Book News Bookstores Ebooks

Steve Jobs Biography and Other Hot Titles Bookstore Lures

Steve Jobs Biography and Other Hot Titles Bookstore Lures –

the initial weeks of Christmas shopping, a boom time for the book business, have yielded surprisingly strong sales for many bookstores, which report that they have been lifted by an unusually vibrant selection; customers who seem undeterred by pricier titles; and new business from people who used to shop at Borders, the chain that went out of business this year.

Despite all the news about the growing popularity of ebooks, readers seem to be returning to traditional books–and traditional bookstores–this holiday season.

“This year so far, it’s been the year of nonfiction,” said Peter Aaron, owner of the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, citing “The Beauty and the Sorrow,” a history of World War I by Peter Englund, and “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, an exploration of thinking and intuition. “What’s extraordinary about the books that are out there is that they’ve been so well written and such a pleasure to read. Maybe people have an appetite for nonfiction right now, just for some sort of grounding in reality.”

Book Groups Bookstores

What My Book Group Is Reading

This article about a book group originally formed at a Borders store prompted me to post about my own formerly-Borders group. We are a general group. Although fiction probably dominates, we read both fiction and nonfiction. We originated about 12 years ago in a Borders store that went down in the first round of closings. Still lead by our former Borders employee, we have relocated to the cafe of a nearby Barnes & Noble store. We meet once a month.

Right now we are focusing on books about Hemingway’s expat experience in Europe in the 1920s. Hemingway has been much in the news because of  the 50th anniversary earlier this month of his suicide. And there’s a lot of current interest in Paris–for example, Woody Allen’s new movie Midnight in Paris.

Here’s what we’re reading now:

  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: his’s account of life in Paris in the 1920s.
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: a novel narrated in the first person by Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife, about her life with struggling-writer husband.
  • The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway: his first published novel, covering life in Europe in the 1920.
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough: the story of how famous Americans brought back their findings about Paris between 1830 and 1900.
Bookstores Personal

Why Borders Failed While Barnes & Noble Survived : NPR

It appears to be all over for the Borders bookselling chain. The company will be liquidated — meaning sold off in pieces — and almost 11,000 employees will lose their jobs. The chain’s 400 remaining stores will close their doors by the end of September.

Say what you like, it’s a sad day for book lovers when any bookstore closes. And here’s another piece from NPR explaining ramifications of the demise of Borders.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, someone created the hashtag #ThankUBorders asking people to post their memories of and tributes to Borders. Mine was that at my local Borders I met many people through book groups who are now my best friends.

So yes, I will miss my local Borders. How about you?


Publishers Make a Plan: A ‘One Stop’ Book Site

Publishers have spent a lot of time and money building their own company Web sites with fresh information on their books and authors. The trouble is, very few book buyers visit them.

In search of an alternative, three major publishers said on Friday that they would create a new venture, called, which is expected to make its debut late this summer. The site intends to provide information for all things literary: suggestions on what books to buy, reviews of books, excerpts from books and news about authors. Visitors will also be able to buy books directly from the site or from other retailers and write recommendations and reviews for other readers.

The New York Times reports on this new site, which will initially be funded by major publishers Simon & Schuster, PenguinGroup USA, and Hachette Book Group. is scheduled to debut late this summer.

Bookstores Personal

Borders Files for Chapter 11, Announces Store Closings

Borders Group, Inc. Website

The book world has been speculating on this for a long time, and now it’s official. Borders will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and, as part of its reorganization strategy, will close about 200 stores nationwide. You can download the store list from the sidebar on the left of this page.

I was dismayed to see that my local Borders store, where I’ve attended book discussions and made many friends over the last 12 or 13 years, is on the list. Another store not too far from my house will remain open. I’ve often gone to this other store to study, and it’s a fine place. But it won’t hold the same memories for me that “my” Borders has.

Book News Bookstores Publishing

Books | Who buys books? 40-year-old women

Books | Who buys books? 40-year-old women and others | Seattle Times Newspaper:

Bowker, a global firm that tracks people’s book-buying habits, reports some interesting statistics about book-buying in the U.S.

And, in what is no surprise at all, women make 64% of all book purchases.

Bookstores Ebooks

Another Weak Quarter from Borders; Expands Non-book Offerings


Another Weak Quarter from Borders; Expands Non-book Offerings:

Watch for changes as Borders scrambles to reposition itself in the consumer world:

Capital expenditures in the quarter increased to $7.7 million from $1.2 million as the company invested in digital programs and Borders said its ‘Area-e’ digital section will be opened in all stores by the end of October. The section will sell an array of (low price) dedicated e-readers. Earlier this week, Borders lowered the price of the Kobo e-reader to $129.99 and on the Libre Pro to $99.99.

To improve the customer experience at its physical stores, Borders said it is adding more non-book product in an effort it said to differentiate itself in the market. ‘We are taking steps to transform our retail model, in part through high-impact strategic partnerships, like Build-A-Bear Workshop, that enable us to offer a compelling mix of lifestyle focused products,’ said CEO Mike Edwards in a statement. ‘By offering a rich and relevant selection of product – both book and non-book – together with an exceptional customer experience, we will differentiate Borders from others in the marketplace.’

In addition to the Build-A-Bear Workshop, Borders is adding more educational children toys and games, adult games and puzzles, stationery and will expand its bargain book and value book segments. According to Edwards, its research shows that its customer base is largely female and that fact will drive all of its strategic efforts moving forward.