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Posted by: nacho
« on: December 27, 2015, 12:11:51 PM »

George Pelacanos predicted this about five years ago...and in fact only does the bulk of his events in used bookstores.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 27, 2015, 12:06:15 PM »

Maybe just flu recovery, but this article made me really happy.

We have and excellent used book store near us that's been here almost thirty years. It's an amazing place with that indescribable smell that only used bookstores have.

In the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making an unlikely comeback

Early next month, Pablo Sierra is opening a used bookstore in Northwest Washington — an unlikely bet in the digital age made even more inconceivable, given that his only experience with books is reading them.

“I guess it is pretty crazy,” Sierra said, echoing an observation shared by some of his friends.

Or maybe not. Sierra, like ­other book lovers, has read articles about slowing e-book sales and watched as independent bookstores such as Politics and Prose thrive, catering to readers who value bookish places as cultural hubs and still think the best reading device is paper.

Used bookstores, with their quintessential quirkiness, eclectic inventory and cheap prices, find themselves in the catbird seat as the pendulum eases back toward print. In many cities, that’s a de facto position: They’re the only book outlets left.

While there are no industry statistics on used-book sales, many stores that survived the initial digital carnage say their sales are rising.

“It gets better and better every year,” said Susan Burwell, the co-owner of Reston’s Used Book Shop, the only used-bookstore left for an intellectually diverse Northern Virginia city of nearly 60,000 people.

Riverby Books D.C., a used-bookstore on Capitol Hill, closed last year after owner Steve Cymrot was hit by a truck and killed. His son Paul reopened the store in the fall — and didn’t hesitate. “The business side of it never gave us a moment’s pause,” he said. “We’ve never had better business.”

And it’s a business with good economics. Used bookstores can beat Amazon and other online booksellers on price, offering shoppers both a browsing experience and a money-saving one. Also, profit margins on used books are better than new ones — so good that many indies are adding used sections.

Sensing a good deal, entrepreneurs are jumping in.

Sierra, 38, is a former Navy officer with an MBA and experience in government contracting. His new store, in a small strip mall on Georgia Avenue NW in Park View, is called Walls of Books, a chain started by ­Gottwals Books in Georgia. The company has opened eight locations since 2012, including one in New Orleans, and offers a training program for owners. The investment is significant: Start-up costs can approach $85,000.

Shane Gottwals, the chain’s co-founder, said some franchisees are fulfilling lifelong dreams to sell books. Others are in it solely for the money. All of them see unmet demand.

Pablo Sierra, who has no background in the books business, is preparing to open Walls of Books in Northwest Washington in January. He says the demand for used books is strong.

“One of the first comments we hear is that the bookstore down the road closed, and there’s no place to buy books anymore,” Gottwals said. “It’s like having a museum or a theater. It’s a cultural center. It’s a place people want to go. And that’s why it’s a good investment.”

It is by no means an easy business. Many used-book retailers — with either bad management or bad locations (or both) — still struggle against the digital headwinds.

For one, Amazon is still just a few clicks away. But some used-bookstore owners have made a shrewd move: widening their customer base by listing their inventories on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, an idea many new-book retailers despise. ­­(The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeffrey P. ­Bezos.)

Wonder Book & Video, with three retail locations in Maryland, sells its used books online through Amazon and other retailers. Sales are so strong that it moved into a three-acre distribution center in Frederick, where 4 million used books line row after row of shelves. It even sells books by the foot, which TV shows and interior designers use for decorating.

And then there’s the inventory: Used bookstores rise and fall based on the books they’re able to buy. They’ve been both savvy and lucky in that department.

Savvy: locating themselves in culturally diverse and book-friendly neighborhoods.

“Everything we have comes from the neighborhood,” said Cymrot of Riverby Books, which also has a store in Fredericksburg, Va. “Our shops are built on the neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods are full of neat people.”

Lucky: Baby boomers are downsizing. (Downsizing is one of the four D’s in how used books surface, the others being divorce, departure and death.)

“We get a lot of our best books that way,” Burwell said. “People are often sad about leaving their books when they move. I tell them they can visit them until they are sold.”

