Bookstore News

Bookstores are still in dire shape, with the pandemic causing store closures all over. WH Smith in the UK reports that sales were down 25% in March, and in the first week of April they were down 85% over the same period in 2019. They predict similar losses through the end of August, then hope for “gradual improvement in trading through to the end of Decem­ber.” About 60% of their ...Read More

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Pandemic Help

James Patterson extended his philan­thropy toward independent bookstores with a personal donation of half a million dollars to help stores impacted by coronavirus closures. The funds were administered by the Book Industry Charity Foundation, with money to be distributed by May 15, 2020. Patterson joined with the American Booksellers Association in the #SaveIndieBookstores fundraising campaign, which ran in April. The funds “will go toward helping hundreds of indie bookstores across ...Read More

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Bookstore News

Bookstores are suffering dur­ing the COVID-19 epidemic, with many forced to temporarily close their physical locations. Barnes & Noble shops remain open (except in locations closed by public order), but CEO James Daunt warns his employees that changes are coming, with plans for “substantial reductions in cost,” including cuts of personnel already underway at the home office. He says sales continue well, especially online, but, “We have to assume that ...Read More

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Newsstand Disruptions

Amid growing coronavirus concerns, some booksellers and distributors have canceled new magazine orders.

Barnes and Noble announced they will cease taking new magazine product, effective March 23, 2020, across all stores. Krifka Steffey, director of newsstand merchandising, said,

We will continue to sell the product currently on our Newsstands, and will look forward to the day that we can re-establish this critical part of our bookstore offering.

Diamond Comic Distributors ...Read More

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Diverse Editions Debacle

Penguin Random House and Barnes & Noble teamed up for an ill-advised project called “Diverse Editions” for Black History Month in February 2020, only to swiftly suspend the program following an immediate and widespread outcry. Diverse Editions presented a dozen classic books (including Frankenstein, Moby-Dick, and The Secret Garden) with new dust jackets featuring illustrations of the (mostly white) characters reimagined as people of various other races. ...Read More

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Patterson Gives Bonuses

Author and philanthropist James Patterson is of­fering bonuses (a total of $200,000) to Barnes & Noble booksellers this year in the form of a contest: he will give $300 to the bookseller in each B&N branch who creates the best display, as judged by store managers. He says, “I’m excited about all the recent changes at Barnes & Noble and to see where they go next. But I’ve always been ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Lawsuit

Barbara Tavres, 59, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer Barnes & Noble in the in the US District Court in Northern California, alleging age discrimination, and seeking class action status. She was fired on September 6, 2019 after a career that began in 2006, starting in community relations and ending at a shop in Emeryville CA. Tavres claims that on the day of her termination her manager took ...Read More

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Mysterious Galaxy Saved!

San Diego bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, which was in danger of closing after 27 years of business, has found new owners and will remain open for the foreseeable future. Jenni Marchisotto & Matthew Berger purchased the bookstore and signed a five-year lease on a new location. They said,

We are so excited about our new roles as part of the Mysterious Galaxy family. When we attended the holiday party last Saturday ...Read More

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Martin Opens Bookshop

George R.R. Martin opened Beastly Books on November 30, 2019, located next to the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe NM. Martin said,

We’ve been doing amazing author events at the Jean Cocteau Cinema ever since we reopened the theatre in August, 2013. Dozens of terrific, award-winning, bestselling writers have appeared at the JCC to speak, read, and sign their books… SF writers, mystery writers, historical novelists, romance writers, thriller ...Read More

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Mysterious Galaxy Seeks New Owner

San Diego bookshop Mysterious Galaxy is in danger of closing after 27 years. The staff recently received word that they are losing the lease for their shop on Balboa Avenue, and have 60 days to move.

It is with heavy hearts that we share that unless a new buyer and new location are found immediately, Mysterious Galaxy will be forced to close its doors.

