There's lots of good news and bad news in Bookselling This Week.
On the one hand, bookstore sales are apparently down over last year for the 12th month in a row. And there's another piece on the closing of Bennett Books.
On the other hand, eleven new independents opened in the month of July. And the California town of Stockton (named after some distant relative of mine, I've been told) successfully passed legislation that will keep out big-box stores. And there's also a piece on how bookstores are using MySpace for publicity and community building.
And the future just keeps on coming on. HarperCollins has announced that it will release free samples of new books in an electronic format that can be read on the Apple iPhone (I first came across this on a fellow LBC member's blog, but now I can't remember whose). You can download them here on the HarperCollins Browse Inside page. The language suggests the brief downloadable passages are meant to replicate the experience of browsing before buying, rather than being the precursor to entire books being available for iPhone reading. What do you think of that, readers?
In a more leisurely vein, novelist Nicole Krauss has a nice piece about walking in New York in the Times, and there are more where that came from. I came across this in the UrbanEye, the Times daily email newsletter, which always has great suggestions for what to do today (I'm always thrilled when McNally Robinson gets recommended). You can sign up for UrbanEye here.
And in Brooklyn this weekend: I was sad to miss the Fort Greene Summer Literary Festival on Saturday (I work late that day), but Brooklyn author and blogger Richard Grayson has a great write-up of the Festival on his blog.
On the agenda today: compile a SWOT analysis of bookstore competition in Brooklyn. The hard question: what exactly are the Weaknesses and Threats facing, say, Amazon, at least in the eyes of the financial professionals who will read this? Any suggestions welcome.
Hopefully some book reviews later this week. Happy reading!