Tag Archives: bookstores

Review: Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Recap: Rob Lowe has always wanted to act, ever since he was a young boy growing up in Ohio. So when he hits it big by the time he’s 15, but not as big as some of his other friends and colleagues — like say, Matt Dillon or Sarah Jessica Parker — it can be disheartening. But then the Brat Pack happens. And then Rob Lowe’s teen hearthrobbiness happens, soon to be followed by relationships and sex scandals and boozy vacations and — oh yeah — more movies.

Following Rob Lowe’s life through his first memoir opened my eyes (technically ears since I listened to the audiobook read by the author) to crazy stories that I would never have believed if I hadn’t read the memoir myself. Like how Rob Lowe encourage JFK Jr. to marry his then-girlfriend Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Or how he dated a princess he’d always had a crush on. Or how someone he knew was murdered shortly after he left their mansion. Or how he was on the same plane as some of the 9/11 terrorists the week before 9/11 happened.

Crazy things have happened to Rob Lowe — and what’s more, he’s been through the true ups and downs of the industry. He’s starred in hit TV shows and movies and ones that have bombed. He’s also starred in ones in which his parts have been almost entirely cut. He’s a recovering alcoholic. He had one of the first sex tape scandals. And yet, he also has a beautiful family and a wife of 20+ years for which he obviously cares deeply. He can do drama and comedy. He’s a force to be reckoned with, who you may or may not have paid much attention. But after having read this book, I can say this: he’s worth paying attention to.

Analysis: The reason Stories I Only Tell My Friends is so perfect is because it’s exactly what you want in a celebrity memoir — details on the scandals and addictions in that person’s life, behind the scenes knowledge of their most popular work, and an honest look at the kind of person he or she really is.

My favorite part was the section on Lowe’s West Wing days — a section which any West Wing fan would appreciate. But there’s also the section on SNL and the one on Austin Powers. And then, suddenly I realized how much Rob Lowe has been a part of the landscape for years, right under my nose and I never truly appreciated him until now.

He’s such a beautiful specimen of man, I’ve had a hard time thinking of him as anything more than that. To me, he was always a pretty face that happened to act. This book made me appreciate how hard he’s worked and how talented he is, especially to bounce back and forth between comedy and drama. Add all the personal stuff he’s been through, and he’s truly an amazing man. Okay. I’m rambling now. But you get the idea. This book encompasses him in a way that makes me feel like I’m one of Rob Lowe’s friends. Wait. With a title like Stories I Only Tell My Friends, maybe that’s the point.

Get Stories I Only Tell My Friends in paperback for $12.01.

Or on your Kindle for $9.99.

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James Patterson Donates $1M to Independent Bookstores

Who better to make a statement about the future of the book industry than one of the most popular bestselling authors of all time? That’s exactly what author James Patterson did when he promised to donate $1 million to independent bookstores across the country.

According to CBS, James Patterson is concerned that because of the rapid growth of e-readers, the independent bookstores and libraries are losing steam. So he’s pledged $1 million to keep these places alive. He says he doesn’t care how the money is used — whether it’s to better the stores and libraries themselves or to increase pay for their employees.

He says what’s most important is that these are “viable” bookstores and that they have children’s sections.

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Unused Borders Gift Cards Deemed Worthless

For those of you who still had old, unused Borders gift cards lying around, you’re not in luck. According to the LA Times, a judge ruled last month that old Borders gift cards could not be redeemed.

Borders filed for bankruptcy in February 2011 and shut its doors later that year. Soon after, a few customers filed a lawsuit, claiming customers did not get enough notice about the closure to use their gift cards in time. Though a claim deadline had been printed in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, they claimed the average person wouldn’t have necessarily read those articles.

Although there’s an estimated $210.5 million worth of unused Borders gift cards out there, a Manhattan federal judge determined that issuing all of that money to former customers wouldn’t be fair to creditors of the Borders Group, especially since the bankruptcy and liquidation is already complete. The judge upheld last year’s ruling of a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

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No E-Book for Stephen King’s New Novel

In a bold, anti-digital move, bestselling author Stephen King has decided not to release his newest book in e-book format.

According to The L.A. Times, the author made the decision last month to sell his latest novel, Joyland, solely as a physical book. King is generally considered a pioneer in digital books; he’s written a number of bestselling Kindle Singles and even helped Amazon’s Jeff Bezos introduce the Kindle 2 in 2009.

King said he’d rather have people go to an actual bookstore. It was a move that got a lot of praise from bookstore owners, who have seen their sales go down over the years thanks to an increase in e-readership. King is set to release another major novel later this year, but he hasn’t announced yet whether or not it will be available in e-book format.

Joyland was published by Hard Case Crime and was released just yesterday.

Get Joyland only in paperback for $7.30.

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Barnes & Noble vs. Simon & Schuster

Authors published by Simon & Schuster are crying foul.

According to The New York Times, the big box retailer Barnes and Noble has cut orders from Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster authors claim the company is also limiting their display space and  in-store book tour appearances.

Why Barnes and Noble is allegedly doing this is still unclear, as Leslie Kaufman explains.

While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.

Whatever the reason, authors under the Simon & Schuster umbrella claim their sales are hurting, particularly lesser-known authors. And until an agreement is reached, it doesn’t look like this will stop any time soon.

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B&N Closing More Stores, Giving Away Nooks

Disappointing sales and the fall of the bookstore are contributing to the closure of more Barnes and Noble locations. And this week in particular, there are signs that Barnes and Noble is perhaps doing even worse than we thought.

According to this blog post from Melville House Books, sales from this past holiday season absolutely plummeted — an 11% decrease in store sales and a 12.6% decline in Nook sales. Ultimately, hundreds of Barnes and Noble stores closed across the country throughout the holiday season. Most frightening about these closures is that most of them happened in large cities, like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

And yet, it gets worse. According to Huffington Post, this week through March 30th, the chain store is giving away the Nook Simple Touch for free with every purchase of the Nook HD+, reporting that its Nook business saw a steep 26% decline in sales in its holiday quarter.

Apparently, as color tablets rise in popularity, the desire for a Nook Simple Touch (a black-and-white standard e-reader) has diminished.

So what does this all mean for Barnes and Noble? One thing’s for sure. It doesn’t look good.

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Libraries Adjust to Loss of Bookstores

As bookstores continue to flounder, libraries are now making it a point to take advantage of the moment and roll with the times.

According to The New York Times, libraries are realizing that print is coming in second to digital. As a result, libraries are now offering more e-books and technology options (like more space for computers within the library walls). But libraries are also making more of the big bestsellers available, and then selling them for a reduced price when the library starts to carry the books in excess. Karen Ann Cullotta explains.

At the bustling public library in Arlington Heights, Ill., requests by three patrons to place any title on hold prompt a savvy computer tracking system to order an additional copy of the coveted item. That policy was intended to eliminate the frustration of long waits to check out best sellers and other popular books. But it has had some unintended consequences, too: the library’s shelves are now stocked with 36 copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Of course, librarians acknowledge that when patrons’ passion for the sexy series lacking in literary merit cools in a year or two, the majority of volumes in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy will probably be plucked from the shelves and sold at the Friends of the Library’s used-book sales, alongside other poorly circulated, donated and out-of-date materials.

With less waiting and larger scale sales down the road, libraries are becoming more and more like bookstores. And in a post-recession age when people are willing to do most anything to save a buck, why not? Why pay for a book when there’s a magical little place in your hometown that will allow you to take it home for free?

These are moves that libraries hope will increase foot traffic and users. Do you think they will?

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