“Sales at independent bookstores rose about 8 percent in 2012 over 2011, according to a survey by the American Booksellers Association (ABA). This growth was all the more remarkable since the sales of the national chain Barnes & Noble were so tepid.”—Check out this uplifting article about the remarkable success of independent booksellers across the country!
“We have to figure out how we stay in the game. You have to rethink your whole business model, because the old ways really aren’t going to cut it anymore.”—Manhattan’s Bank Street Bookstore director, Beth Puffer • Discussing the fate of the independent bookseller at the Winter Institute, the equivalent of Bonnaroo for independent bookstores. While the number of independent bookstores has stabilized in recent years after Barnes & Noble and Borders ate their lunch, many changes are on the horizon – some bad enough to take out the big kids in the industry like Borders. Now, what was once an endeavor of stacking books on a shelf and organizing sections is a matter that requires much more – social media, cool Web sites, the whole thang. But, as important as this stuff is becoming, it can’t be everything. “At a certain point, I begin to feel like we don’t need more PR,” said Connecticut-based bookseller RJ Julia’s founder and president, Roxanne Coady. “We need sales.” source (via • follow)
Special Announcement: LEE MARVIN: Point Blank is an IPPY Award Winner!
Congratulations to Dwayne Epstein on winning the Bronze Medal in the the 2013 IPPY (Independent Publishers Award) for biography with LEE MARVIN: Point Blank! As publisher it is a tremendous honor to have been selected for this prestigious award which highlights the year’s best of the independent presses.
Awards Director Jim Barnes reported the results in today’s official press release, and stated: “Conducted each year to honor the year’s best independently published books, the “IPPY” Awards recognize excellence in a broad range of subjects and reward authors and publishers who “take chances and break new ground.” Independent publishers, along with independent booksellers, have long held an important role in the world of books, offering an alternative to “the big five” conglomerated media publishers. Thanks to small presses, university presses, and self-publishing services that give experimental and entrepreneurial authors a platform, the IPPY universe is rapidly expanding — and that gives adventurous readers a plethora of new choices.”
Schaffner Press is thrilled to be included among the 382 winners in 77 categories, drawn from a pool of over 5,000 contestants, from 44 states, and seven countries, and firmly stands by the challenge to “take chances and break new ground” in future publishing efforts!
What's the Boy Scout motto...
…be prepared, right?
Yeah it is. So that’s why, even though we’re certain most of you are still recovering from the pressure of finding Mom the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, we feel it is our duty as your booksellers to remind you that Father’s Day is a month away. That’s right folks, June 16th will be here before you blink and we want you to be prepared.
So let’s get some suggestions going, shall we?
Whatever type of dad you’ve got, we’ve got you covered. From sports to current events to books to share with the younger kids, it’s all at Fountain! We’ve also got your card needs under control, too! So stop in, be prepared, and don’t stress out on the 15th.
*Best read with a French inflection
Saving old books—and their keepers
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
For me, there is something quite mesmerizing about old books. They have an odd life to them that speaks, excuse me, volumes about place and era that the newer ones just cannot possess. The thickness of the paper, the beauty of the bindings, the embossed titles, sometimes even gilded edges, the end papers and, if blessed, etchings separated by fragile onion skin—these things are what draw me to the old, sometimes ready to be discarded, fragile and treasured holders of the past.
Old books have a language that speaks of their location—lifts and prams and torches for elevators and baby carriages and flashlights. Even though some of these words might still be used today, to have them set in times past, gives them such a greater sense of importance, takes them out of the everyday and makes them words of cozy placement in a world one does not know, but would like to perhaps.
Old books can tell us what new ones cannot in a way they cannot—because they were written at the time events occurred. These words tell it like it is—when it was. We get to go to the places and visit as if natives. We get to meet the people, taste the food, understand the relationships of class and the not so privileged, we can almost hear the train whistle, the horses whinny, smell the squalor in a tennement and feel the cold of the winter in a 6th century monastery.
Old books have a heft and feel to them that new books will never have. When the pages are turned, one has to be careful; even though the paper is thick, it is by now fragile, turned yellow, sometimes even brown with age. But there is pleasure in the turning.
And there is pleasure in the places where old books are mostly kept well and found—independent bookshops. These places are treasures in and of themselves. Usually, they are old as well. Seldom do you find old book shops in new dwellings; it just does not fit somehow, though it can happen. Generally, however, you know, even without a sign, just by walking in—this is a place and a keeper of books.
It is the smell of age—it is a mixture of elderly dust and paper and musty leather and cloth. It is the smell of books. There is nothing else like it, and we book people just know it when we are enveloped by it. And that’s what happens as soon as we walk into a book shop. We are just blanketed, cozied up and comforted and happily giddy to be in our element—surrounded by a hundred, nay thousands of old books.
We look expectantly at the bookseller who has immediately welcomed us with a knowing smile—he or she can recognize the look as soon as we walk in the door. This is a lover of my books, of my place.
“I wonder,” we say with a hopeful grin,”might you have a copy of ‘Password to Larkspur Lane’, the light blue cover with orange title?”
Gleefully, the bookseller comes around the counter and says, “You know, I think I just saw that a couple of days ago! Won’t you follow me?”
