BOOKSTORES TO OFFER SCREENINGS OF ‘INDIES UNDER FIRE’
Booksellers on the East and West coasts are holding screenings for “Indies Under Fire: The Battle for the American Bookstore,” an award-winning documentary film about the struggles of independent booksellers in California’s Bay Area. Screenings were scheduled in Frostburg, Md., and Berkeley, Calif., and the film has been included in a number of film festivals.
The film won recognition Sept. 30 as “Best New England Film,” honoring a documentary by a New England filmmaker, as its East Coast premiere at the 2006 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival near Boston.
Distribution of the film, which is available on DVD, is two pronged: “First, it’s represented by Filmmaker’s Library, a top distributor to libraries and universities,” and through self-distribution.
Source: Bookselling This Week
NEW DISTRIBUTION COMPANY FORMED
Several managers of Watson-Guptill’s 80,000-square-foot distribution facility in Lakewood, N.J., which will be vacated by the publisher early next year when Holtzbrinck assumes its distribution, have created a distribution company called Innovative Logistics, according to Judith Rosen in Publishers Weekly.
The company, which is taking over the Watson-Guptill facility, will focus on small- and medium-sized companies and use commission rep groups to sell. Its first client is Prestel Publishing, a former Watson-Guptill client.
Source: Shelf Awareness
READER’S DIGEST BOUGHT
Ripplewood Holdings has acquired Reader’s Digest for $2.4 billion, according to Publishers Weekly. The magazine showed an operational loss of nearly $45 million in 2005.
Source: Publishers Weekly
NATIONAL USED TEXTBOOK ASSOCIATION LAUNCHED
The newly formed Used Textbook Association advocates the role and value of used textbooks in the marketplace and is working toward a solution to the problem of textbook affordability while providing students with high-quality educational materials.
Barry Major, chief operating officer of the Nebraska Book Company and president of the Used Textbook Association, says, “With textbook prices soaring, used textbooks are a viable option to dramatically reduce the cost students and parents are facing. In many cases, buying used textbooks can reduce the cost of a textbook by 75 percent.”
Over the next year, the Used Textbook Association will be focused on adding additional bookstores as members; supporting legislation to assist professors in understanding changes in new editions and aiding in the de-coupling of textbook packages; informing faculty of the importance of timely adoptions to create stronger buy-back programs; and launching a proactive campaign to increase the supply of used textbooks.
The Used Textbook Association was formed in August by BUDGEText, MBS Textbook Exchange, Nebraska Book Company, New Jersey Books, Southeastern Book Company, Texas Book Company and Tichenor College Textbook Company. The Association is currently in the initial membership recruitment phase with close to 50 members.
Info: www.usedtextbookassociation.org, or 888-724-3338.
Source: Used Textbook Association
‘THE AUDACITY OF HOPE’ A HIT AT CHANGING HANDS
Senator Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” was featured at Changing Hands Book Store in Tempe, Ariz. Shelf Awareness reported that nearly 2,000 people were turned away from an offsite reading by the senator.
Tickets for the event were $35 and some 1,400 attended.
In other Obama news, Abebooks.com reported that a bookseller on their site was asking $1,698 for a signed first edition of Obama’s 1995 title, “Dreams from My Father.”
Source: Shelf Awareness
NEW E-BOOK STANDARD FROM IDPF
The International Digital Publishing Forum announced a step toward streamlining digital distribution with the development of the Open eBook Publication Structure Container Format (OCF), a new standard for digital content creation and distribution that allows publishers to release a single standardized content file to online retailers and distributors.
Nick Bogaty, IDPF executive director, said the new standard has attracted support “from all sectors of the publishing industry.”
The Association of American Publishers and the IDPF were scheduled to hold a joint meeting Nov. 29 at the AAP’s New York office to educate publishers on the use of the new standard. Info: idpf.org.
Source: Publishers Weekly
LIQUIDATION BEGINS AT TOWER
All 89 Tower stores, which include two Tower Books, are closing for good after Great American Group, a liquidating company, won a bankruptcy court-supervised auction and bought Tower’s inventory for about $134.3 million, according to the Sacramento Bee. The money will go to Tower’s creditors, who are owed some $200 million. The going-out-of-business sale will likely take eight to 10 weeks.
