Bookstores

This Unique New Bookstore Is Filled With Optical Illusions

29 May 2016

From contemporist:

A new bookstore has recently opened in Hangzhou, China, and the inside is kind of amazing to see.

The store is located just above the main plaza, within the commercial center of Star Avenue, in the Binjiang District, and adjacent to Qiantang River.

. . . .

The bookstore, designed by XL-MUSE, has been designed so the spaces seem huge and never-ending.

. . . .

Everything has a sense of height added to it due to the mirrors that the ceiling is covered in.

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Inside the entire bookshelf extends endlessly to the side.

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Link to the rest at contemporist

Click through to see many more photos.

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Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving

26 May 2016

From the Guardian:

She might be a beloved and bestselling author of classic children’s books from Forever to Blubber, but Judy Blume says she wakes up every day “and I look to the sky, and I say, ‘whoever’s up there, I thank you for not having to write today’.”

Blume doesn’t have to write because, at 78, she has embarked on a new career: she’s an independent bookseller. Together with her husband, George Cooper, she has opened a small, nonprofit bookshop in Key West, Florida, where she’s working almost every day. And she’s loving it. She had planned “to take a gap year” after she finished writing and promoting her last novel, In the Unlikely Event. “I was going to relax and read and have this whole time with no pressure. And then bingo – the chance comes along to open a bookshop, and there you go. I guess I like that in my life … To learn something new like this, at 78, makes it all the more exciting.”

Blume and Cooper had been urging Mitchell Kaplan, founder of independent book chain Books & Books, to open a bookshop in Key West for years. He told them that if they could find a space, he would partner with them.

. . . .

Customers, she says, “sometimes” recognise her – an author who has sold more than 80m books around the world – “and they’re completely taken aback, especially if I’m sitting there dusting the shelves. I’m pretty good at recommendations – I’m good in the kids’ department for sure. I read all the picture books when they come in. And I can lead people to what they want, although I’ve not read as many of our books as some of our volunteers [the store has two paid employees, as well as Cooper, Blume and a series of volunteers]. I’m trying really hard to keep up. It’s like Christmas every day, working here.”

Business for independent bookstores in America in general, is “going well”, Blume believes. “I just think people are so hungry for a real bookstore again. So many people live in places where there isn’t one … It’s not just us doing well. A lot of independent booksellers are.”

. . . .

“Five years ago in the American book business, there was a widespread panic that somehow digital reading was going to replace physical books and they would be a relic of some other time and place. Fast forward to today, and I think digital reading has levelled off and calmed down slightly. It’s going to be a piece of our business, but print books aren’t going away. We’re living in a hybrid world,” says Teicher.

Link to the rest at the Guardian and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Waterstones cuts e-book deal with Kobo

23 May 2016

From The Bookseller:

Waterstones is to stop selling e-books from its website and instead divert customers to Kobo’s reading platform for digital sales.

The chain book store will begin informing customers of the change from 14th June and explain how those who already have Waterstones digital libraries can transfer them to Kobo’s platform.

James Daunt, m.d of Waterstones, said he took the decision because the Rakuten-owned e-book company could provide customers with “ultimately an excellence of service we ourselves are unable to match.”

Customers who try to buy e-books from the Waterstones website will be directed to www.kobo.com, with Waterstones presumably benefitting from a cut for every sale it has helped to create, the same deal Kobo has with WH Smith and independent bookshops.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

PG says that just as you probably wouldn’t want a bunch of tech nerds running a physical bookstore, having bookstore people attempting to do ecommerce will result in a less than optimum outcome.

Plus there’s that little matter of directly competing with the best ecommerce company in the universe.

UK Nook Owners Now Discarding Their “Useless” eReaders

19 May 2016

From The Digital Reader:

When B&N announced that it was closing its Nook UK Store and handing its customers off to Sainsbury’s, I predicted that some Nook owners would find themselves with worthless hardware which neither B&N nor Sainsbury’s would support, and sadly, that has come to pass.

. . . .