And off you go, either down a musty hallway, or around one corner of shelves, or weaving through one room into another after the treasure, on the hunt together. Because old booksellers and old book buyers are in it together—always. It’s about the hunt—finding the treasure. It isn’t that cold kind of “Sorry, don’t think I’ve ever heard of that.” or “We don’t carry anything older than 1995.” or the hideous “Maybe you could find that on Amazon.com.”
Independent booksellers are disappearing as fast as many of the old books. Internet ordering and big box stores are making it extremely difficult for them to survive these days. All of them still order and carry new releases; so, to compete with the big box outfits that can order thousands of copies, compared with their dozens makes them guppies in a fishbowl compared with the shark in the sea.
But they talk to you and care about what you want to find, and they will hunt for it. They will order one copy for you, and have it in when you need it. They are happy to see you when you come in, and they miss you when you don’t show up for a while. They laugh out loud when you tell them that this year, their book shop became a line item on your personal budget. They appreciate the fact that you came in for one book, but know that at least five or more will call your name before you get out the door. They care about the fact that you love books, and their shop and care about them staying in business.
I love old books and new books, tattered books, books I have read before and will read again. I cannot go into a bookstore and leave empty handed. Somehow, I think it is an insult to the books to leave them stranded for too long, lonely on those shelves. I think they would be much happier on mine. There are books in every room in our home—and I have read them all, many of them more than once.
And I want independent booksellers to survive, especially www.mcdowellsemporium.com here in Anderson, SC, because it is the one I frequent the most often, the one I cannot leave without carrying out a bag full of treasures, the one I want to be there, not to spite the big box outfits, but because it belongs as a keeper of the old books, as well as the new. And because it is just plain fun to be there.
I know that many folks are going to e-readers and the like—I suppose because of convenience they think in not having to lug bulky books with them—because they can have “at their fingertips” as many books as they like. Well, for me, I want “at my fingertips” the feel of paper turning under them, the spine of a well covered book in them. I want to be able to trace the embossing on the cover with those fingertips, not swipe a cold screen with them. I do not want to curse a frozen technological nightmare just when it gets to the good part; rather, I want to keep reading into the night and on into the morning, just because it’s a page turner worthy of that endeavor.
And I want to know that I can always go to my local bookseller to find my next treasure, that I can walk in that door, be surrounded by that cozy feeling one gets nowhere else, see those stacks and stacks of old, old friends on shelves and say, “I wonder, might you have a copy of….”
“Mr. Manjoo admits that he’s a fan of both Amazon and comparison shopping because, he says, he hates “paying more than he should.” That’s an interesting choice of words. Does he mean, for instance, that he hates paying more than he “has to”? This is the crux of the matter. What should we pay? That’s not quite the same as to ask, Where can I buy this cheapest? Mr. Manjoo is correct to point out that the analogy between buying books locally and buying produce locally is imprecise. The Steve Jobs biography is the same book wherever we buy it. It’s the effect of buying it locally that differs. If you buy the book locally, the sales tax you pay will fund local schools and fill local potholes. You aren’t paying more than you should. You’re just paying, up front, what it’s going to cost in the end, after your taxes go up. If you imagine that potholes get filled for free or that they’re paid for by somebody else, you’re deluding yourself. Or, suppose your taxes don’t go up and the pothole doesn’t get repaired. You drive over it and damage the bottom of your car. Won’t the cost of repair eat into your Amazon savings? And if you think local schools shouldn’t be funded adequately, then shame on you.”— An open letter from Richard Russo [in response to an article in Slate] from Mr. Russo’s Facebook page here…
“Before getting in to Manjoo’s argument, I just want to highlight some of the terms and phrases he uses in relation to bookstores and their fans:
“most mistakenly mythologized”
“frustrating consumer experience”
“no customer reviews”
“no reliable way to find what you’re looking for”
“dubious recommendations engine”
“difficult to use”
“my wife—an unreformed local-bookstore cultist”
“hectoring attitude of bookstore cultists”
“allegedly important functions that local booksellers”
If I didn’t know better, I’d say that a bookstore must’ve stole Farhad’s girlfriend at some point in time. This is vitriol, or in schoolyard parlance, them’s fightin words.”
- Chad W. Post
Indie Bookstore Crawl for this Evening
Tonight, I’m going not on a pub crawl, but on a crawl of independent booksellers around New York City. If you would like to follow the action, I’ll be tumbling along at #wnbanyc on this blog and Twitter.
I fear that I’ll need a designated truck driver to take me home after one too many book purchases.
I’ll keep you posted.
“The nation's smallest capital city is home to three appropriately quirky bookstores – not a huge number, unless you consider that the population is only 7,000. Montpelier residents covet bookstores the way San Franciscans do their sourdough bread and Denverites their mile-high air.”—Read more about the happening independent bookstore scene in Montpelier here.
Who we are and how we work
We’re an independent used bookstore in Hamilton, New Jersey. We have thousands of titles.
We sell all paperbacks for 1/2 their retail cost and hardcovers sell for $5. Some books may be priced slightly higher but will be clearly marked. We also have a selection of bookmarks, magnets and other items, discounted 20%.
We accept books for store credit only. You will get 20% of the retail price on paperback books in credit, and can use your store credit for 1/2 the purchase of books from the store. We accept limited hardcovers for which you will receive 20% of our sell cost.
We accept most books except old textbooks and encyclopedias - any books we cannot use and give credit for, we will return if asked or we donate to local library or charitable organization.