Owners still have to get people in the door. For that, readings and other events have been helpful. Sierra, whose bookstore is in a changing neighborhood with many Hispanic residents, will host bilingual events.

But nothing provides a stronger pull than the experience of browsing — getting lost in the stacks, making serendipitous finds, having chance conversations with interesting people. And with information so easy to find these days, used bookstores offer the thrill of the hunt.

Lori Hamrick, 40, stopped by Reston’s Used Book Shop recently. The store, which opened in 1978, is set among shops and restaurants at Lake Anne Plaza. There’s an old wooden card catalogue in the corner, with cards tracking store credits for customers. The floor creaks. The stacks are unintentionally whimsical: There’s Philip Roth next to Terry Southern.

“I like this,” Hamrick said. “I like books.”

She was looking for several titles — written in a notebook — in a series of historical fiction called “White Indian” by Donald Clayton Porter, a pseudonym for Noel B. Gerson.

Hamrick nosed around the historical fiction section. Nothing. Drat. On a hunch, she checked in westerns. Bingo. She found book #3, “War Chief,” in paperback. She took it home for $1.38.

“I can find these books online, but I don’t want to,” she said. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment. And if you don’t support the little guys, they won’t be around anymore.”

A buck thirty-eight won’t make Burwell and her husband rich, but the economics are good enough for them to pay the bills and do what they love.

Paperbacks, for instance, are bought at 10 percent of their original price, then sold for half the cover price. So they’d buy “Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitizer Prize-winning novel, for $1.60 (10 percent of $16) and then sell it for $8. That’s a 400 percent markup and vastly better than profit margins for new books — or just about any product, for that matter.

Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, said dozens of independent bookstores around the country are featuring used books, and interest is growing.

Jamie Fiocco, the owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., said selling used books — they make up about 6 percent of inventory — gives readers a chance to try a new author for a lower investment. If they find an author they like, they are more likely to buy their next book in hardcover.

And you never know what you’ll find in a used book.

Chacko Chakiath, shopping ­recently at Wonder Book in Gaithersburg, Md., said he seeks out books with plenty of notes in the margins.

“You can go, ‘What were they thinking here?’ ” he said. “Or sometimes I have the same issue they had.”

Wonder Book staffers find postcards, bills, love letters, ­prescriptions — markers not just of pages, but the endurance of print.
Posted by: nacho
« on: July 14, 2011, 11:16:31 AM »

Oh, good! We do have a "death of print" thread... Sort of.

Something a little tongue-in-cheek from the New Yorker:

For years now the populist prophets of new media have been proclaiming the death of books, and the marketplace seems to back them up. Sales of print books in the U.S. peaked in 2005 and have been in steady decline since, according to publishers’ net revenue data reported to the Association of American Publishers.

Watching that trend, I find my grief for the state of civilization comes with a guilty surge of relief. Sure, I would miss books — and so, by the way, would my children — but at least the death of books would put an end to the annoying fact that everyone who works for me is either writing one or wants to. I would get my staff back!

Every month, it seems, some reporter drops by my office to request a leave of absence to write a book. I patiently explain that book-writing is agony — slow, lonely, frustrating work that, unless you are a very rare exception, gets a lukewarm review (if any), reaches a few thousand people and lands on a remaindered shelf at Barnes & Noble. I recount my own experience as a book failure — two incompletes, and I’m still paying back a sizable advance with a yearly check to Simon & Schuster that I think of not as a burden but as bail.
Posted by: nacho
« on: January 21, 2010, 09:05:29 AM »

As predicted, the fall of Borders begins...

Several publishers say payments from Borders have been delayed and they have retained a bankruptcy group as legal counsel, according to Barron's, which quotes a Debtwire report. Borders told Debtwire that it is paying vendors and "is not aware of any material dispute related to its December 2009 payments."

Borders is lying.  I've been warned by the distributor (and so have the hundreds of other publishers they represent) that selling to Borders will probably mean non-payment and, so, lost merchandise.  We've been encouraged to refuse Borders orders.

Of course, Borders talks a big game.  So everyone who shrugs and hopes for the best is selling them merchandise on credit.