“I purchased a book and transferred it to my Nook but it cannot read the format so my wife and I will dispose of our Nooks and not get involved with Barnes & Noble ever again,” one wrote in the comment section of this blog. Another expressed similar frustration, writing “We have two Nooks which are now completely useless. I have downloaded a book to one of the Nooks from Sainsburys but it says it is an unreadable format. I have decided to dispose of the Nooks and never get involved with Barnes & Noble ever again.”
And a third Nook owner is reporting an even more serious problem: “I need to reregister my Nook. At the moment I cannot do so, which means I cannot access the 300+ books I have on there. It has all been transferred to Sainsbury’s but they can’t or won’t help me.”

. . . .

B&N is going to have to do something to help the third owner, but it sounds like most of the problems experienced by Nook owners in the UK are the usual problems with transferring DRMed ebooks from a computer to an ereader. It’s really hard to be sure without having one of the uncooperative ereaders in my hand, but that is what this sounds like.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Amazon Plans More Stores, Bulked-Up Prime Services

18 May 2016

From The Wall Street Journal:

Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos on Tuesday promised more retail stores as well as new services for the company’s Prime unlimited shipping membership.

Mr. Bezos said he wants the $99 Prime membership to offer so many benefits that consumers will feel they “are being irresponsible” if they aren’t members. He didn’t, however, indicate exactly how Amazon plans to continue bulking up the service. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the company is introducing several lines of private-label food, cleaning products and baby goods available only to Prime members.

Amazon also plans new brick-and-mortar stores beyond its sole bookstore in a Seattle outdoor mall, Mr. Bezos said. The company is constructing one near San Diego.

“We’re definitely going to open additional stores, how many we don’t know yet,” he said. “In these early days it’s all about learning, rather than trying to earn a lot of revenue.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

The Labor Saving Effects Of Switching From Store To Online Purchases

11 May 2016
Comments Off on The Labor Saving Effects Of Switching From Store To Online Purchases

From Seeking Alpha:

A variety of sources collect data on online sales. According to emarketer, online sales worldwide were $1.3 trillion in 2015. China and the US are by far the world’s leading e-commerce markets. China’s e-commerce is by far the largest ($563 billion in 2015) and growing most rapidly (32% in 2015). The US is second with $394 billion sales in 2015 and a 14% annual growth rate. In the US, online sales increased from a 6.3% share in 2011 to 10.6% in 2015.

The move from department stores to online purchases has resulted in far more than a 10.6% share. It is important to remember that total retail sales include, in addition to department stores, supermarkets, hardware, drug and other stores. Online sales for these entities are extremely low.

That means a good part on the online increase is coming out of department store sales.

. . . .

Home deliveries for Web purchases are certainly up, but all three carriers [UPS, Fedex and USPS] are losing out in other areas as electronic communication takes over for other things formerly sent through the mails. It is rumored that FedEx recently lost considerable business as Amazon decided to get into the shipment business for itself.

It is interesting to ask on an efficiency basis whether more online business is better than having carriers make bulk shipments to major stores. The carriers definitely prefer bulk shipments. However, when you think that for non-online purchases, each customer has to drive to stores to pick up their purchases, the net efficiency impact still favors online purchases – the delivery companies have worked out very efficient routes to get packages to homes.

. . . .

The application of new technologies is causing considerable labor-saving in services as well as the goods-producing sectors. Here, we saw how growing online sales are affecting department stores and malls. A major takeaway is that these technologies are forcing firms to adapt to survive. Department stores that have not smoothly incorporated online sales into their operations are struggling. And malls that have not been transformed into shopping, entertainment and recreation centers also face problems.

Link to the rest at Seeking Alpha

It was the Internet itself

9 May 2016

From an interview with Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio on National Public Radio

“There are components of the printed book business that remain sentimental, endearing, and even practical. So I don’t think that books will go away, but I think the digital business and all things digital will continue to grow at a much faster rate,” Riggio says.

