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The Village Voice asks Do Bookstores Have a Future? The last decade has not been kind to the traditional corner bookshop. Battered by online discounts and chain superstores, the American Booksellers Association has crumbled from 5,200 bookstores in 1991 to 1,702 stores in 2005. So if you were to seek a summary of their dilemma, this one might sound apt: "The old-fashioned bookstore was a charming place, but charm alone will not solve the problem of modern book distribution. . . . Hard though it may be to face the fact, the bookstore of today cannot primarily be a place for those who revere books as things-in-themselves."
The Kalamazoo Gazette has a nice Obit for John Rollins, owner of the John W. Rollins Bookseller store. Rollins, a former history professor who had worked at Border's Books in Ann Arbor in its pre-mega-chain days, envisioned a big Border's-inspired store loaded with titles and staffed by people who had read them. The Kalamazoo area came to love Rollins' store for its enormous selection and book-loving staff members who always seemed to have a recommendation for customers. It quickly became a mecca for readers, literary events and author book-signings.
gsandler writes "Here is a story in Slate on the death of the small bookstore. "Ever since the rise of the book superstore in the 1990s, we have been flooded with lamentations for the rapidly disappearing independent booksellers...Thanks to the indies, it is thought, high-quality but inaccessible books can slowly build their reputations through reader word-of-mouth and eventually take the literary world by storm. This is what people fear is disappearing forever; just last week the famed Cody's of Berkeley announced it is shutting down because of Internet and superstore competition. But does this idealized vision ring true? What exactly are we losing with the passing of the independent bookstore?""
The last A Clean-Well Lighted Place for Books, on Van Ness in Opera Plaza in San Francisco, Calif., is for sale, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Low foot traffic and expensive parking on Van Ness are among reasons that sales have been declining for years. Owner Neal Sofman says "My long-term partners want out, and I don't have the capital to buy them out."
Sofman founded the original store in 1975 and opened the Opera Plaza location in 1982. The company's stores in Cupertino and Larkspur closed in the 1990s. Last month, Sofman sold the store's domain name, the very attractive www.bookstore.com.
Undoubtedly the domain name sale will help make ends meet. Sad when a virtual internet destination has so much monetary value, and a treasured independent bookstore with a brick and mortar location has so little.
Redcardlibrarian writes "Multnomah County's chief deputy district attorney and the head of a victim's rights group angrily accused author Sebastian Junger of inaccuracies and exploitation during a reading last week.
Norm Frink, the chief deputy district attorney, told Junger that "the distortions you are pedaling are not true." Steve Doell, the president of Crime Victims United, called Junger's book "A Death in Belmont" "so inaccurate and misleading" -- before Doell was escorted from the First Unitarian Church by Powell's employees. Frink and Doell raised their voices to Junger and appeared to startle a crowd of about 50 people that had gathered at the church to listen to Junger, the author of "The Perfect Storm."
Here's a report on the imminent closing of the Book Rack in Lodi, CA. Co-owners Charlotte and Cecil Brewer were looking forward to celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of their store this summer but now it's slated for closure. The reason...competition from the "killer Bs"(B&N and Borders), a term coined by Bill Maxwell, former owner of the now defunct Maxwell's Bookmark in Stockton.
In a decision that has outraged bookworms, HMV has been given the green light to buy the bookseller Ottakar's.
The retailer already owns Waterstone's, and authors and publishers say the merged super-group would ensnare half of high-street book sales in some towns, offering readers less choice.
The NY Daily News reports A Brooklyn book dealer lost his valuable collection of religious texts in a suspicious fire yesterday that gutted his store yesterday morning.
Sean Abrahams, 35, who operates Wisdom, Knowledge, Overstanding Books, at Pitkin Ave. in East New York, called 911 just after 10:30 a.m. after smelling smoke.
Within minutes, the rear of the store was on fire and the blaze was spreading to the second floor of the three-story building, he said.