Hispanic Authors ~ Show September 5 and 6

FEATURED BOOKS PREVIEWED

“Ripper” by Isabel Allende
“The Water Museum” by Luis Alberto Urrea
“Rag and Bone” by Michael Nava
“It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris” by Patricia Engel
“At Night We Walk in Circles” by Daniel Alarcon
“Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass” by Meg Medina
“The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho” by Anjanette Delgado

INTERVIEW
Michael Nava, Author

TUNE IN TO THE PROGRAM FOR
New works by Hispanic authors, tales told with atmospheric prose, carefully crafted characters and old fashioned storytelling. Michael Nava stops by to speak about his new title, “The City of Palaces.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

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Argentina Is World Capital Of Bookstores

ARGENTINA IS WORLD CAPITAL OF BOOKSTORES
All across Argentina’s capital, lodged between the steakhouses, ice cream shops and pizzerias, is an abundance of something that is becoming scarce in many nations: bookstores. From hole-in-the-wall joints with used copies of works by Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel de Cervantes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to elegant buildings with the latest children’s books in several languages, Buenos Aires is filled with locales that pay homage to print.

The city has more bookstores per capita than any other major city in the world, according to a recent study by the World Cities Cultural Forum, an organization that works to promote culture. With a population of 2.8 million people within the city limits, there are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people, putting Buenos Aires far above other world cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. The closest is Hong Kong, which has 22 bookstores per 100,000 people.

“Books represent us like the tango,” said Juan Pablo Marciani, manager of El Ateneo Gran Splendid, an immense bookstore in the affluent Recoleta neighborhood where 7,000 people visit each week. “We have a culture very rooted in print.” Behind the high number of bookstores, 734 by last count, is a combination of culture and economics. Culture boomed along with the economy in the early part of the 20th century, and even if the economic path grew rocky, ordinary Argentines embraced and stuck to the habit of reading. To this day, many across the region call the Argentine capital the “Paris of Latin America” thanks to its architecture, wide streets and general interest in the arts. During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, many top writers fled to Argentina, further cementing the country as a literary capital and powerhouse for printing.

In 2014, there were 28,010 titles in circulation and 129 million books were printed in the country, according to the Argentine Book Chamber, making it one of the most prolific book printers in Latin America. Many stores carry rare books that are hundreds of years old. At Libreria Alberto Casares, bookworms can gaze at a collection that includes a French translation of Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega from 1650 and Gregorian chants on papyrus dating to 1722.

In buses and subways, parks and cafes, it’s common to see people flipping pages of whodunits, histories and poetry, or most recently, new books about the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, a case that has rocked the country since he was found shot dead in his bathroom Jan. 18. “I was born with paper books and I’ll die with paper books,” said Aida Cardozo, 65. “Computers are for responding to emails and using Facebook, but not to read a novel,” she said.

Books also receive help when it comes to staving off the digital deluge. There are no sales taxes on books, notable in a country where most products get 21 percent slapped on top of the sticker price. And heavy import taxes on books, and electronics such as e-readers, help keep the local printing industry strong. While Argentines are increasingly glued to their mobile devices, customers who want to use foreign retailers like Amazon have to pay a 35 percent surcharge on their peso-denominated credit cards. The use of e-readers like the Kindle is still relatively low. Less than 10 percent of the 1.2 million people who attended the city’s annual book fair last year said they used electronic devices to read books, according to a fair survey.

Ignacio Iraola, the Southern Cone editorial director for publishing house Grupo Planeta, said the economic factors make printed books an attractive business for bookstores and make books a popular gift in tight economic times. “A book costs 200 pesos ($23) compared to 400 pesos $46 for a shirt,” said Iraola. “And the perceived value of a book is much higher.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

People Who Changed Our World ~ Show July 11 and 12

FEATURED BOOKS PREVIEWED

“Elon Musk” by Ashlee Vance
“The Virgin Way” by Richard Branson
“Becoming Steve Jobs” by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
“Madison’s Gift” by David Stewart
“Strategy: A History” by Lawrence Freedman
“Napoleon: A Life” by Andrew Roberts
“Alibaba’s World” by Porter Erisman

