply too tired to keep steering Washington's most prominent non-chain bookstore -- a premier stop on top-shelf author tours and a frequent setting for book talks televised on C-SPAN -- through the uncertainty of an industry threatened by e-books. Cohen is also seriously ill.
"It's time for us to stop and let somebody else take over for the future," Meade said during a quiet interview in the store's cramped office. Cohen, eyes reddening, said, "I just don't have the energy like I used to."
Blog post by publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin about the bookstore ecosystem. Public libraries are mentioned at the end of the post.
The closure of three independent vancouver bookstores in three months has teacher-librarians worried.
"There are people who just really appreciate the incredible customer service, being able to walk in and say I'm looking for a book for a seven-year-old boy and have somebody who actually knows what seven-year-old boys appreciate," she said.
A bookseller mourned the loss of his livelihood and more than 100,000 books as firefighters continued extinguishing a three-alarm fire that engulfed the Great Northwest Bookstore on Sunday.
In a home in the historical Lair Hill neighborhood where the 120-year-old building is located, friends and family of the store's owner, Phil Wikelund, gathered to console the bookseller.
New York Times Book Review of 'The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It' by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake. 290 pages. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. $25.99.
Gas pipelines explode. Chemical plants release clouds of toxic chlorine. Banks lose all their data. Weather and communication satellites spin out of their orbits. And the Pentagon’s classified networks grind to a halt, blinding the greatest military power in the world.
This might sound like a takeoff on the 2007 Bruce Willis “Die Hard” movie, in which a group of cyberterrorists attempts to stage what it calls a “fire sale”: a systematic shutdown of the nation’s vital communication and utilities infrastructure. According to the former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke, however, it’s a scenario that could happen in real life — and it could all go down in 15 minutes. While the United States has a first-rate cyberoffense capacity, he says, its lack of a credible defense system, combined with the country’s heavy reliance on technology, makes it highly susceptible to a devastating cyberattack.
By now it must be clear to all but a handful of diehards that the business model based on returnability of books for credit, a practice instituted by the trade book industry some 75 years ago, is no longer viable. In fact it has proven to be a bargain with the Devil.
Some pundits ascribe the woes of our business to printed books themselves, saying that the medium is no longer appropriate for our times. In truth nothing is wrong with printed books. Everything is wrong with the way they are distributed.
Shelf-Awareness on the first of the new month for your viewing pleasure:
Brave New Book World: Adapting to the Coup d'Etat/Apple Shines with iTie iNs/Borders' New Two-for-One Deal/Never-Ending Conference Becomes a Reality/Amazon Opens Northern Front
...also an ad for "Thin Thighs in Thirty Days", which claims NOT to be an April fool if you can believe it...
After delivering a speech on health-care Thursday at the University of Iowa, President Obama made a surprise stop a small bookstore in Iowa City, where he bought books for his daughters and his press secretary -- and lamented that he can no longer browse for reading material as he once did when he was a little-known candidate.
"Well, this used to be my favorite place," Obama told the owner of Prairie Lights, an independent downtown bookstore, as she showed him around. He had mentioned the shop in his speech, noting that it has been offering health-insurance benefits to full-time employees for the last 20 years, only to see premiums shoot up 35 percent last year, making it harder to afford the same coverage.
Full story in the Washington Post and...here's the raw video via youTube:
Determined to stake out a strong digital future, Barnes & Noble on Thursday named William Lynch, president of the company’s Web division, as chief executive, succeeding Stephen Riggio, who will remain as vice chairman. The company was founded by Riggio's brother, Len Riggio (a native Brooklynite) in 1971.
William Lynch, who introduced the company’s electronic book reader in October, had been president of the company’s Web division. He has no previous experience in the book business.
In the unexpected move, Mr. Lynch, 39, was named to the top spot a little over a year after arriving at the company. He is also the first person outside of the Riggio family to be named chief executive since Leonard Riggio, the company’s chairman, bought the company in 1971. He appointed his younger brother, Stephen, 55, in 2002.
Looks like the Nook v. Kindle battle is heating up. Story by Motoko Rich from The New York Times.