When they were closing the UK stores, it took them six months to build up enough money to pay off their debts. 

Now they're in the same pattern...and no way to get a quick influx of cash. 

Borders falling will leave lots of holes in America's strip malls, eh?  And, more disturbingly, they'll take many small presses down with them.  Everyone who blindly sold them inventory, or went against the advice of their distributor or rep, will lose.  Not a fun game to play in a business where every dollar counts.
Posted by: nacho
« on: January 15, 2010, 10:16:49 AM »

It really boils down to logic:  Never trust your art to someone whose only motivation is to make as much money off of you as possible.

They'd rather turn opportunities down that would otherwise put you in front of an audience if those opportunities don't pay enough to cover the work they put in.

Fair enough, of course.  That's their job.  But, in modern publishing, holding out for a big contract with a big publisher is both short-sighted and just plain wrong.  The big publisher will drop you as soon as the book makes under X dollars a year.  But, in many cases, even though they let you go out of print, they'll sit on your book for years.

People ask me daily about agents and publishing, and I always say avoid them.  Work with the small presses, and hire a contract lawyer for negotiation.  That'll cost the writer $500 to a grand in legal work, but then the lawyer goes away and everything else you make off the work is 100% yours.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: January 15, 2010, 09:32:44 AM »

I'm an advocate AGAINST agents.  They don't do anything for you, except tie up your MOVIE needlessly and nickle and dime you for your meager royalties.

What he said.
Posted by: nacho
« on: January 14, 2010, 05:11:01 PM »

I'm an advocate AGAINST agents.  They don't do anything for you, except tie up your manuscript needlessly and nickle and dime you for your meager royalties.

Agents tend to adhere to an old school philosophy of publishing and will either dismiss or hassle small presses because the advance isn't big enough... Though as I've said for years, the advance is actually just a trap.  Quick money for the writer (and the agent) and then the book dies before it gets to paperback because of low sales.

Anyway... Here's a free e-book I just saw pop up in articles debating agents:
Posted by: Cassander
« on: December 31, 2009, 08:27:21 PM »

well, it makes sense that e-books would outsell normal books on christmas day because everyone unwraps their kindle then rushes to try it out.  unless you're like my mom, who put hers in the seat pocket in front of her on the plane to florida and forgot to take it out when she disembarked.  nice, mom.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 31, 2009, 12:21:52 PM »

The Washiington Times. They just cut 40% of their staff and are cutting several sections. Just politics and business now. So come their end days.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 28, 2009, 03:21:43 PM »

Yeah, it sure will be.  Hell, I'm surprised newspapers are still around.  That's even become a joke on TV and in movies: "Who still gets newspapers?"
Posted by: Nubbins
« on: December 28, 2009, 02:54:43 PM »

Yep, it makes sense.  The people I work with are saying that there are going to be Kindle killers coming in about 8 months time.  My brother got a Nook for Christmas because he's been on the road living out of a suitcase for the last 2 years and can't carry a bunch of books with him... he told me he's been reading books on his iPhone for a while now.  I think his Nook even has wifi on it, so this should be the death knell for newspapers as well.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 28, 2009, 01:22:41 PM »

Well, well...

Looks like the switch to digital reading is more official than ever. Amazon reports that on Christmas day, for the first time in its history, it sold more digital books than physical books. Amazon also reports that the Kindle is "the most gifted item in Amazon's history." Not surprising considering it was on track to do just that as of November. But according to Forrester Research estimates, this is just the tip of the iceberg for next year.

Digital reading is most definitely on the upswing
Forrester Research estimates that 3 million e-readers will be sold in the US during 2009 (only a few days left to finish up that count), which is far more than the previous forecast of 2 million sold in 2009. But that's just the beginning of the e-reader wave. The group estimates that the number will double, with 6 million e-readers sold during 2010.

And more at the site.

This is the first time electronic sales have really hit the map.  Distributors and publishers have been hemming and hawing about how ebooks and so on have changed the market.  There hasn't been good research, and the sales numbers are low enough to allow some dismissal.

But, now, things change.