For nearly 27 years, Mysterious Galaxy ...Read More

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Link & Grant to Open Bookshop

Gavin Grant & Kelly Link of Small Beer Press are taking over White Square Books in Easthampton MA, and will reopen the shop as Book Moon in early October 2019. The store will carry new and used books, with a specialty in Small Beer Press titles. Grant says, “Small Beer Press will continue to publish books — we have titles planned for the next 2-3 years and don’t anticipate much ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Sale Complete

On August 7, 2019, Barnes & Noble announced the closing of their deal to be acquired by Elliott Advisors Limited, which also acquired UK book­selling chain Waterstones in 2018. Each chain will operate independently, though Waterstones head James Daunt will serve as CEO of both companies, and plans to relocate from London to New York. Daunt says,

This is a very good day for bookselling. Barnes & Noble is the ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Sold

Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the US, has been sold to Elliot Management Corporation, the same hedge fund that purchased leading UK bookseller Waterstones in June 2018. Waterstones CEO James Daunt will take over as CEO of B&N when the deal is complete and plans to relocate to New York. The all-cash transaction is valued at around $683 million — $6.50 a share, plus the assumption of ...Read More

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Borderlands Café Closes

San Francisco specialty shop Borderlands Books closed their adjacent Borderlands Café on April 30, 2019. Alan Beatts cites difficulty finding and retaining staff in a booming job market, declining sales, and the demands of running the bookshop as causes for the decision. The bookstore will continue as usual. For details: <>.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely ...Read More

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2018 Book Sales

NPD Bookscan released their final statistics for 2018, counting 696 million print books sold in the US, up 1.3% over last year’s 687 million – the smallest gain seen over the past five years of steady print growth. Adult hardcover sales went up 1.3%, while YA and juvenile sales rose by fractions of a percent. Trade paperbacks declined slightly, and mass-market paperbacks continued to shrink, down to 52 million copies ...Read More

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B&N Favorite SFF Books of 2018

Barnes & Noble has announced its 25 title list of Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2018, with an additional 12 “Alternate Universe” Picks of “books that could just have easily been included” in the list of 25, and their Year’s Best Collections & Anthologies list for the same genres:

Favorite SF&F:

  • Senlin Ascends, Josiah Bancroft (Orbit)
  • Foundryside, Robert Jackson Bennett (Crown)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing
...Read More Read more

Burlingame Books Inc. Closing

Books Inc. in Burlingame CA will close in early 2019, with CEO and president Michael Tucker saying, “We are saddened to leave our long term customers in Burlingame, but changes in the retail environment on Burlingame Avenue have made it untenable to remain.” The local chain has ten other locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will attempt to transfer affected employees to other locations when possible. They will ...Read More

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Mysterious Galaxy for Sale

Terry Gilman and Maryelizabeth Yturralde are seeking new owners for Mysterious Galaxy, their San Diego CA bookshop:

When we opened Mysterious Galaxy in 1993, we did so with the belief that it was essential to create a sustainable environment for years to come. Mysterious Galaxy and its immensely qualified and experienced booksellers are well-positioned to ensure that books and author events will remain a vital part of our community. The ...Read More

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Waterstones Buys Foyles

UK bookstore chain Waterstones has acquired Foyles, a family-owned chain of seven bookshops first established 115 years ago. The acquisition is expected to be final by the end of 2018; terms were not disclosed. Waterstones’ head James Daunt said, “Together, we will be stronger and better positioned to protection and champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call.” Christopher Foyle said, “My family and I ...Read More

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New Amazon Imprint

Amazon has announced a new imprint, Topple Books, to “spotlight the voices of women of color, gender non-conforming, lesbian, bisexual, and queer writers.” Jill Soloway will serve as editor-at-large, with Carmen Johnson helping to oversee the line. Soloway says, “We live in a com­plicated, messy world where every day we have to proactively re-center our own experiences by chal­lenging privilege. With Topple Books, we’re looking for those undeniably compelling essential ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Layoffs

Barnes & Noble is laying off many of its most experienced workers following a disappointing holiday season (down 6% from the year before), with lead cashiers, receiving managers, and other seasoned employees being let go company-wide. Employees were given little to no notice of their termination, with many showing up for work only to find their jobs had been eliminated. A B&N spokesperson said the company “has been reviewing all ...Read More

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King Manuscripts Damaged

A water main burst in front of bookstore Gerald Winters & Son in Bangor ME, flooding the basement and soaking dozens of rare Stephen King works, including first- and limited-edition copies, galleys, foreign editions, ephemera, and seven original manuscripts. Winters, who opened the store a year ago, was a devoted collector of King’s work, and kept most of the rarer items for display, and not for sale. He lost about ...Read More