INTERVIEW
Senator Gary Hart

TUNE INTO THE PROGRAM FOR
A spotlight on entrepreneurs, politicians and statesmen who changed our world. Elaine speaks with Senator Gary Hart about his new title, “The Republic of Conscience.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

James Patterson Donates $100,000 To Bookstores In Australia And New Zealand

JAMES PATTERSON DONATES $100,000 TO BOOKSTORES IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

In his first visit to Australia in 11 years, Patterson announced a $100,000 donation from which Australian and New Zealand book sellers with dedicated children’s sections could apply for cash grants of up to $5000. The donation was timed for Patterson’s arrival in Sydney for a series of Writers’ Festival events and promotion of Rafe’s Aussie Adventure, his Middle School pre-teens collaboration with writer-illustrator Martin Chatterton.

The greatest challenge facing society, warned Patterson, was getting bright children to read more broadly and at-risk kids reading competently. One in three Australian high school students could be considered functionally illiterate. Patterson’s hope was that Australia might follow Germany’s lead and set up a ministerial foundation to support and acknowledge the importance of independent booksellers as missionaries of children’s literacy. Were Amazon to locate its operations in Australia, Patterson predicts half the local bookstores would close.

Patterson has been one of the loudest voices in the book world warning about the pressure of online discounting and e-book retailing on the local bookstore. Retailers, who applauded Patterson’s assistance, have been lobbying for the imposition of GST for all online purchases and a review of international parcel delivery agreements.

Patterson holds the Guinness Book of Record for Number One New York Times bestsellers. Total worldwide sales exceed 300 million, of which he has sold 4.5 million copies in Australia.

A former copywriter, Patterson’s prodigious output includes one or two standalone thrillers each year in his name and seven or eight books which he commissions by way of detailed 50 to 80 page synopsis, edits and, if necessary, rewrites. To criticism of his methods, “my answer is Simon and Garfunkel, Lennon and McCartney, Stephen King and Peter Straub and the Coen brothers”.

As a commissioning editor and co-author, Patterson has branched into the genre of young-adult and children’s fiction, collaborating in six children’s book series. Chatterton describes his partnership as a “pain-free” experience, and Patterson as a precise and conscientious editor. “I strive for the highest common denominator,” Patterson says.

Patterson’s passion for child literacy began with his son’s reluctance to read. One summer he cancelled Jack’s chores and told him his only obligation was to read for one hour a day. “Give them stories that they’ll gobble up like chocolate pudding and ask for more,” says Patterson of the secret to enthusing reluctant readers. The only bad book was one that put a child off reading for life.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

Book Collecting As Popular As Ever

BOOK COLLECTING AS POPULAR AS EVER

Book collecting appears to be alive and well, sustained in part by the very same people who are driving adoption of smartphones, tablets, and e-readers.

Dealers such as Strand Bookstore near New York’s Union Square and Freebird Books on the Brooklyn waterfront are counting on passionate collectors, as the rise of digital media and higher commercial real-estate prices decimate other corners of the bookselling business.

Strand, an 88-year-old purveyor of new and used books, says business has been good lately, helped in part by the popularity of its rare-book room, where a signed first edition of “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle can be had for $5,000 and where a book edited and signed by Jackie Kennedy recently sold for $900.

Last year “was one of the strongest years in Strand history,” says Strand marketing manager Brianne Sperber, 25, who insists it’s “wrong” to think people in their 20s and 30s don’t want to switch back and forth between digital and print. “I know a lot of people my age who read the way I do,” she says.

Sperber says demand for rare and collectible books has been more or less stable over the past few years, an assessment echoed by Freebird owner Peter Miller, whose specialty is books about New York, and Thomas A. Goldwasser, a veteran rare-book dealer in San Francisco.

“I don’t think demand for rare books has diminished as a result of digital platforms,” says Mr. Goldwasser, 62, whose office houses more than 4,000 rare volumes. At the same time, Mr. Goldwasser says he hasn’t noticed prices appreciating greatly over the past 10 years or so, either.

