Cops and Private Eyes ~ Show September 12 and 13


“Black” by Russell Blake
“Pretty Girls” by Karin Slaughter
“Brush Back” by Sara Paretsky
“Cross and Burn” by Val McDermid
“X” by Sue Grafton
“Dexter is Dead” by Jeff Lindsay
“Bum Rap” by Paul Levine

Sara Paretsky, Author

An arresting mix of new titles with amateur sleuths, private eyes and cops in the line up. Sara Paretsky drops by to speak about her newest title in the VI Warshawski series, “Brush Back.”

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Amazon To Take Over The Campus Bookstore At UMASS

The campus bookstore, a seeming anachronism in the digital age, will soon become history at the University of Massachusetts. Starting next fall, students at the flagship Amherst campus will buy almost all textbooks from The online retail giant has struck a deal with UMass to replace an on-campus “textbook annex.” UMass officials hope the arrangement will save students money.

“We really recognize that textbooks and course materials are a major expense for students, and those have continued to go up over time,” said Ed Blaguszewski, UMass spokesman. “This is about convenience and saving money for students.” Amazon told UMass that it could save students an average of 31 percent, or $380 annually, compared with prices at the old store. The Amazon system will offer students access to digital textbooks and, for old-fashioned ink-and-paper texts, free one-day delivery to addresses on campus and apartments in nearby towns. Students can also pick up texts, ordered online, at an Amazon-staffed storefront in the campus center that’s set to open in June. The Amazon system will also be integrated into the school’s course-selection software, letting students see exactly which books they need to buy for each class they are registered to take.

Under terms of the five-year deal, the online retailer will pay UMass Amherst a 2.5 percent commission on most sales to students through the school’s dedicated Amazon storefront. The company has agreed to pay at least $375,000, $465,000, and $610,000 in the first three years, respectively. This isn’t Amazon’s first foray onto campus. In 2013, the company launched its first textbook partnership with the University of California Davis, followed by Purdue University in 2014. The company said it is negotiating similar contracts with a number of other universities and colleges.

“Many schools are feeling pressure to control the cost of education, and textbooks contribute to that,” said Ripley MacDonald, Amazon’s director of student programs. “Many are also seeing revenues in their bookstores flat at best, or even going backward, so they’re looking at ways to stem that trend. We’re trying to reinvent the bookstore experience.” Blaguszewski said Amazon was chosen over five other companies bidding to replace the textbook annex because of its low prices and familiar interface. “Clearly, they’re renowned for their ability to manage technology and deliver prompt customer service,” he said. “We think it’s a great match.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to, or at, click on Archived Shows

Amazon’s Top Selling Books For 2014

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings was Amazon’s top-selling title in 2014, the e-tailer said recently. The title was released January 7, and was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month pick for January. The book was also a selection for Oprah’s Book Club.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham came in second, followed by All the Light We Cannot See, Twenty Seconds Ago, and Big Little Lies.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to, or at, click on Archived Shows



Nobody at Portland’s Powell’s Books knew on the morning of June 4th the bookseller was about to get a high-profile plug that would send traffic at its online store into a historic spike.

The scheme to send Stephen Colbert’s fans to an independent bookstore to pre-order a novel by a relative unknown was cooked up between “The Colbert Report” and Colbert’s publisher, Hachette Book Group, which is locked in an ebook pricing dispute with online retailer Amazon.

Powell’s only got a call from the show on Wednesday morning, said marketing director Kim Sutton. That left only a few hours to prepare before Colbert and author Sherman Alexie (also published by Hachette) urged viewers of “The Colbert Report” to pre-order “California,” a debut novel by Edan Lepucki, through

“I don’t think historically we’ve ever had one single moment in time when this many people have arrived at the site to shop,” said Sutton said. The company had its IT staff on hand to deal with the spike in traffic. Because the book won’t be released until July 8, Powell’s didn’t actually have to have the books in stock or prepare them to ship.

Powell’s isn’t releasing sales figures yet, but Sutton said she’s relayed the numbers to Colbert’s producers for an update on the June 5 show. The attention did shake up Powell’s bestsellers list, sending “California” to the top. A debut novel rarely even approaches bestseller status, Sutton said. Other books that now appear on the list include Colbert’s book “I Am a Pole (and So Can You!)” at No. 9 and Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” at No. 17.

Amazon for the holidays?


Ordering books from Amazon for the holidays? Procrastinators, take note.

The cash-short United States Postal Service has struck a deal with the online retailer to deliver the company’s packages on Sundays — a first for both. The deal gives the Postal Service, which lost nearly $16 billion last year, a chance to boost its business. The Postal Service said it expected to make more deals with other merchants, and carve out a larger role in the $186 billion e-commerce market. This holiday shopping season, Sunday Amazon delivery will be limited to the LA  and New York metro areas, then expand to other cities in 2014.
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Much has been written about Jeff Bezos’ $250 million dollar acquisition of the Washington Post… but we are all still in the dark as to how the newspaper and Amazon might work together.  Some worry that ownership of the Post gives Bezos “a big bully pulpit” to further his, and Amazon’s, causes.

Bezos said he will concentrate on his “day job” running Amazon and leave the current Post management in place. He had little to say about how the Post will change, although he said change will come and require experimentation. Amazon has become more aggressive about buying content and the creation of a relationship between Post columnists and reporters with Amazon Publishing is one possible move, as is using the archives of the Post to create new print and digital offerings.

For more publishing news, check my website, and tune into my show The Book report.


Hold on to your hardcovers for this e-book biz update.

In a new report, Morgan Stanley estimates Amazon will sell $4.5 billion dollars worth of Kindle e-readers and tablets this year, up 26 percent from 2012. Growth may slow next year, when estimates predict the business will do $5 billion in sales. Amazon has recently slashed the price of its seven-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet. Of course, Amazon is willing to lose money on Kindle sales to spur demand for its digital content business. Morgan Stanley estimates Amazon will do $3.8 billion in digital media revenue this year, and that the business will generate more revenue than device sales next year — with an estimated $5.7 billion in revenue. Those are some page-turning numbers.

For more trends in the book world, tune into my show The Book Report.


Just like those beloved Twinkies, Borders, the former retail giant, is on its way back… in one location. The brand can thank several global companies that snatched up trademarks and intellectual property rights after the Borders went bust in 2011.

Borders will resurface in Singapore before the year’s end.  Book lovers and sellers alike greeted the news with cautious optimism. And here’s why…the newly-reborn brand will face stiff competition from Amazon, which recently announced it will add free direct shipping to Singapore. All of us who love our bricks and mortar book stores wish Borders the best.

For more from the book world, check my website, And, tune into my show the Book Report.



Book lovers, rejoice…stats point to a resurgence of independent bookstores.

Indie bookstores were supposed to go the way of the stone tablet – done in first by national chains, then Amazon, and finally e-books. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral.

While beloved bookstores still close down each year, sales at indie bookstores overall are rising. Owners credit the modest increases to everything from the shuttering of Borders, to the rise of the “buy local” movement, social media, and a get-‘er-done outlook. If Indies have to sell cheesecake or run a summer camp to survive, they do it.

For more news from the world of books, check my website, And tune into my radio show, The Book Report.