Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia go shopping at a small bookstore, One More Page, in Arlington, Va. This is shaping up to be a better holiday season for independent booksellers than in past years.
In recent years, the start of the holiday shopping season has meant nothing but gloom for independent bookstores. But this year, the mood seems to be lifting, and a lot of booksellers are feeling optimistic. Even President Obama kicked off his Christmas shopping at a neighborhood bookstore in Northern Virginia. Even so, booksellers are still having trouble enticing customers to plunk down cash for expensive hardcovers when e-books are so popular. Steve Bercu has been in the book business for 40 years. His store, BookPeople in Austin, Texas, has survived the threat of big chains, competition from Amazon and now the popularity of e-books. These days, Bercu says the brick-and-mortar bookstores that are still standing have a loyal following. "People choose to come to this store to do their Christmas shopping on a regular basis. It's a place you can bring your family; it does not have the overwhelming intensity of a shopping mall; it's a single store," he says. "And it's just part of the season here in Austin." The holidays, Bercu adds, are definitely the season for hardcovers. Any other time of year, you might settle for a paperback or prefer the convenience of an e-book. But at this time of year, customers are looking for something special for someone special — that novel that won the National Book Award, or maybe the biography everyone is talking about, or one of those glossy coffee-table books filled with beautiful photos and artwork. Read the full article at NPR