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May 12, 2009

The Strand's "Books by the Foot"

Wandering around The Strand yesterday I could not help but be amazed by the amount of people there. Who says that people don't read? I could barely move!

Obviously, there were quite a few tourists in the lot. After all, if you claim to have 18 miles of books and you're not the Library of Congress, you are by definition an attraction.

But there were also many wanderers like me who were just there enjoying the experience. There is something to be said about navigating through book stacks, smelling people's curiosity as they leaf though old volumes and new paperbacks. It conveys a quiet feeling of excitement. 

The Strand knows what it is doing. It carries everything - cheaper. And it seems to understand that books are not just about their content; they are also about making us feel part of something greater than us.

That's why, I guess, they cleverly offer the ultimate anti-digital service. The Strand offers to help decorate your walls with books. "We will custom design a library that is sure to be a perfect match for any home or office space, one
that will please the eye and satisfy the mind.
" The service is called "Books by the Foot". 

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September 19, 2008

A new bookstore opens in Fort Greene, NY...soon

This is the heart of the story: since 2000, about 75 independent bookstores in and around New York have closed.

No wonder today's Times has a story on the adventures and tribulations of Stockton Bagnulo, who will do anything to have her own indie store in Fort Greene -- and who, with the help of Rebecca Fitting, a Random House sales Rep, may soon get it!

Turns out, all the local residents want a bookstore too...and those residents include Jennifer Egan, Colson Whitehead and yes, Jhumpa Lahiri....

If you want to follow Ms. Bagnulo's adventures, follow the link:


August 26, 2008

Paperback Dreams

When Cody's Books took its last breath on June 20th, one could not help but see it as the end of an era. For the last 56 years the bookstore(s) had been a fixture of San Francisco's literary life. In 1989, the store had been firebombed during the controversy over the "Satanic Verses".

That's why we are hoping that "Paperback Dreams", a new documentary about Cody's Books and Kepler's Books, the Menlo Park indie bookstores, will soon make the rounds.

Andy Ross, the previous owner of Cody's was quoted in the SF Chronicle saying: "...when Cody's was doing quite well, independent stores had 40 to 50 percent of the market. Now they're down to about 3 percent of the market." WOW!

May 31, 2008

Titlepage reports from BEA -- Part 1: PARTY ALL THE TIME

The BookExpo America panel on the “Evolution of In-Store Events: From In-store to Online” made me think about people who learn to snowboard in their 40s. There are those who are in decent shape, can let go of their fears and start maneuvering almost like the younger kids on the hill. And then there are those who just don’t want to strap on the board. Both of these types seemed to be in the audience listening to the presentations by a panel of the hippest booksellers who are—last use of this metaphor—screaming down the mountain when it comes to promoting books.

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