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To re-fashion the experience of a bookstore and discovery of a book, an outlet in Japan curates a collection of high-end cultural titles.

By Porter Anderson for Perspective Publishing Jan 4, 2019

 

‘Immersion and Relaxation’

Having opened on December 10, a concept bookstore in central Tokyo is getting novelty-press attention primarily for its admission fee.

It costs 1,500 yen (US$13.89) to enter the 460-meter Bunkitsu, which is set in a location known for bookselling, formerly the site of the Aoyama Book Center. The name reportedly translates roughly to an idea of consuming culture, and to that end the store features a firmly curated collection of some 30,000 books and magazines on topics “from humanities and natural sciences to design and art,” according to the company’s promotional messaging.

The entry area in the Roppongi Electric Building features regularly changing exhibitions and a focus on the 90 or so magazines featured as part of the offer. There also are areas designated as a library, a reading room, a “laboratory”—a kind of meeting room for group discussion—and a tea room.

Some of the services offered include personal curation: give the store three days’ notice and the staff will choose some books to match your interest and have them ready for your visit. When you arrive, there’s a locker for your things and free wi-fi and power. While the emphasis is on the curated collection in-store, the company accepts orders for books not on the shelves. if your book or magazine costs more than 10,000 yen (US$92.63), shipping is free.

The venture’s heavy emphasis on design is driven by Smiles, the “lifestyle value” retail company that’s also behind Soup Stock Tokyo; second-hand stores called New Recycle; a necktie branded boutique called Giraffe with an inventory divided into four body temperatures; and 100 Spoons, a family-focused restaurant.

The bookish element of the new store is handled by two companies. The bookstore called Morioka Shoten was opened in the summer of 2015 and is known for its “single room with a single book” approach (the featured title changes weekly). And Yours Book Store is behind several bookselling business locations and events. Operation of Bunkitsu is being handled by Nippon Shuppan Hanbai.

The entry fee is meant to correspond to the cost of a cinema ticket or museum entry charge, and the store carries a very limited stock of each book in its collection. (The company’s site says that customers can reserve a book they want to examine.)

 

‘Deeply Fitting Books’

At Asahi Shimbun, Yusuke Kato writes that browsing is strongly encouraged: “Although the books are arranged according to genre, they are not put in alphabetical order according to publisher or author.” Bunkitsu’s site says that the reception desk on the first floor does offer an inventory search, however.

A book of the day is featured by the staff. Recent selections include:

  • Thursday of this week (January 3): Right Hand and Brain by Peter Springer (Mitsubosha)
  • December 30: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglissi (JADD Publishing in English, Film Art Company in Japanese
  • December 27: Semi-God by Hagio Osamu (Shogakkan)
  • December 18: Telephone, Sleep, Music by Kawakatsu Tokushige (Lydo)
  • December 13: Still Life by Irving Penn (Bulfinch)
  • December 10, opening day: Moon Palace by Paul Auster (Shinchosha)

A book marked with pink indicates a staff favorite, a “first love” in the store’s lingo.

And lingering is the idea. In the café, visitors can spend as long as they like with books, taking meals from the kitchen or nursing free coffee and tea.

While reporting to date on the new store is uneven, most journalists refer to Japan’s depressed book retail environment as the impetus for the new effort. at The Times of India, Chelsea Ritschel writes that the goal is “to create a bookstore that has lasting potential amid threats from online retailers such as Amazon.”

Other reports mention closed bookstores in Japan, as well, but it’s hard at this early stage to know if whether a store that invites customers to spend all day reading from a niche selection of books—with no requirement to buy—is sustainable. In one way, the business model appears to reverse the idea of a bookstore with a café: Bunkitsu is a café with a bookstore, the restaurant area having the most space, a 90-seat capacity. Coffee and tea are free, meals and desserts are sold.

 

‘Chance Encounters’

Suffice it to say that the experience is the pitch here.

