Wednesday, April 28, 2010

India through Mahri's eyes

Mahri Kerley, owner of Chaucer's Bookstore, spent several weeks taking photographs in India in the fall of 2008. India is a magnificent country, saturated with color and completely overwhelming for all of the senses. Mahri has chosen a dozen of her most vivid images for an exhibition at Indigo Interiors (1323 State Street). The photographs remain for viewing and purchase throughout the month of May.

Two Worlds - Two Views: Two photographic journeys by Mahri Kerley and David Hancock. Mahri Kerley captures the rich texture of life in India through her colorful portraits. David Hancock evokes the graphic beauty of streetscapes and botanicals from Europe and Taos.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Matterhorn - 2010 Literary Event

The much anticipated release of Karl Marlantes' novel "Matterhorn" is Tuesday March 23rd. This new voice in American literature worked for over 30 years to bring his novel set in Vietnam during the war to readers. Karl Marlantes will visit Chaucer's on April 14th at 7pm. Everybody is strongly encouraged to attend, meet Mr. Marlantes, and pick up a signed copy of one of the most important books of the year. Shelf Awareness conducted an interesting interview with the author. "Matterhorn" is so much more than a "novel of the Vietnam war".
It is a reading experience that you will not soon forget.
Author Karl Marlantes and publisher Morgan Entrekin (great champion of world literature & national treasure) provide some background on the book.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jason Epstein Revisited

Robert McCrum presents a refreshing look at publishing in the Guardian that cites Jason Epstein's NY Review article (see below) and emphasizes the fact that reading and writing will remain what they always have been. Is it possible that new devices or delivery systems can fundamentally change that?

By the way, Robert McCrum has a new book due in May - "Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language" - described by the publisher as "a Guns, Germs, and Steel argument based on the power of the word."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Food for Thought

Jason Epstein, co-founder of "On Demand Books" which sells the Espresso book machine, has written a thoughtful piece on the digital future, and the role of print in that future, in a recent New York Review of Books. The balanced article notes that it is "likely that shops offering carefully chosen inventories of new and used titles, especially books in hard covers, art books, and many kinds of childrens' books which cannot economically be printed on demand will become neighborhood meeting places, while outlets that specialize in hardcover commercial best sellers will continue to do so."

His advice is to patiently await the birth of the digital book network and an enriched world of books, where titles will be more accessible than ever before. There are many unanswered questions regarding gatekeepers, monopoly, and control, and we will be watching with great interest and anticipation. Chaucer's is marching into the future by continuing to do our best at curating a dynamic and interesting inventory, matching readers with books, and serving the community as we have for over 35 years.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Amazon tweaking Macmillan?

Last Friday evening, Amazon relisted the Macmillan titles after their weeklong freeze. Evidently the new pricing awaits the arrival of the IPad in March. The kindle edition of Kristin Hannah's new "Winter Garden" is available today for $8.24 - even lower than the $9.99, which triggered Macmillan's action. The devaluation of the book continues, and Amazon continues to seek market share while appearing to be the "consumer's" best friend. Amazon's actions have demonstrated the dangers of consolidated power and hopefully the buying public is beginning to see that we need to be careful what we wish for (there may be a higher cost later for low prices now).

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Amazon, Neofeudal empires, and the Violence of Financial Capitalism

According to Publishers Lunch, who is doing a fantastic job of reporting - Amazon listed the new Kristin Hannah ("Winter Garden") kindle edition at $29.99 list/$16.99 selling price with a buy now button. Subsequent to this report at 3:20pm, however, the listing was removed and replaced by the "tell the publisher" you'd like to read this on kindle. There has been no explanation of this yet.

Barnes and Noble lists the e-book at $14.99. This would almost certainly have been a $9.99 for Amazon in the old days (prior to Friday evening). You can avoid all of this hooey and buy the book off of our shelves.

Speaking of books and fundamentally related to above - received new book from MIT Press that analyzes the financial crisis with an economic-philosophical bent. "The Violence of Financial Capitalism" by Christian Marazzi. He speaks of the "fictitious capital" that helped to wreak the havoc - a concept used by our old friend, K. Marx, in his third volume of "Capital". If you like critical theory, you'll like this book (and you might like it if you don't). The book is a very reasonable $12.99.

Also, while speaking of pertinent new titles - "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction" is well worth investigating. Neofeudalist empires controlling industry and commerce - not for the faint of heart but, if knowledge is power, perhaps it can make a real difference. If nothing else, it provides strange solace. Read it and weep.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Update: Amazon laments Macmillan monopoly

Amazon's "Kindle Team"released statement Sunday (1/31/10) lamenting the monopoly Macmillan has over their titles and speaks of their "mission."

Publishers Lunch (subscription edition) reports "that Macmillan CEO John Sargent has commented on what happens next between the publisher and Amazon, a first answer to the what kind of timeline "ultimately" means for the restoration of buy buttons:
'We are in discussions with Amazon on how best to resolve our differences. They are now, have been, and I suspect always will be one of our most valued customers.'"

Publishers Lunch (subscription edition) also reports: "Before Amazon posted their announcement about their intention to give in to Macmillan's new terms, we were working on this piece. Even when Amazon removed buy buttons from Macmillan's trade division titles, they kept selling books from Macmillan's Palgrave line. Primarily a scholarly publisher, in recent years Palgrave has also expanded its trade books.

Not only did the buy buttons stay active for the Palgrave trade titles, for those new releases with Kindle editions, Amazon was already selling the ebook versions for the "needlessly high" as they would put it price $15 in many cases.

As we have written many times before, while Amazon creates the impression that all new releases and hardcovers are available in ebook for $9.99 or less, about 30 percent of their offerings have consistently listed above that price point.

(Amazon's policy about Macmillan's educational lines were uneven; WH Freeman and Bedford titles we checked were not available, while some Hayden-McNeil titles were.)"

The New York Times suggests that Amazon blinked. The story is far from over.