Round up #153: book deserts and B&N’s sales
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
PEN America to hold “Literary Protest” at NYPL
According to this
and other sources, PEN America is planning a demonstration in favor of freedom of expression on Sunday, January 15 starting at 2:00 PM at the New York Public LIbrary. It will feature famous authors (including two poet laureates) reading outside the NYPL. They will then go to the President-Elect’s residence to present a petition (which can be signed online) to “DEFEND THE FIRST AMENDMENT”.
PEN America is association with PEN International, which goes back to 1921. PEN now stands for “Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists”, although it was originally just Poets, Essayists, Novelists.
I think it’s worth taking a moment for me to explain when I choose to include stories (both here and in the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard) which are arguably political. Regular readers know that this blog strives to be open to people of all opinions…whether or not I personally agree with those opinions. I’m happy to say that I’ve been told that readers aren’t sure of my own political feelings…I don’t want people to feel like they can’t make any respectful comments here they want.
My standard is that the story has to be about the topics of interest to this blog…for me, this is a story about the authors who will be there, rather than about the President-Elect. The P-E is an element of the story, but if it was a demonstration by people who were unconnected to publishing, e-books, or Amazon I wouldn’t include it.
I believe I would be just as likely to cover it if it was a demonstration about the current President or any President.
Saying that, the authors appearing (and there are many and they expect more to appear) include:
- Robert Pinsky (Poet Laureate Consultant)
- Rita Dove (Poet Laureate Consultant)
- Laurie Anderson (Margaret A. Edwards Award winner)
- Art Spiegelman (cartoonist author of Maus)
- Rick Moody (The Ice Storm)
The public is invited, and the first two on this list will reportedly read new poems.
While Amazon has moved a bit into brick-and-mortar, it’s clearly to the advantage of Amazon for people to move more to online shopping (which is clearly happening).
I do believe brick-and-mortar stores of some kinds can continue to thrive…ones that give special experiences when people go there, and ones where the customers are consciously willing to spend more money to support them.
Unfortunately, it’s not good news from some famous brick-and-mortars. We’ve heard recently about significant closings of
- Macys (68)
- The Limited (all 250)
- Sears (150 between Sears and K-Mart)
The Millions Great 2017 Book Preview
My guess is that this is going to be a big year for publishing, and this
does a nice job of going through month by month, and giving you a paragraph about each. My guess is that you’ll find something that at least intrigues you there. 🙂
Barnes & Noble’s holiday sales…as I figured
we see Barnes & Noble’s holiday sales report…and they were down 9.1% comparable store sales year to year. That’s a lot! They didn’t have any good excuses for it…”lower traffic” should be something that the store managers can affect.
They also note the decline in adult coloring books…that should have been entirely predictable (and I’m writing as a former brick-and-mortar store manager). It was a fad…doesn’t mean it entirely disappears, but it was the kind of thing likely to have a parabolic arc…or at least a turtle curve.
They’d better hope Leonard Riggio is right in describing the season as “unusual”.
A nice infographic on romances by Avery Burch
Romances, science fiction/fantasy, mysteries…fans of these genres sometimes read prodigious amounts. I’d say that’s especially true of romances, where I would have regular customers come in and buy easily thirty a month (mostly from Harlequin).
There is an infographic by Avery Bunch in this
that has some really interesting stats about romance books…and who reads them. I’d love to have a bit more info and a bit less graphic, but still worth seeing.
Mike Shatzkin on challenges for publishers in 2017
I strongly recommend this
Shatzkin programmed and moderated the first seven
shows (the next one is January 17-19).
This is certainly represents an informed opinion, and as such, is more than just worth reading.
One thing: John Sargent of Macmillan, who famously clashed with Jeff Bezos some time back, will be speaking…and that’s only one of the presentations likely to make some waves.
talks about “book deserts”…how disadvantaged neighborhoods may have a tiny fraction of the books available to buy in them compared to more affluent on ones.
One example they give:
“One middle-income neighborhood had one book available per every two children living in the neighborhood. In a nearby low-income neighborhood, 830 children would have to share a single book.”
E-books do make a difference…it’s much easier to get a variety of e-books into an area than it is to get an equivalent number of p-books (paperbooks).
It’s obviously easier to get e-books if you own your own EBR (E-Book Reader), but e-books are available if you at least have a computer available to you (although not as conveniently).
Even given that, it does sadden me to think about so many children who can’t hang out in bookstores, which was always one of my favorite things to do. Yes, there are public libraries…but they also are less common in poorer neighborhoods.
Do you have thoughts about any of these stories? Feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.
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* When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.