He acknowledges that the rise of Amazon has presented even more competition and a great challenge for the future of brick and mortar bookstores, but overall, he says there’s a bigger force at play.

“It was not Amazon’s delivery of books that changed things as much as it was the Internet itself,’ he says. “Because the things that people would have to find in books were now available online and free. In fact, even today, authors that I speak to do more of their research online than they do in libraries. So I think that technology component had more to do with the suppression of book store sales than Amazon did.”

Link to the rest at NPR

Weeding the Worst Library Books

3 May 2016

From The New Yorker:

Last summer, in Berkeley, California, librarians pulled roughly forty thousand books off the shelves of the public library and carted them away. The library’s director, Jeff Scott, announced that his staff had “deaccessioned” texts that weren’t regularly checked out. But the protesters who gathered on the library’s front steps to decry what became known as “Librarygate” preferred a different term: “purged.” “Put a tourniquet on the hemorrhage,” one of the protesters’ signs declared. “Don’t pulp our fiction,” another read.

In response, Scott attempted to put his policy in perspective. His predecessor had removed fifty thousand books in a single year, he explained. And many of the deaccessioned books would be donated to a nonprofit—not pulped. Furthermore, after new acquisitions, the collection was actually expected to grow by eighteen thousand books, to a total of nearly half a million. But none of these facts stirred up much sympathy in Berkeley. A thousand people signed a petition demanding that Scott step down—and, in the end, he did.

Public libraries serve practical purposes, but they also symbolize our collective access to information, so it’s understandable that many Berkeley residents reacted strongly to seeing books discarded. What’s more, Scott’s critics ultimately contended that he had not been forthcoming about how many books were being removed, or about his process for deciding which books would go. Still, it’s standard practice—and often a necessity—to remove books from library collections. Librarians call it “weeding,” and the choice of words is important: a library that “hemorrhages” books loses its lifeblood; a librarian who “weeds” is helping the collection thrive. The key question, for librarians who prefer to avoid scandal, is which books are weeds.

Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, two Michigan librarians, have answered that question in multiple ways. They’ve written a book called “Making a Collection Count: A Holistic Approach to Library Collection Management,” which proposes best practices for analyzing library data and adapting to space constraints. But they are better known for calling attention to the matter with a blog: Awful Library Books.

Kelly and Hibner created the site in 2009. Each week, they highlight books that seem to them so self-evidently ridiculous that weeding is the only possible recourse. They often feature books with outlandish titles, like “Little Corpuscle,” a children’s book starring a dancing red blood cell; “Enlarging Is Thrilling,” a how-to about—you guessed it—film photography; and “God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents.”

Sometimes it’s the subject matter that seems absurd. Of “Wax in Our World,” a nonfiction book for young adults, Kelly said, “Who came into a publisher’s office and said, ‘You know, the kids really need a book about wax’?”

. . . .

 “It’s not free to keep something on the shelf,” Ann Campion Riley, the president of the Association of College and Research Libraries, told me. According to Riley, weeding goes back at least to the medieval period. “There are writings where the monks are saying, ‘Should I keep this? Should I keep that?’ ” These questions are pragmatic, but profound—and they have been joined by new ones, such as, should libraries phase out physical books and move their holdings online? The trouble, as Jamillah Gabriel, a librarian at Purdue University, explained, is that “there’s not always an e-book for everything.” Digital libraries are becoming more popular, but they’re not on pace to replace tangible books anytime soon.

. . . .

 When I asked about what happened in Berkeley last year, Kelly and Hibner said it helps, from a public-relations standpoint, to weed gradually. “I pull one or two books a week. Nobody’s going to even question that,” Hibner said. She also keeps a bag of her favorite weeded books under her desk—“Vans: The Personality Vehicle,” “Be Bold with Bananas”—in case any inquisitive patrons want examples.

. . . .

