Thursday, February 22, 2007

Used Books on the web

Chief Marketer-a business enewsletter I subscribe to in my workaday career-has an issue devoted to the book trade. Of course the first article I clicked through on was the one concerning the impact of the web on the used book trade. Go to

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sinclair Lewis cited by Joe Canason

You never know when an old tome that is rarely referred to in current time will pop up. All the more reason to keep those old books available.

Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here is cited in the new work by Joe Canason, It Can Happen Here. An excerpt published in Salon is here.

Here is the Lewis material as taken from Salon:

To Sinclair Lewis, who sardonically titled his 1935 dystopian novel "It Can't Happen Here," "it" plainly meant an American version of the totalitarian dictatorships that had seized power in Germany and Italy. Married at the time to the pioneering reporter Dorothy Thompson, who had been expelled from Berlin by the Nazis a year earlier and quickly became one of America's most outspoken critics of fascism, Lewis was acutely aware of the domestic and foreign threats to American freedom. So often did he and Thompson discuss the crisis in Europe and the implications of Europe's fate for the Depression-wracked United States that, according to his biographer, Mark Schorer, Lewis referred to the entire topic somewhat contemptuously as "it."
If "it" denotes the police state American-style as imagined and satirized by Lewis, complete with concentration camps, martial law, and mass executions of strikers and other dissidents, then "it" hasn't happened here and isn't likely to happen anytime soon.
For contemporary Americans, however, "it" could signify our own more gradual and insidious turn toward authoritarian rule. That is why Lewis's darkly funny but grim fable of an authoritarian coup achieved through a democratic election still resonates today -- along with all the eerie parallels between what he imagined then and what we live with now.
The question that we face in the era of terror alerts, religious fundamentalism, and endless warfare is whether we are still the brave nation preserved and rebuilt by the generation of Sinclair Lewis -- or whether our courage, and our luck, have finally run out. America is not yet on the verge of fascism, but democracy is again in danger. The striking resemblance between Buzz Windrip [the demagogic villain of Lewis's novel] and George W. Bush and the similarity of the political forces behind them is more than a literary curiosity. It is a warning on yellowed pages from those to whom we owe everything.
From "It Can Happen Here" by Joe Conason. Copyright (c) 2007 by the author and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Store Sales Down!

Bookies of the world, take to the streets and visit your favorite bookstore!

From PlanetRetail this morning is a story on the recent release of information from the US Census Bureau indicating that bookstore sales in 2006 were down almost 3 percent. While total book sales were up 6. I know that I've done my part for both sides of that report.
US Census Bureau says bookstore sales fell in 2006
The US Census Bureau has released preliminary results for bookstore sales in 2006, saying that they fell by 2.9% to USD16.1 billion. The Bureau said that the drop was affected by poor holiday sales, with December showing a fall of 8.8% to USD2.0 billion. However, the news for book selling was not uniformly bad in the US, with total sales for book retailing rising by 6% over the course of the year.