No examination of the Bay Area publishing scene would be complete without highlighting the many digital publishing and distribution startups in the area.
It's not just that Tsutaya feels more upscale than other bookstores. It's that it celebrates words and books, and the people who read and write them, in a thoughtful, seductive, and ultra-contemporary way.
Don't get me wrong: This is a business, not a cultural institution. It sells books from 7:00 am till 2:00 am every day of the week, closing only to clean and restock. And it's always packed. This first location has proved such a hit that another site has already opened in the Kanagawa area outside Tokyo
US bookstores may soon face competition from their northern neighbor. Indigo Books & Music, Canada's biggest bookstore chain, was one of North America's only big-box chain bookstores that survived the threats posed by e-reading and Amazon. Now, Indigo says it wants to expand in the US.
That's according to Chief Executive Officer Heather Reisman, who spoke withBloomberg in an article published Tuesday. "I want the stock back up at 20 and beyond, that's my ambition: make this thrive and then take it outside the country," Ms. Reisman told Bloomberg.
Over the last two years, the company began demonstrating solid signs of recovery. Barnes & Noble paid off all of its outstanding debt, and as of January 31, 2015, the only obligations it has are operating leases and preferred convertible shares. The company also shifted away from its device-centered strategy to a content-centered strategy for the Nook by signing an agreement with Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) to sell co-branded tablets carrying the Nook logo.
With the number of indie bookstores in the US growing every year, no one can argue that they are on the rise. B&N may be closing stores left, right, and center, but indies are doing great. That is why I found myself deeply confused when I read this bit on The Bookseller yesterday:
Standing in this beautiful new Foyles store to launch ALLi's Authors For Bookstores campaign, for a moment we can fool ourselves that reports of the decline of bricks-and-mortar bookshops are greatly exaggerated.
Frustrated by a lack of opportunity to display and sell their work, self-published children's author and illustrator Patti Brassard Jefferson and history author Timothy Jacobs decided to create a bookstore of their own, Gulf Coast Bookstore, and to only sell books by indie authors.
"It's just hard to compete with Stephen King or Dan Brown in a mega-bookstore that has tens of thousands of books for sale," says Jacobs.
Giving the keynote speech at the London Book Fair's Digital Minds conference on Monday, the bestselling writer spoke of the six months he has spent touring with his latest novel Us, published last autumn. During the publicity tour he noticed the closure of stores in New York and London, singling out the loss of Exmouth Market's Clerkenwell Tales for particular regret. "I felt an all too familiar sadness, usually accompanied by guilt because while you're sorry the shop has gone, you're also vaguely aware that you hadn't bought anything there for a while,"
Now that Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have parted ways on a partnership to produce and sell the Nook e-reader, the book retailer is yet again faced with having to reimagine its business model for an increasingly tech-centric world.
For inspiration, it should look no further than the coffee shops inside many of its stores, according to Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader.
"Barnes & Noble doesn't really know who its competition is," said Fader, who is also co-director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative. "It always thought it was Amazon or other companies that are selling books.
That bookstore shelf space is disappearing is a reality that nobody denies. It makes sense that there are people trying to figure out how to arrest the decline. There has been some recent cheerleading about the "growth" of indie bookstores, but the hard reality is that they're expanding shelf space more slowly than chains are shrinking it. No publisher today can make a living selling books just through brick-and-mortar bookstores. For straight text reading, it is rapidly becoming an ancillary channel, a special market.
There is no doubt that the industry is in a period of significant transition. What can we expect 10 to 15 years from now?