“Enjoy culture, a bookstore,” says the store’s promotional copy. “Play with books in your own favorite way. Chance encounters, instances of love at first sight, developing relationships with captivating books.

The term the store is using for the entry fee translates a bit unfortunately to “funeration” in English, which may entice no one beyond funeral directors. But that’s a linguistic hitch that won’t concern a Japanese clientele.

And what makes this experiment as interesting as it is, finally, is–for lack of a better term and without prejudice—how precious it is. Someone looking for a lawn mower repair manual may run screaming out into the Tokyo night from Bunkitsu, but those who embrace the idea of books-as-lifestyle—and whose interests lie in the arts and humanities of the store’s collection—may well love it.

A prominent part of the come-hither copy on the store’s site is a poem the title of which is “A Bookstore for Meeting Books.” The poem stresses serendipity, an elegant dalliance in which “at the end of the day you will find a book on your mind.” Other phrases serve to heighten the sense of fashion in the appeal: “I spend my time carefully with coffee” and “Immersion and relaxation come and go.”

While nothing in the company’s literature says this specifically, of course, this is a decidedly upscale appeal—a high-end culturally themed collection curated for people who seek, as the poem has it, “relationship with deeply fitting books.”

Many will keep an eye on Bunkitsu, not yet a month old, to see if this confluence of ambiance and a club-like atmosphere can woo a profitable turnout to wear the entrance badge that admission fee provides.

Here’s one line in which the store cinches its pitch, by putting the experience of discovering a read on a par with the read itself. Bunkitsu, its messaging says, offers “the encounter with an unprecedented book.”

 

We would love to hear what you think about a concept like the one above working in Texas or somewhere in the USA.  Please click here to give quick response.  Thank you!

As we begin a new year, there is clearly a lot of crap left over from last year, and possible headaches for the year ahead. Many financial experts are saying we are heading for a recession. Legal experts say we may be heading for an impeachment of a sitting President. Global warming, and so much other heavy negative stuff.

No matter what your position is, the one fact remains…YOU are an Author with books to sell. While on a personal level you will address each of the above items in your own way. Even with all of the other stuff going on, the fact remains you need to plan your marketing to help sell your books so you can become a great Authorprenuer!

You DO want to be planning your marketing for the new year now. Map out every step for a new book, or for continued promotion of your current works.

With another 100,000 authors being added to the publishing world this year, you have more and more competition for readers. Therefore, it is imperative you do it right and not by the seat of your pants.

Big publishing houses and movie companies plan their marketing well in advance and that is why in most cases they succeed. You too must consider this, so you can succeed in your genre or particular release.

Part of this planning is also seeking out how to make more profit from your books. Is it cost advantage to sell your books on Amazon? Does your book get lost in the millions of other authors and books? Is it worth the temporary thrill of getting a ‘Best Seller’ listing that can fizzle in hours or days? Is it worth it that you may do decent on Amazon, but yet the world still doesn’t know about you?

Let’s face it, no matter if you love Amazon or not, they are there to make money and their ONLY concern is how to squeeze out every penny from you so that they can make billions. And that is the American Dream!

But, it is also the American Dream for everyone to have an opportunity to reach new levels in their career or style of living. To reach for every star of success and achievement that can be had. I created a bookstore to help you do exactly that.

Indie Lector is designed for YOU to make more money and to get more publicity then you may otherwise get in other stores. The choice is yours, have more money to promote your book so you can succeed or give more money to the large corporation that doesn’t care about your success.

Yes, we know Amazon has made it easy for people to buy books and we too are continually working to achieve that goal. And while everyone thinks of Amazon to buy books, by you educating them that there is a better place to buy books, then both authors & readers succeed. They still get great deals and you make more profit. A win win for each party.

You can be part of the Authors Revolution and claim your RIGHT to earn a fair living from your books or roll over and allow companies to take advantage of your work and make billions off of you and others without giving back.