Posted by: nacho
« on: December 10, 2009, 01:22:43 PM »

Holy shit... Kirkus and Editor & Publisher are kaput!

Subject: Kirkus Book Reviews Are Closing for Business!

'Kirkus' Closing

As part of the sale of its business to business publications, Nielsen Business Media has announced that it is closing its book review publication Kirkus Reviews as well as Editor & Publisher. No details on the closing have been released yet. Nielsen is selling its major publications, including The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek to e5 Global Media Holdings.
Posted by: nacho
« on: October 21, 2009, 03:06:33 PM »

Attack on the Kindle! 

It's heavier, has a shorter-lived battery, still doesn't solve the #1 Kindle complaint (web capable), and lacks the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds or blogs.

But it has color icons!  Ooh... Competition!

Barnes & Noble's Kindle competitor may have been the worst-kept secret since balloon boy's disastrous appearance on CNN last week.
Barnes & Noble has unveiled an e-reader called "Nook," which will sell for $260 in November.

Barnes & Noble has unveiled an e-reader called "Nook," which will sell for $260 in November.

But the advance hype doesn't seem to have hurt the launch of the Nook, an impressive-looking $260 device that will go head-to-head with's Kindle, currently the most successful product in a small but growing market for e-book readers.

Basic details of the Nook were published by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday following leaked images that appeared on Gizmodo last week. And Barnes & Noble leaked product details hours before reporters filed into Pier 60 in Manhattan for the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

"Simply following the leader is not in our DNA," said Barnes & Noble president William Lynch.

Indeed, Barnes & Noble's $260 Nook device differs from the Kindle in a number of ways. Most notably, it shares: A feature called LendMe lets users borrow certain books (depending on the publisher's wishes), the same way readers have traditionally traded paper books. The Nook's color touchscreen allows you to navigate titles and enter search terms using a virtual keyboard that goes dark once you're reading.

The Nook will be available for pre-order starting Tuesday night for $260 at, and will ship in November. It has a 6-inch, "paper-like," 16-level grayscale display that supports up to five fonts and various font sizes. It can read a user's PDFs, as well as the 1 million-plus books, magazines and newspapers available in Barnes & Noble's eBook store.

The device connects to the Barnes & Noble eBook store using a free 3G AT&T connection, but lacks a web browser "because those are clumsy" on eReaders, Lynch says. It includes support for the ePub eBook format, FictionWise and PDF, as well as RSS feeds from the internet. However, you can't subscribe to any old RSS feed. Instead, Barnes & Noble selects certain feeds to convert to ePub, then sends them out each morning for a fee that varies by publisher.

Like Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook lets you highlight and annotate content. But Nook's battery life is 10 days, while the Kindle keeps you reading for 14 -- even though at 11.2 ounces the Nook weighs an ounce more.

Unlike the Kindle, the Nook has a Wi-Fi radio that customers will be able to use at Barnes & Noble's more than 700 physical locations and 600 college stores in 50 states. The current version does not allow connection to Wi-Fi networks outside the stores, but will allow Nook owners to digitally flip through books while they're in a Barnes & Noble store and read free content.

The Nook runs Android OS, which Lynch said "works really well for navigating on this small device." However, at this point, third-party developers cannot develop apps for the device, and no version of the reader for generic Android devices is available.

The device packs enough memory to hold up to 1,500 books (2 GB), with a microSD slot that lets you add up to 16 GB more. In addition to e-books in the three formats mentioned above, the device supports a user's pictures and MP3s (it includes a speaker and headphone jack, but there's no text-to-speech engine). Another nice touch: The virtual bookmark feature called Reading Now lets you pick up where you left off on the Nook or on more than 100 other devices with support for Barnes & Noble's eBook store.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Nook and the Kindle is cosmetic. The Nook, with color icons, a wide selection of designer cases and color-customizable back panel, looks like a fashionista compared to the more bookish Kindle.
Posted by: Nubbins
« on: October 07, 2009, 01:05:56 AM »

Modern Bride and Elegant Bride

Well... Good.

They're being replaced by Bride of the Zilla though... so it's kind of a wash.