The bookish barristas at Church Street Coffee & Books have organized something cool next week. They call it ‘Bookstravaganza’ and it kicks off on April 22nd, with a books-themed scavenger hunt, ending April 26th. Starting on the 22nd, the indie bookstore will start posting cryptic clues for their Facebook and Twitter followers. Once decoded, the answer will points to another local Birmingham business where a free book is waiting on the first successful code cracker. So that’s four days of following for freebies. Sounds fun!
They are also running a neat promo inside the store, which I’m anxious to go by and try out. Basically, they’re inviting you to scan the books, on the shelves, with your smartphone to get the super-secret discount (10%-50% off) price. Some of the books will also score you a free cookie or coffee.
Other events planned during the week that is Bookstravaganza 2013:
April 23rd (all day) – World Book Night giveaways, with hundreds of books to be given away free to help encourage reading. Many of which volunteers will hide in places around the city. This is a global event and very cool that they are participating.
So grab your decoder ring, smartphone barcode reader and follow Church Street Coffee & Books on Facebook and Twitter to play along next week. Bookstravaganza sounds like four days of fun promoting local businesses, reading and books, books, books!
The first 10 minutes of this short film are fantastic. I would love to get lost in the stacks of an old shop just like this boy does. Lots of great imagery here as a boy finds himself exploring the last bookshop in England. The film was produced in an effort to support local bookshops and stress the importance of them. They have a site for the film as well so you can learn more about the shops shown in the film, bookshops in the UK as well as the movie score. Lot’s to think about while watching this short movie.
What did you think of the short film?
The 2012 Politics & Prose Holiday Gift Guide is out. It’s a free PDF download from their site as well. There are a gazillion good recommendations, but very few that you won’t find featured at one of Birmingham’s local bookstores. But, if you’re on this site you are probably of the ilk that enjoys scrolling through pages and pages of book covers and book reviews. I know I do.
One thing that I find particularly worrisome is the lack of books about books. The section under Biblio-graphic has one book My Ideal Bookshelf and there is also the new slipcased issue of the Book of Kells, which isn’t really about books per-se, but I think most bookish folks would appreciate the new edition as well as the place in book history that the Book of Kells holds. Anyway, this must be rectified! I am now on a mission here at the end of 2012 to chronicle the 10 Best Books about Books published this year.
Tomorrow, December 1st, 2012 is the third annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. The day was started as a way to encourage parents to get their kids in bookstores and browsing; simply to instill a love of books and bookstores. Needless to say Take Your Child to a Bookstore has grown into more of a movement as bookstores offer deals and the group’s plans have grown. However you approach it, getting kids into a bookstore and getting them excited about all of the possibilities offered is a great idea.
The group’s map only lists two shops in Alabama as “officially” participating, Capital Book & News in Montgomery and Page and Palette in Fairhope. Are there others? No doubt, every day is a great day to get the kids into bookshops, but it’s nice when something crops up to put indie bookstores back in the media. You can keep up with the Take Your Child to a Bookstore folks on their Facebook page or site.
The American Bookseller Association is teaming up with 20+ publishers and independent booksellers across the country for a special week of promotions called “Thanks for Shopping Indie”. The ABA helped get special pricing on a select set of titles for independent bookshops, so they can pass that extra-lower price on to their customers.
The event kicks off in conjunction with Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24th) and runs through December 1st. So mark yoru calendars and be on the lookout for the “Thanks for Shopping Indie” logo as there may be some good book deals to be had.
It’s great to see this promo. I was so disappointed when Google left independents hanging. I’ve stopped by a few local shops looking for the new Kobo displays, but haven’t seen any yet. So yes, I now have the perfect excuse to canvas the town this weekend and visit all of the local shops.
The fact that the Vestavia Hills Cokesbury store will close its doors early next year has been confirmed via phone. Yesterday, the United Methodist Publishing House announced that they were closing all 38 of their full-line stores and 19 of their school campus/seminary bookstores.
The statement says that the United Methodist Publishing House and Cokesbury are bowing to their customers’ trending to buying online, which makes the overhead of keeping stores open too high.
