Episode #1212

Do We Still Need Bookstores?

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo, New York The Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo, New York (Tiffany Arment)

It used to be the big chains that were feared and loathed by the old-fashioned independent booksellers. Now, some of those independent bookstores are cooking up survival strategies for the rapid dawning of the eBook Age. And at the South by Southwest festival, which took place in Austin last week, a great new act is a needle in the haystack – but we found a needle: blues guitarist Gary Clark, Jr.

Too Much Theater?

Are there too many little theater companies in America? Last month, that question was the shot heard round the theater world from National Endowment for the Arts Chair Rocco Landesman, a former Broadway producer. Landesman shocked the theater community by observing at a play development conference ...

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You Tell Us: Advice for Spidey

The troubled Broadway production of Spider-Man got even more troubled this week with an actress suffering serious injuries. We asked for your suggestions to save the vexed production, and we’ll hear this week from listener Richard Daniels.

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Gary Clark, Jr., Saves the Blues

The blues has an awkward PR problem: it is one of the pillars of African-American culture, but for the last few decades, the people playing it and listening to it have been largely white. Gary Clark, Jr., would like to change that. There’s no trick to getting young people back to the blues, he thinks – it’s just a matter of awareness.

Video: Gary Clark, Jr., performs "Bright Lights" at SXSW

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Walking with Maira Kalman

The artist and illustrator Maira Kalman has produced countless magazine covers, written a dozen books for children, and produced a great visual blog for the New York Times site. Kalman gets many of her ideas from taking walks. Everywhere she goes — and she travels a lot — all kinds of unusual people and their hats and shoes and pets are constantly catching her eye.

Slideshow: Maira Kalman — 30 Years on the Hunt for Art

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Survival Strategies for Booksellers

In the 1990s, independent bookstores were being put out of business by mega-chains. Now the chain bookstores are struggling: Borders filed for bankruptcy, and Barnes & Noble stock dropped 50% in the last month. With Amazon selling more Kindle books than any other format, the age of the eBook is finally upon us, and no brick and mortar bookstore is really safe.

Survey: Where do you buy your books?

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Randy Newman

If you’ve seen a Pixar movie in the last decade or so, chances are about even you heard Randy Newman singing. Newman composed the scores for Monsters, Inc, A Bug’s Life, Meet the Parents – and he recently won an Oscar for his song written for Toy Story 3. But another generation knew him as a cheerfully dark, satirical, folky singer-songwriter.

Bonus Track: Randy Newman performs "Potholes"

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Norms Davila from Greenbelt

Well, I like all venues to buy books possibly because most independents tend to be literary priding themselves on "important works" and some times I read those; the box stores for maybe the standard fare although it always reflects neighborhood tastes, online and ebooks because those vendors suggest other related types of books which neither of the bricks and mortar recommend. Further have you notice that some genres of books have become quite hefty and that the ebook versions can be housed in a lighter frame of an ebook player. And while I do like the feel of books I do adore the idea of carrying a library with me. So if I'm in the mood for something substantial I can but if I can read something light and fluffy that to

Apr. 03 2011 07:05 AM
steve from St.Louis

I prefer to read in bookstores, the chain
stores make it easy, I've read several,
as many visits it takes, chapter or two at
a time. The waiting list at the library is
often longer than it takes to finish a good
story/book. I also "need" to confess that
there's this really cute coffee maker that
doesn't distract me too much.

Apr. 02 2011 02:40 PM
Kirsten

@Michael
Thank you very much!

Apr. 01 2011 04:28 PM
Loralee Cooley from Cordell Oklahoma

We're talking about a real conundrum here: never going to read an E-book or go to a box book store vs. how many trees does it take to print all these books we all love.

I really hadn't considered the paper thing until I tried to publish my first children's book by a regular trade publisher (read: paper book). After they backed out, I discovered an internet publisher, www.sharing-books.com, that strictly does on-line books, and is also a corporate sponsor of something worthwhile, namely, Room-to-Read. So...at no cost to me (and so far no financial return, either)...I am now considered a "published" author, even though my one book is available only on-line.

What does that mean? Have I copped out? Is this really the end of print books? I sincerely hope not; there's nothing more comforting than the feel and fragrance of a good book. And to prove that, just arrived in today's mail is a brand-new National Geographic book that I'm holding in one hand while typing with the other.

Mar. 29 2011 04:41 PM

@Kirsten: The scoring at the end of "Survival Strategies for Booksellers" is:

Piano Concerto in F Minor (Bach), from the album "Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 - Bach: Piano Concerto in F Minor"

Mar. 29 2011 02:02 PM
Kirsten from Upstate New York

What is the piano piece featured at the end of this story?

Mar. 29 2011 01:05 PM
Raymond J. Aklonis from Lambertville, NJ

Across the Delaware River from my rivertown residence is New Hope, Pa., home of Farley's Book Store. It is a small book store run by readers and enthusiasts that share their excitement for the world of ideas with their customers. I prefer to spend the extra money for their books rather than go to the mega stores that don't come close to the intimacy and warmth one feels at Farleys. It is an ever present joy to walk across the bridge to spend an hour browsing in the stacks and small rooms of this gracious establishment. I will never purchase an e-book and encourage everyone not to give up the experience of handling a book with beautiful covers, a variety of fonts, and the texture of papers.

Mar. 29 2011 11:43 AM
irene from washington state

I agree with Judy; I've a pc, but it's basically for keeping in touch iwth friends.
I prefer local bookstores; there are a few within 5 miles of my residence. I like keeping them open, and the people are personable, and often, live in the area where the store is located.....some are used bookstores, some are new book stores, but I love them, and will support them.

Mar. 27 2011 10:46 PM
Robert LaTurner from Seattle, WA

I still love the experience of being in bookstores of every type. I feel overjoyed to be living in an area that has so many Half-Price Books. That is where I buy more books than anywhere else. That way I'm not confined to what is new and hip, or even what is currently in print. And hey, a bargain is a bargain!

Mar. 27 2011 10:46 PM
Judy/Vermont

I won't buy anything online, nor do I do box stores: I buy my books locally, keep the money at home, keep my neighbors in business. I've had a PC since they first came out, but won't be ruled by them -- nor by gadgets. I prefer LIFE!

Mar. 27 2011 04:54 PM

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