At its height a decade ago, Tower had $1 billion a year in sales and owned more than 200 stores around the world. During the company’s first bankruptcy two years ago, the Solomon family gave up 85 percent of ownership to bondholders. The company filed for bankruptcy again in August. In its most recent fiscal year, sales were $430 million and were continuing to drop.
Source: Shelf Awareness
INDIE BUYING GROUP ORDERS 35K BOOKS
The independent booksellers’ buying group, led by Tim Walker of Walkers Bookshops and wholesaler THE, is planning the next step of its campaign after ordering more than 35,000 books for Christmas.
Launched this summer with 100 bookshops combining their buying power to negotiate discounts of between 50 percent and 57.5 percent for 30 titles for Christmas, the buying group now comprises more than 130 independents.
TOP UK BESTSELLERS
The UK’s new No. 1 book is Martina Cole’s “Close” (Headline), which set a new record for a weekly sale by a hardback fiction title—Harry Potter excepted—with 37,423 copies shifted, an average of well over 5,000 a day. It was a half-price Book of the Week offer at both WH Smith and Waterstone’s.
The leading non-fiction title, Peter Kay’s “The Sound of Laughter” (Century), was a fraction off claiming the top spot for the first time, with sales of 37,086 copies. The Guinness World Records annual and Lemony Snicket’s “The End” (Egmont) also sold in excess of 30,000 copies, while the week’s highest new entry was “Lisey’s Story” by Stephen King (Hodder).
BORDERS OPENS FIRST STORE IN IRELAND
Borders opened its first book, music and movie superstore in the Republic of Ireland in the West Dublin suburb of Blanchardstown on Oct. 27.
The new 22,000 square foot Blanchardstown store will feature more than 100,000 book, music, movie and periodical titles and will follow the family-friendly retail park format that has become so popular with customers in Great Britain. The spacious ground floor will display Borders’ comprehensive range of books, CDs and DVDs, a Paperchase gifts and stationary shop, newspapers and the widest selection magazines in the marketplace.
There will be a strong focus on books written by Irish authors—including Irish biography, history, cooking and sports, as well as Irish fiction.
Borders Ireland Ltd. was established in 2006 as a subsidiary of Borders Group, which has more than 1,300 stores worldwide and revenues of $4 billion.
PENGUIN TO PUBLISH CASTRO MEMOIR IN UK
Penguin is expected to publish Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s life story. The publisher is promising frank discussion of everything from Castro’s earliest influences to his relationship with Che Guevara and his thoughts on issues such as the death penalty and homosexuality.
Source: The Book Standard
ORHAN PAMUK WINS NOBEL LITERATURE PRIZE
Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who stood trial this year for insulting his country, won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature in a decision some critics assailed as politically charged.
The Swedish Academy declared Pamuk the winner on a day when, to Turkey’s fury, the French lower house of parliament approved a bill making it a crime to deny that the Armenian genocide had occurred.
The 54-year-old Pamuk shot to fame with novels that explore Turkey’s complex identity through its rich imperial history.
His most recent work, “Istanbul: Memories of a City,” intersperses personal reminiscences of childhood and youth with reflections on the city’s Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past.
Pamuk is the first non-American to have won so far in this year’s Nobels after Americans scooped prizes for medicine, chemistry, physics and economics.
The award comes with a cash prize of approximately $1.4 million. Last year’s Nobel Prize winner was playwright Harold Pinter.
Source: Reuters, The Book Standard.
WATERSTONE’S DOUBLES TV SPENDING, PREDICTS ‘DIFFICULT’ CHRISTMAS
Waterstone’s is to double its television advertising spending this Christmas, as it introduces a new set of animated characters to promote key titles. Gerry Johnson has warned that Christmas 2006 is likely to be “even more difficult than last year.”
At a presentation to more than 100 publishers in central London on Oct. 16, head of marketing Sandra Adar outlined the chain’s plans to “widen the appeal to lighter book buyers and the gift market.”
Waterstone’s said its TV spending would double this year, with ads for children’s books, half price offers and various offer of the week deals.