Annette Campbell-White, the founder of a California venture-capital firm says collectors should be driven by their interest in books, not by the prospect of financial gain. “I wouldn’t encourage anyone looking for a quick profit to turn to book collecting,” she says. “If you make money, it is incidental.” Campbell-White says she got hooked on book collecting in 1973 when she was 25 and over the years amassed collections of poetry from the World War I era, as well as copies of books included in literary critic Cyril Connelly’s “The Modern Movement, 100 Key Books from England, France and America, 1880-1950.” She sold two-thirds of her Modern Movement collection in a private auction at Sotheby’s in 2007. “Yes, I made money, about a 40% profit over 30 years,” she says. “Not a good investment.”

Darren Sutherland, manager of the rare-book room at Strand, advises collectors to “always buy the best combination of condition and edition that you can afford, and buy what you love, not because you have a suspicion it might go up in value.” First editions can command higher prices, as can books with unusual inscriptions by the author. Original manuscripts are often valuable, too.

Like everything else, he says, book values are “driven by supply, which is largely stationary, and demand. So on a smaller scale, some prices can be affected in the short term by cultural events, the death of an author, a new biography or film. But in the longer term, the demand will be set by larger forces, a long-standing cultural reassessment of an author’s work and their effect on our history, or a cultural shift in terms of what we consider to be important.”

Dealers note that a book doesn’t have to be old to be collectible. Honey & Wax Booksellers, an online dealer founded by Strand veteran Heather O’Donnell, offers a 1990 edition of Maira Kalman’s “Max Makes A Million” for $125. The popularity of the author and the book, as well as the quality of the art and production, can drive the value of newer works. Says Mr. Goldwasser: “Many younger collectors are drawn to books for their decorative or atmospheric quality.” Illustrated books and graphic novels are popular today, he says, while demand for photography books has leveled off.

Prices for collectible books can fall, too—sometimes significantly. The first editions of books by some late 20th century authors went through a bubble in the late 1990s, only to fall some 50% from their peak a few years later, Mr. Goldwasser says.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

FLORIDA BOOKSTORE NAMED BOOKSTORE OF THE YEAR

Since it’s opening in 1982 in a 500 sq. ft. space in Coral Gables, Fl., Books & Books has grown. Its flagship store moved across the street into a 9,000 sq. ft. location, which is on the Register of Historic Places, added a full-service café, and now hosts more than 60 events a month. In 1989, owner Mitchell Kaplan added a second store on Lincoln Road in South Beach. After the opening of a third store in 2005 in the Bal Harbor Shops, an upscale mall that boasts the highest dollar per sq. ft. ratio in the world, Books & Books began leveraging its brand. In 2007, it opened a store in the Cayman Islands. Three years later it opened an affiliate store in Westhampton Beach, Long Island. Books & Books also partners on stores in Miami International airport, at the Southeast Financial Center in downtown Miami, and at the Coral Gables Museum. In addition, the bookstore developed a publishing arm five years ago and has released close to a dozen titles.

Books & Books head Kaplan helped found the Miami Book Fair more than 30 years ago, and he serves on the steering committee of the Florida Center for the Literature & Writing, Miami-Dade College’s literary center, the umbrella organization for the book fair. He is a former president of the American Booksellers Association and serves on the board of the American Booksellers for Free Expression. In 2011, Kaplan received the National Book Foundation’s “Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

BOOKSTORE OF THE YEAR AWARD SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED

Publishers Weekly has just released the shortlist for the 2015 PW Bookstore of the Year Awards, which highlight singular achievements in the bookselling industry.

“We were pleased to have so many outstanding candidates to choose from for the 2015 PW Awards. Each of the stores on the shortlist have come up with new strategies for successfully negotiating today’s retail landscape for books,” said PW v-p, publisher Cevin Bryerman.

The winners will be named at the beginning of April and will be featured in the pre-BEA edition of Publishers Weekly on May 4. The awards will be presented at the authors breakfast at BEA.

This year’s finalists represent a broad range of general independent bookstores from across the West, Midwest, and South.
PW Bookstore of the Year Shortlist
Books & Books (Miami, Fl.)
Left Bank Books (St. Louis, Mo.)
McLean & Eakin Booksellers (Petoskey, Mich.)
Powell’s Books (Portland, Ore.)
Village Books (Bellingham, Wash.)

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows