Tag Archives: bookselling

An Ode to Shakespeare and Company

Claire Kirch -- December 15th, 2011

Ever since I profiled Shakespeare and Company’s 30-year-old owner, Sylvia Whitman, for PW’s “50 Under 40” series in 2008, and, last year, broke the story that the bookshop was launching a prize and a literary magazine, my editors and I have joked that my territory as a regional correspondent for the magazine extends far beyond the Midwest, all the way to Paris, France. Last night, when I heard of the death of George Whitman, who founded Shakespeare & Co. 60 years ago, I was as personally touched by the sad news as I had been the day before, when I was informed of the death of another legendary book person, Ned Waldman, who once owned a publishing company and a distribution company here in Minnesota.

George Whitman’s death indeed marks the end of an era on the Paris bookselling scene. Even in an age when online retailers and e-books seem to hold sway in the book industry, though, Shakespeare & Co. surely will thrive, continuing to draw customers to the little bookshop near the Seine, with its slightly-dilapidated façade, the cute little courtyard in front filled during store hours with bookcarts, the wishing well in the center of the main floor, and especially the rabbit warren of rooms on three floors, all filled with books, that can be accessed only by climbing rickety stairs.

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Could Pop-Up Bookstores Fill Old Borders Stores?

Gabe Habash -- July 14th, 2011

With Borders looking like it’s inevitably heading toward liquidation, questions arise regarding the effect the former giant’s departure from bookselling will have on the industry, the most troubling of which, perhaps, is whether Borders’ liquidation is just an early sign that bookselling is moving toward an exclusively digital model.

But there’s one possible solution toward keeping a measure of bookstores’ physical presence–and, strangely, it coincides with Borders’ demise: what if pop-up bookstores filled old Borders stores?

First things first: pop-up bookstores, retail venues that open for a limited time, are a new idea, and they’re certainly not going to be the idea that saves brick-and-mortar.

But the most recent pop-up, Word Up in Washington Heights, just announced that it will be open for two more months.

And earlier this year, a pop-up already moved into an old Borders. For one month, Fleeting Pages filled a Pittsburgh Borders store with a mission to showcase “independent & self-published work of all kinds, book arts, workshops, events…All revolving around written self-expression.” The project held at least one event every day and resulted in the sale of 2,700 items–roughly 100 a day. According to Jodi Morrison, the brains behind Fleeting Pages, some titles sold out and she had to request more from the authors.

So while these are certainly modest beginnings, they’re still some sort of beginning. And either way, it’s nice to think that instead of letting a 24,000 square foot space sit vacant and fall apart after a bookselling giant leaves, that it could be filled with books from smaller presses and self-published books? That in the husk of Borders the physical presence of bookstores could totally shift away from the corporate to the grassroots level?

Veronica Liu, editor of Seven Stories Press and creator of Word Up, says she needs all the help she can get. On the store’s website, she’s asking for a computer, toilet paper, and towels. How can you not support that?

Photo credit: iffita

The PW Morning Report: Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- December 3rd, 2010

Today on the Web!

Google Editions–Savior of Indies?: BNet is skeptical about Google’s promises to indie booksellers.

Google Editions Hailed: But Michael Tucker of the ABA feels the opposite, reports the SF Gate.

Bookstore Killer: A Columnist for the Santa Barbara Independent figured out who killed the local bookselling scene–he did, and his Kindle.

Old Bookstore, New Owner: Bozeman, Montan’s Country Bookshelf has a new owner who’s crazy about books. From the Bozeman Daily Chromicle.

Frey’s Fiction Factory: A Columbia MFA student exposes the underbelly of James Frey’s new business venture. From the Columbia Spectator.

The MFA Admissions Process: A Former MFA professor explains how he helped choose new MFA students. From Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour.

The PW Morning Report: Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- October 22nd, 2010

Today’s Links!

Bookstore Evolution: Sam Weller’s bookstore in Utah is changing with the times. From the Salt Lake Tribune.

“I’ll Be Book”: Schwarzenegger promises to write a couple books after he’s out of office. From the Sacramento Bee.

Eva Ibbotson Has Died: The beloved children’s author of Which Witch has died at age 85. From the Guardian.

A Good Problem: How many copies of NBA nominee Lord of Misrule should small publisher McPherson and Co. print? From the WSJ.

Kindle Mania UK: Amazon’s financial results show that the Kindle has quickly become very popular in its new home. From Pocket Lint.

And don’t forget to follow along at the hashtag #moodypw for Rick Moody’s “Tweets About the Future” throughout today and the weekend.

The PW Morning Report: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 15th, 2010

Are we crazy or is it Wednesday?

Sidewalk Wisdom: A sidewalk bookseller who works the street near the Lincoln Center B&N –the one slated to close soon–sees the life of the mind diminishing with each closing bookstore. From the NYT.

Old, Old-Fashioned Bookselling: An author sells his book out of a pushcart. From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Books = The Internet = Books: In the O’Reilly column in Forbes, a writer takes a look at the diminishing distinction between books and the Internet.

A Bookseller Remembered: David Thompson of Houston’s Murder by the Books died suddenly and is remembered in this obit from the Houston Chronicle.

Ron Charles: Video Book Reviewer: Ron Charles of the Washington Post continues his series of video book reviews with a look at the contemporary literary life and Booker finalists.  Maybe his funniest video yet.

A Kindle Convert: A writer for HuffPo describes the onset of her Kindle obsession.

HarperCollins Goes to the Book Fair: Harper Perennial’s Olive Reader blog recalls its day at the Brooklyn Book Fair in words and pictures.

The PW Morning Report: Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 10th, 2010

It’s Friday…you know what that means…

Swedish Narcissus: The Millions had such a good title for this article about Stieg Larsson that we had to reuse it.

Another Kind of Paper Book: Jennifer Egan tells Salon why she won’t give up her paper day-planner for an electronic one.

Old-Fashioned Bookselling: NPR extols the virtues of good old word-of-mouth advertising for books.

Thomas Guinzburg Dies at 84: Here is the NYT obit for Guinzburg, a founder of the Paris Review and longtime head of Viking.

Pentagon Seeks to Destroy Book: The Pentagon wants to buy up the entire first printing of a book that details covert military operations.

Accepting the Digital Future of Books: Wired‘s Jonah Lehrer struggles to accept the digital future of books.

The Return of Cool-er: The Cool-er e-reader is on its way back after the company went under.  The Bookseller reports on a new partnership that could resurrect the e-reader.

The PW Morning Report: Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 1st, 2010

A day of product unveilings…

New Sony Readers: Here’s our look at Sony’s newly unveiled suite of e-readers, featuring an interview with Sony’s Steve Haber.

Today’s Apple Event: the LA Times takes a detailed look at all the speculation about today’s Apple event, which will be held at 10 am PDT and will be streamed live at apple.com.

New Style: The Chicago Manual of Style has quietly made some little tweaks to English grammar and punctuation.  You may be writing incorrectly and not even know it! From the Glendale News Press.

Meet @EvilWyle: The real man behind the “@” talks to Independent Publisher (though he doesn’t reveal his true identity).

A Bookseller’s Stubborn Survival: Publishing Perspectives looks at Manhattan’s Three Lives bookstore, which has survived largely by not changing with the times.

Does A Big Book Equal A Big Movie?: The LA Times wonders.

The Truth About Books: Check out the silly video below, produced to advertise the Melbourne Literary Fest, which is going on right now.  We heard about this from the Millions.

The PW Morning Report: Friday, Aug. 6 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 6th, 2010

Friday is Myday…

Apple’s Agency Model Scrutinized in UK: Now that Amazon has launched its UK Kindle Store, Apple’s agency model is under fire in the UK. From the Bookseller.

Building An Audience for Translation: Chad Post talks about how it needs to be done over at Publishing Perspectives.

What Makes People Pick Which Book to Buy: Another great HuffPo story (from a couple days ago), in which the author asks her friends what influences their book buying decisions.  She comes up with a list of popular reasons for book buying–useful!

The House that Larsson Built: Quercus was tiny when it bought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Now it’s really big. From the Independent.

Did Amazon Learn Business from Robber Barons?: The Vancouver Sun compares Amazon’s pricing tactics to robber barrons’ much older business tactics.

Forthcoming: Salinger’s Secrets: Turns out there’s a lengthy bio and a documentary in the works. From GalleyCat.

The Other PW on the Rumpus Book Club: Poets & Writers follows up on the Rumpus Book Club, which we reported on a few weeks ago

The PW Morning Report: Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 5th, 2010

If today were Saturday, you’d be home now…

The World of Just Indies: What if the only bookstores left were independents? Portfolio wonders.

The 10 Most Expensive Rare Books: HuffPo is doing all these great lists of books.  Today it’s the 10 most expensive rare books recently sold on ABE Books.

The Upside of the B&N Sale?: Globe and Mail doesn’t see one, and anticipates an insider-led buyout.

Plimpton Filling Plimpton’s Shoes: George Plimton’s son is just now publishing his first book, and throwing parties at his father’s apartment. From the NYT.

Lit World Responds to Overturn of Prop 8: Various literary figures respond to yesterday’s overturn of California’s Proposition 8. From GalleyCat.

In Praise of the Novella: The Daily Beeast likes this curious literary form.

The PW Morning Report: Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 4th, 2010

All the news that’s fit to link:

Is Justin Bieber Really Old Enough for A Memoir?: Is that really the question?  From the Guardian.

The Big Read Gets Smaller: The NEA is severely reducing the budget for the Big Read, a national reading initiative, once among its flagship projects.

Bookstores in Pittsburgh: Popcity Media takes us on a little tour.

Haruki Murakami Movie Trailer: Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is being made into a film (not in English), and here’s a teaser vid.

Sean Penn to Star As Legendary Editor: An imperiled bid to make a film about famed literary editor Max Perkins is on firmer ground now that Sean Penn has expressed interest in resurrecting the project.

A Man on a Qwest for Typos: Salon reviews a new book about a man who traveled across America fixing spelling errors.

Newsweek on Self-Publishing: This is a few days old, but relevant that such a major media outlet should discuss  the self-publishing book biz.