What does it mean to experience a book? To a bibliophile such as Alberto Manguel, smell plays an important part. In a talk at the British Library this week, the one-time protege of Jorge Luis Borges and director of the National Library of Argentina said he was particularly partial to old Penguin paperbacks, which he loved for their odour of “fresh rusk biscuits”.
Audience members responded with their own sense impressions. Peter, a pensioner, said he experienced books as smelling of salt and pepper – “that dryness when you open the cupboard … with a touch of the sea”, while 46-year-old Donna confessed that she had recently bought a book for her young son partly because it “smelled of the rain”.
To conservators and historians, smell has… [read more]
Readers committed to physical books can give a sigh of relief, as new figures reveal that ebook sales are falling while sales of paper books are growing – and the shift is being driven by younger generations.
More than 360m books were sold in 2016 – a 2% jump in a year that saw UK consumers spend an extra 6%, or £100m, on books in print and ebook formats, according to findings by the industry research group Nielsen in its annual books and consumer survey. The data also revealed good news for bricks-and-mortar bookshops, with a 4% rise in purchases across the UK.
For the first half of the year, bookstore sales were 6.1% ahead of the comparable period in 2015. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstores totaled $5.44 billion in the January-June 2016 span, up from $5.13 billion a year ago.
Bookstore sales in 2016 rose every month compared to 2015, including in June when sales increased 5.0% to…[more]
Although revenue at Barnes & Noble fell 1.8% in the third quarter, net income increased 11.2%. While delivering its latest earnings report, the retailer also said it is planning to open four new concept stores by April 2017.
Aimed at the Australian book industry, it nonetheless will resonate with authors and publishers in many other continents
Books are central to our lives, yet the outlook for authors, their readers and Australian literary culture has never been more bleak.The internet and e-books were meant to signal the death of the physical book. That didn’t happen. The plight of authors is another matter. As they face a perfect storm of relentless commercial pressures and repeated attacks by the federal government, the outlook for authors and their readers, and for Australia’s literary culture, has never been bleaker.
Recent surveys in Britain, the United States and Australia have revealed a serious slump in the income that authors receive from their writing. In Australia, authors have seen their average income from writing decrease from about $22,000 in the early 2000s to less than $13,000 in 2015. For many authors, that means…
The German cabinet has agreed to extend to electronic books a law that fixes book prices to protect bricks-and-mortar stores from being driven out of business and ensure the availability of a wide range of publications.
In addition, the law will be applied to cross-border book sales to buyers in Germany, regardless of where the seller is based, Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said in a statement on Wednesday.
The law on the pricing of German language books, under which publishers must determine a price for every title they sell, traces its roots to…
JZ Comment: What do readers think? Is this a tactic that might have saved the ill-fated Borders chain from going down in the US and UK? The ideal of price-fixing, of course, goes against the free-market that exists in the US and UK, but would this have a difference to bookstores do you think?