They tried to spin a little positive angle by announcing a new online selling system called CokesburyNEXT, but it just won’t be the same as being able to go into a bookstore and thumb through the weighty texts that make up many religious books. It’s really too bad. The local Cokesbury staff has always been great and helpful. So sad to see another bookstore close.
Two Alabama bookstores are featured in the soon-to-be-released book My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop. Both the Alabama Booksmith and Fairhope’s Page & Palette made the cut! The book, published by Black Dog & Levanthal, hits bookstore shelves on November 13th and is a collection of essays written by famous authors about their favorite bookstore haunts. You can get a preview of the book over on Scribd where the publisher is sharing some essays. Be sure to check out the publisher’s own site as well so you can check the map and add your own favorite bookstore and share your story.
It looks to be a great read of not only some of nation’s neatest local bookstores that writers enjoy, but also dives into WHY they enjoy them. Rick Bragg wrote the feature on the Alabama Booksmith while Fannie Flagg wrote about Page & Palette (where the rumor is she got locked in a closet!?) I hear the book is indeed a true celebration of the impact bookstores have on their communities and the creative readers that pass through the doors. This is one book I am really looking forward to.
Here is a complete listing of all the bookstores and the author’s that wrote about them:
- Fannie Flagg—Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
- Rick Bragg—Alabama Booksmith, Homewood, AL
- John Grisham—That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, AR
- Ron Carlson—Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
- Ann Packer—Capitola Book Café, Capitola, CA
- Isabel Allende—Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
- Mahbod Seraji—Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA
- Lisa See—Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
- Meg Waite Clayton—Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
- Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown—The Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
- Dave Eggers—Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
- Pico Iyer—Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA
- Laurie R. King—Bookshop Santa Cruz, CA
- Scott Lasser—Explore Booksellers, Aspen, CO
- Stephen White—Tattered Cover Book Store, Devner, CO
- Kate Niles—Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO
- Ann Haywood Leal—Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
- Florence and Wendell Minor—The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT
- Rick Atkinson—Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
- Les Standiford—Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
- Robert Macomber—The Muse Book Shop, Deland, FL
- David Fulmer—Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA
- Abraham Verghese—Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA
- Luis Alberto Urrea—Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL
- Mike Leonard—The Book Stall Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL
- Albert Goldbarth—Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
- Wendell Berry—Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY
- Edith Pearlman—Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
- Mameve Medwed—Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
- Simon Winchester—The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA
- Nancy Thayer—Mitchell’s Book Corner, Nantucket, MA
- Elin Hilderbrand—Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, MA
- Jeanne Birdsall—Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA
- Martha Ackmann—Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
- Ward Just—Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA
- Ron Currie, Jr.—Longfellow Books, Portland, ME
- Nancy Shaw—Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI
- Katrina Kittle—Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
- Ann Patchett—Mclean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
- Kathleen Finneran—Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
- Barry Moser—Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS
- Jack Pendarvis—Square Books, Oxford, MS
- Jill McCorkle—Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
- Carrie Ryan—Park Road Books, Charlotte NC
- Laurent Dubois—The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC
- Lee Smith—Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough, NC
- Angela Davis-Gardner—Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC
- Ron Rash—City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC
- Ian Frazier—Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
- Joan Wickersham—The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH
- Carmela Ciuraru—Community Bookstore, Brooklyn NY
- Matt Weiland—Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
- Kate Christensen—Word, Brooklyn, NY
- Mick Cochrane—Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
- Caroline Leavitt—McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
- Arthur Nersesian—St. Mark’s Bookshop, New York, NY
- Francine Prose & Pete Hamill—Strand Bookstore, New York, NY
- Chuck Palahniuk—Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
- Larry Kane—Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, PA
- Ann Hood—Island Books, Middletown, RI
- Mindy Friddle—Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
- Adam Ross—Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
- Douglas Brinkley—BookPeople, Austin, TX
- Terry Tempest Williams—The King’s English Book Shop, Salt Lake City, UT
- Robert Goolrick—Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
- Howard Frank Mosher—Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
- Jon Clinch—Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT
- Jonathan Evison—Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA
- Tom Robbins—Village Books, Bellingham, WA
- Sherman Alexie—Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
- Garth Stein—Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
- Ivan Doig—University Book Store, Seattle, WA
- Lesley Kagen—Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
- Liam Callanan—Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
This weekeend I stopped by Alabama Booksmith and walked out with a haul (all unsigned books are 75% right now. They said the sale lasts as long as they have unsigned books).
