I've just been informed by a fellow Brooklyn litblogger -- and have since confirmed with the man himself -- that Larry Portzline has decided to quit the bookstore tourism business.
Don't try to find his noted Bookstore Tourism blog -- it's not there anymore. In fact, Larry's taken down all of his related sites. Here's an article about his project in the New York Sun if you're curious.
Larry was trying to raise funds for a nationwide indie bookstore tour -- he had lined up media, made a massive itinerary of indie bookstores across the country, and had appealed to the ABA and the regional associations and other organizations in publishing to help fund the tour.
Apparently, not enough folks stepped up.
After five years of appearing at trade shows, running Bookstore Tourism buses in New York and California, writing a book, and enjoying the approval of the indie community.... Larry found that no one wanted to put their money behind his project.
I'm disappointed, and a little ashamed of us.* Making bookstores a destination is one of the ways that independent bookstores can remain vital and viable. It sucks that no one believes that enough to fund it.
You'll probably be hearing more from me on this. In the meantime, what do you think?
* And honestly, I'm also surprised: I was at the NAIBA fall board meeting when this came up, and while the bylaws don't allow me to tell you about the conversation, the decision was made to make a donation to the tour, though not as much as had initially been requested. My impression then was that other regionals were donating as well. Maybe that didn't come through, or maybe it just wasn't enough.
Public Talk at Waikato Museum
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