Tag: independent

The Booksellers Documentary Keep Collectors Hopeful

With the reemergence of independent bookstores and an ever-increasing nostalgia for the intimacy of physicality in a digital age, The Booksellers comes at an opportune time for any reader who puts their love for the paper-bound artifacts above all else. Directed by D.W. Young, this documentary focuses on the livelihoods and idiosyncrasies of New York’s finest antiquarian booksellers. They don’t sell what you can purchase online for two-day Prime shipping. These bibliophiles specialize in everything from leather-bound covers to hip-hop collections.

Young booksellers are seeing an increasing diversification in content and in the sellers themselves. Not every participant in the film looks like a literature professor at The University of Please Hold All Questions Until The End. That sentence itself has both racial, gender, and class implications that are transcended in the reality of bookselling. There are prominent black and POC booksellers, not only of independent bookshops, but also of literary rarities, who are highlighted in the film.

The Booksellers also addresses the industry’s climacteric: the rise of the Internet. The Internet plays a complicated role in the field. For younger sellers, it’s a demand to innovate, and, for older, it’s a demand to adapt. While companies like Amazon and Kindle have a monopoly over digital reads, their services are incomparable to the experience of browsing at a bookstore or a book fair.

Physical copies preserve history not simply in a tangible sense but in a cultural one. Maneuvering bookshelves, reveling over inscriptions and publication dates, and experiencing those joys in a space devoted to the thoughtful adoration of books elicits a tactile emotional response that clicking “Checkout” could never. The Booksellers is a fantastic watch for anyone who loves to read or anyone who needs to prove to their loved one why it’s of pivotal importance that they buy them that antique book on their wishlist.

featured image via WWNY

Amazon Sends Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’ Early by Mistake

Amazon preorders of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments have been shipped out to readers ahead of schedule. By mistake.

A handful of reviews appeared on NPRThe Washington Post, and The New York Times yesterday even though there was supposed to be a strict embargo on the novel before its September 10th release date. And some readers are rushing to Twitter and Instagram to show off the copies they’ve received early.

 

 

 

According to BBC, Penguin Random House claims:

In the US a very small number of copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments were distributed early due to a retailer error which has now been rectified.

We appreciate that readers have been waiting patiently, in some cases for more than thirty years, for the much-anticipated sequel to the bestselling The Handmaid’s Tale. In order to ensure our readers around the world receive their copies on the same day, our global publication date remains Tuesday 10th September.

The small number of copies received by these lucky readers total around eight-hundred.

Though some Atwood fans may be celebrating that they could get their hands on The Testaments early, many independent booksellers are frustrated that Amazon seems to have ignored the embargo. The fact that readers have received copies ahead of schedule from Amazon can drastically impact an independent bookstore’s bottom line, especially when they rely on the rush of first-day sales to drive their business.

 

 

Lexi Beach, one such bookseller whose “world is crumbling around [her] right now,” took to Twitter to vent about Amazon’s brazen disregard  of the embargo.

 

 

Unfortunately, Beach is kind of right. Amazon’s business model is much different from your average independent bookseller’s. The online-shopping behemoth can afford to take a lot of losses on titles like The Testaments in a strategy to grow their customer base. Independent stores, on the other hand, often rely on the buzz huge titles like Atwood’s generate to drive business to their stores. And given that Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale has been shortlisted for The Booker Prize and is already on many best-selling lists based on preorders alone, the fact that Amazon can shamelessly violate the embargo all booksellers had to sign is made even more disheartening and terrifying.

 

 

Paul Swydan, owner of Silver Unicorn Books, also took to Twitter to express his frustration:

 

 

Penguin Random House released a statement regarding the incident. However, they didn’t address Amazon by name, preferring to keep things vague.

 

 

Understandably, the independent booksellers Amazon continues to undercut are still angry and worried Amazon won’t be held accountable. After all, what can you actually do to affect the site that controls roughly 50% of book sales in the world. Even a publisher the size of Penguin Random House can’t really afford to tarnish their relationship with Amazon. Beach noted in another tweet that PRH could delay shipments of future releases to Amazon to prevent them from capitalizing on first-day sales. That’s the typical way smaller booksellers are disciplined, but who knows if PRH will or even can use those methods with Amazon.

 

 

Featured image via My Office Magazine and Instagram: @damagedbutinvigorated

book tunnel

Do the Environment a Favor and Shop at an Indie Bookstore!

Do you have a favorite bookshop? No, Barnes and Noble doesn’t count. I mean an independent bookshop, small, cosy, possibly family run. Handmade signs and questionable color schemes. Sometimes dogs. The one where you can sit for hours, enjoying your unique surroundings, and forgetting about all your responsibilities and then end up feeling horribly guilty because you’ve neglected every other aspect of your life. You’ve been missing for days. Your family has called the cops. Your plants are withering. You have several hundred unanswered emails. You know, that bookshop.

 

guilty dog

You, feeling guilty | Via Giphy

 

Well, according to Indiebound, your hours spent there are actually very beneficial to the economy, the environment, and your community. So you can stop feeling bad, as the benefits, according to the Indiebound website, are pretty much endless.

 

happy dog

You, delighted that your time-wasting has been justified | Via Gif Finder 

 

In terms of the economy, if you spend $100 at a local-owned business, $68 of that stays in your community. However, if you spent the same amount at a national chain, only $43 will remain in your community. Local businesses also create higher-paying jobs for members of the community, and therefore more taxes are reinvested in the locality. Local businesses also donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. Indiebound also points out that ‘more independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.’

 

Shopping local also has a positive effect on the environment as it means less packaging, less transportation and therefore a smaller carbon footprint. So you win points with Mother Nature too!

 

happy pizza dog

You, slobbering happily all over the news that your indie bookshop obsession is good for the economy, environment and community | Via Tenor

 

 

That’s all on top of the fact that local bookshops tend to put on wonderful, intimate author events such as Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, who host talks and readings every week! So make sure to follow any and all of your favorite indie spots on social media to keep up to date with what they’re up to!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Publishing Perspectives