But I had to ask. . . why is Alabama Booksmith doing this?
The answer: the bookstore is getting ready to re-launch with a new business model. I spoke with the guys behind the counter and they said that the signed first editions customer segment has exploded. So they are going to focus on serving these customers. That means that later this year Alabama Booksmith will no longer keep un-signed books on the shelves. Now, they will always be able to order any book for you and they will always keep stock, behind the counter, for book clubs and other groups. But as far as being a “stop in and browse” and “get lost in the stacks” kind of a shop – only if you want a signed copy.
As it was explained to me, they will begin tearing down the free-standing shelves, in early August, and replacing them with table-top displays. This leaves the wall shelves for display and will open up the shop and give add to the “presentation” of the books as objects to own and gift. It also gives them the ability to make space for more chairs and standing room during author events.
I think this is a smart shift for them to do. With the massive success of their subscription-based Signed Editions Book Club, Jake and crew obviously have the data and experience to back up this decision. I have no doubt that they have carefully surveyed the local and online bookseller landscapes and they are capitalizing on a unique skill and reputation they have developed over the years. . . getting authors in the store to meet folks and sign books.
In this day and age it’s great to see a local bookstore maximizing their efforts in a niche they created for themselves and making the capital improvements needed to help keep the Birmingham indie book scene a vibrant one.
Here is a quick photo tour of the Friends of the Hoover Library Used-Book Store. It’s located on The Plaza back near the magazines and snack bar and there is another “secret” room downstairs that has $1 books!
They keep carts outside the shop with $1 books. Its always worth looking through as 90% are hardbacks and many are donated (a.k.a. books without library markings/stickers). They have a nice easy to understand pricing system once inside.
Now the Library Used-Book Store keeps an overflow room of used books downstairs along the wall of the community room. All of these books in the “Book Nook” are $1. The turnover here isn’t as high as upstairs so I don’t check on this every visit. But I have found some gems there. So do check often.
To get to the room, go back out to the main library hallway and follow it around towards the non-fiction sections. As you are approaching the “quiet study cubicles” there will be a stairway on the right. Take this downstairs. Once downstairs take a left and you’ll see the room.
Check out this very cool interactive map of bookstores around Great Britain. You can zoom in and out all around the country and it shows where the clusters of shops are. As useful as this would be for someone living over there (or someone over here planning a vacation) I admit to being jealous in seeing just how MANY bookshops are crammed into such a small area. But before I broke out the bourbon to lament the state of U.S. bookshops I thought I should at least make sure I was comparing apples to apples. . .
Here in Birmingham, we have 6 really good independent shops and another 7 big box bookstore chains all in a geographic area of around 152 square miles and a population of around 212,000 people. So I looked around and found Brighton and Hove. It’s a seaside town, south of London, which has a population between 210,00 and 220,00, but it only takes up about 30 square miles and has 12 bookshops showing on the map.
No doubt the research turned up by my few clicks around the internet wouldn’t hold up in court and with only one cup of coffee in me, I can’t even draw any really meaningful conclusions except to say that we seem right on track with the rest of the world. How often do we get to claim that?
We have some great bookstores here in Birmingham run by some wonderful people. The only thing I’d change is that I’d like more bookstores. Little shops with little eccentricities. Special book places that specialize in certain topics. And most of all… a growing populace that supports them all!
Blogs I Like
- B’ham Public Library
- Book Chase
- Book Patrol
- Bookshelf Porn
- Exile Bibliophile
- Fine Books Blog
- Loud poet
- Nathalie Foy
- Oh My Godwin!
- Reed Next’s Next Read
- Turn the Page
- AL.com Books
- AL.com Books Forum
- Alabama Center for the Book
- Alabama Writers' Forum
- Bham Wiki
- Book TV
- Menasha Ridge Press
- The Literacy Council
- Book Art
- Book Collecting
- Book Column
- Book Covers
- Book Design
- Book Reviews
- Book Sale
- Book Talk
- Bookstore Ideas
- Digital Publishing
- Free Books
- Friday Finds
- Gifts for Book People
- New Releases
- On the TV
- On the Web
- Publishing Industry News
- Site News
- Tools for Readers
- Upcoming Titles