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Borderlands Reaches Funding Goal

Alan Beatts, owner of San Francisco specialty bookshop Borderlands Books, announced on October 31 that he had secured enough funding to buy the building at 1373 Haight Street as a permanent home for the bookstore. Beatts had previously sought funding from the local community, and within 18 days raised $1.9 million dollars from 49 lenders. The sale closes on November 15, 2017. Borderlands plans to move from their current location ...Read More

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Borderlands Building Purchase

Alan Beatts, owner of San Francisco genre bookshop Borderlands Books, announced on October 13 that he “made an offer on a building that is meant to be a permanent home for Borderlands. On Wednesday that offer was accepted by the seller.” The deal will move Borderlands from its Mission neighborhood location at 866 Valencia St. to 1373 Haight Street, currently the home of Recycled Records. Beatts said, “It’s a little ...Read More

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Dark Carnival Closing

Jack Rems, owner of Dark Carnival Bookstore in Berkeley CA, has announced the store will be closing due to declining sales. No date has been specified, but Rems told Berkeleyside, “I need to pay bills, so as long as by selling off stock we are generating more than it costs [we will stay open].” He also expressed his gratitude for all his long-term customers and encourages people to partake in ...Read More

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Amazon Opens Bookstore

Online retailer opened a brick-and-mortar bookshop, Amazon Books, on November 3, 2015 in Seattle’s University Village. Amazon’s corporate headquarters is located in the same city.

The store has 5,500 square feet of retail space and another 2,000 for storage, and stocks between 5,000 and 6,000 titles, mostly Amazon bestsellers and books rated highly by website customers, an approach Amazon Books vice president Jennifer Cast calls “Data with a heart… ...Read More

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Borderlands Defies Closure

On Feb. 22, 2015 Borderlands Books announced that they reached their goal of 300 sponsors, just two days after announcing a plan to offer sponsorships to keep the store open, on Feb. 19, 2015. Borderlands will remain open until at least March 31st, 2016.

The survivability of the sponsorship program depends upon continued participation. More sponsorships will help stabilize the future of the store. In order to stay open the ...Read More

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Borderlands Books to Close

San Francisco specialty bookshop Borderlands Books is going out of business. The store will close its doors no later than March 31, 2015, but may close earlier, depending on how quickly the inventory can be sold. Owner Alan Beatts explains:

The recent change in San Francisco minimum wage law will prevent the store from being financially viable no later than July of 2018 (at which point our payroll will have ...Read More

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Patterson Indie Bookstore Grants

Author James Patterson has given away the third and final round of grants in this year’s “Saving Bookstores, Saving Lives” campaign. In this round he donated $473,000 to 81 independent bookstores. He has given away a total of $1 million to indie stores this year, all funded by the author personally.

For more information, including the list of grant recipients, see Patterson’s website. ...Read More

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France Considers Bookstore Protections

During a discussion in the French National Assembly about prohibiting free shipping by Amazon in order to preserve the competitiveness of bookstores, a counter-proposal to grant a tax reduction to non-DRM or proprietary e-books was introduced. Isabelle Attard, the French deputy and member of the Europe Ecology Green Party who suggested the idea, made the distinction between the right to possess a digital e-book file and the right to read ...Read More

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B&N Cuts S&S Orders

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has cut back orders of new Simon & Schuster titles — to “almost nothing” for some books — during an ongoing dispute over financial terms. Refusing to sell books is a new negotiating tactic for B&N, though not unheard of in the industry; famously removed “buy now” buttons from Macmillan titles during a dispute over terms. The refusal to stock S&S books will certainly ...Read More

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New Tor/Forge DRM-Free E-book Store

Tom Doherty Associates, publisher of Tor and Forge Books, has announced that it will launch an online store to sell DRM-free e-books directly to readers. Opening summer 2012, the Tor/Forge DRM-Free E-book Store will be hosted at It will sell all Tor, Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen, and Orb e-book titles, and plans to eventually offer titles from other publishers as well. ...Read More

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