 Hibner and Kelly both emphasized that many factors come into play when deciding which books should be kept. You want your books to reflect the community you serve, but the popularity of a book is by no means the only barometer. At Hibner’s library, “War and Peace” has been checked out just five times in the past twenty-two years. “It’s huge; it’s taking up quite a bit of space,” Hibner said. “But for libraries like us to not have ‘War and Peace’ at all—it doesn’t seem right.” Something tells her that Tolstoy is not a weed.

Link to the rest at The New Yorker and thanks to Chris for the tip.

And speaking of New Yorkers, don’t miss Brooklyn’s Most Cluttered Bookstore

Pioneering Barnes & Noble Leader to Step Down

27 April 2016

From The Wall Street Journal:

Book retailer Leonard Riggio said in an interview Tuesday that he will step down as executive chairman of Barnes & Noble Inc., following the company’s annual meeting scheduled for September.

“I’m no longer going to be in charge,” Mr. Riggio said. “I’m done with that. I’m done with being top banana.”

Mr. Riggio, who built Barnes & Noble into the nation’s largest bookstore chain, said he played an active role last fall in the hiring of the company’s current chief executive,Ronald Boire.

The 75-year-old Mr. Riggio began to pull back in January. “I found peace with my decision,” he said. “The whole identity crisis comes in. ‘Who am I? How do I leave here?’ All that stuff comes into your head after you spend so many years in one place.”

Mr. Riggio is the company’s largest individual shareholder with a 17.5% stake. He says he has no plans to sell or add to his stockholdings. Mr. Riggio, who resigned as the company’s CEO in 2002, will remain on the board after stepping down as executive chairman.

. . . .

Barnes & Noble, however, never duplicated its success with its online bookstore or its offering of Nook digital devices and e-books. Instead, rival Amazon.com Inc. today dominates the sale of physical books online as well as the sale of digital e-books.

. . . .

As Amazon’s share of the book business increased, Barnes & Noble’s store count decreased to 640 today from a peak of 726 for the fiscal year ended January 2009.

Sales at the retail segment, which includes the consumer stores and BN.com, have fallen 20% to $4.11 billion for the fiscal year ended May 2015 compared with the fiscal year ended January 2009, in part because of the impact of digital books.

Barnes & Noble’s big bet that it could compete as a high-powered technology company head-to-head with Amazon and Apple Inc. also proved a disappointment. Through the first nine months ended Jan. 31, Nook revenue fell 29% to $150 million.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire) and thanks to C. for the tip.

Beyond Bookmarks: How Publishers Can Help Authors and Booksellers

26 April 2016

From Publishers Weekly:

Oh, publishers, you do love your promotional doodads. And we sometimes love them, too, but much of the time, they honestly don’t help us promote and sell your books. You might play to your strengths by helping where we need it most. Publishers have entire departments devoted to creating marketing and promotional materials, whereas we stores often have small staffs with varying levels of artistic ability. Instead of sending us 200 bookmarks that only 12 customers will end up taking, or shipping us those books-nestled-in-Easter-grass-in-a-special-fitted-box – which too often arrive looking sad, squished, and decrepit from their postal journey – consider sending us instead:

. . . .

Sample Facebook Event Page Copy —Promotional writing is a special kind of writing, and not everyone is good at it. Not only that, but the person responsible for creating promotional materials at a bookstore is not always the person who has scheduled the event and knows the book. It can be a challenge to make a reading sound brand new, to capture the essence of a book in a few sentences, and to present an author’s personality and appeal to customers who may not be familiar with his or her work.

“But don’t independent bookstores want to be unique?” you ask. Of course we do, and of course we are. But we are also overworked and always, always short of enough time to make things as perfect as we’d like. So it could be extremely helpful to have some snappy text to use as a jumping-off point.

. . . .

How About Some Promo for the Midlist?
We know that a few books get the lion’s share of marketing dollars, and the rest need to make their way in a Darwinian world. But what if a few of those big-budget-book dollars made their way toward shelftalkers for the quieter titles that need help to find their readers? Small shelftalkers, with an eye-catching graphic and maybe one review pull-quote. Not too many words, just enough to catch the attention of a bookstore browser.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

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