For eight years we have been promoting authors and helping people learn more and more about them and we have seen success for those authors that want to succeed. We will continue to create programs, events and opportunities for your success. Will you take advantage this year of these opportunities, or simply roll over and play dead?

Now is the time, not later. Not when you have more money. Now….2019 is the year!

 

Porter Anderson on December 14, 2018

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rules that resale of digital content as conceived by the startup ReDigi is a copyright infringement.

‘This Cockroach of a Legal Case’

Probably the most ringing phrase in this week’s news about the Capitol Records v. ReDigi case is Michael Cader’s “once again.”

In his report at Publishers Lunch, Cader is getting at the revolving-door feel of a long-running and failed effort.

He writes, “Just as a district court unequivocally and thoroughly called the (now bankrupt) startup ReDigi’s efforts to establish a scheme and marketplace for reselling ‘used’ copies of copyrighted digital files of music (and thus potentially ebooks, as well as video, games and software) copyright infringement in 2013, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ratified that decision in this cockroach of a legal case.”

And he’ll get no argument from the Association of American Publishers. In a statement from the AAP’s president and CEO, Maria A, Pallante, we read:

“Publishers welcome the Second Circuit’s sound ruling in Capitol Records v. ReDigi on on the three major issues addressed in the opinion.

“First, in applying the plain meaning of the Copyright Act, the court confirmed that when a defendant makes unauthorized reproductions of copyrighted works and distributes them, it is not merely reselling or retransferring used works in the manner of a used bookstore. Rather, it is engaged in copyright infringement, and therefore disqualified from asserting the limitations on the distribution right afforded by the first sale doctrine.

“Second, the court unequivocally rejected fair use, in which it highlighted that the defendant’s conduct creates nearly identical copies of protected works and is therefore aimed squarely at the copyright owners’ primary markets.

“Third, the court rejected the invitation from law professors to overtake Congress on matters of policy, noting that on the question of whether first sale should be extended to the digital realm, it is not the court but Congress they must seek to persuade.

“This case is critical in that it reinforces the underlying equities of the copyright law, in which the rights and investments of copyright owners are a valuable part of the marketplace of innovation, not to be minimized or appropriated in the name of expediency.”

In essence, per the AAP, the court’s opinion is—once again, as Cader has it—a rejection of the “first sale doctrine” as a defense of the idea of making unauthorized copies of digital files.

Plainly put: No, you cannot sell your ebooks to a second-hand vendor as you might sell your used physical textbooks to the campus bookstore.

Some of us remember numbing presentations in New York years ago of the ReDigi concept of a “used digital resale platform,” and as far back as March 2013, a Tools of Change article from Jenn Webb looked at the issue and many viewpoints on it–mentioning even then “ReDigi’s ongoing court case.”

At Publishers Weekly, Andrew Albanese this week looks back at how, “When it first launched in 2011, ReDigi touted the legality of its service. Users could upload their old iTunes tracks to ReDigi, which removed the tracks from the user’s computer, and offered them for resale. The company stressed that it never copied the files, but rather ‘migrated’ them, bit by bit, from one device to another, the end result mimicking an analog resale.”

Albanese also refers to the amicus brief filed last year by the AAP in the case, in which the association warned of “grave and immediate consequences for the publishers of literary works in print and digital formats,” something that would be “out of step with the careful calibrations employed by Congress and the courts when considering infringements” to copyright protection.

As Albanese now writes, “If digital first sale is going to become a reality, it may take an act of Congress to do it.

“In a highly anticipated decision, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals this week shot down the prospect of a resale market for digital files emerging any time soon, unanimously affirming a 2013 ruling that effectively shut down ReDigi, the upstart service created in 2011 to offer consumers a way to resell their legally purchased iTunes files.”

 

About

Texas Authors, Inc. is an organization designed to help Texas Authors learn how to better market and sell their books.

We work closely with our partners DEAR Texas, Inc., and Texas Authors Institute of History, Inc., both nonprofits that have created additional programs and events for Authors.

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