Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Layoffs at Powells City of Books

From Shelf Awareness comes this bad news about one of the greatest bookstores in America, Powells City of Books in Portland, Oregon:

Citing "an industry-wide decline in new book sales, rising healthcare
costs, and the economy," Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., yesterday laid
off 31 employees, the Oregonian
reported. The affected booksellers represent about 7% of the company's
400 employees, mostly floor workers and seven or eight in the group
managing the company's website.

Ryan Van Winkle, a representative for Powell's union, said that the
affected employees were members of the union and that no management or
security guards had been laid off. According to a memo to employees, pay
for non-union staff has been frozen for at least a year and the company
has suspended contributions to its 401(k) plan.

Van Winkle told the Portland Mercury
that Powell's and the union had worked together during the past year to
avoid layoffs by reducing hours, among other changes. Van Winkle said
that the union is "worried about doing more work with less people and
also, frankly, being sure that this doesn't disrupt the work the union
does, like filling those cut jobs with managers or temporary workers."

The company said of the layoffs: "This undesirable course of action was
taken only after serious consideration of other possible options and a
careful evaluation of the future."

In the memo to the staff, Powell's said that sales this fiscal year are
down, with "the largest decreases" in new book sales, "a clear
indication that we are losing sales to electronic books and reading
devices." The company expects new book sales to continue to erode "over
the next year" and that it can compensate only in part "with solid used
book sales and growth in gift sales."

It is just horrifying that this far into the recession, there are still people losing their jobs, especially in the book industry, an industry that I love more than I love my own media industry with it's host of jobless journalists (or underpaid ones, like myself). I've heard many people spout the nonsense that the recession is over, and the American economy is in 'recovery' but I have yet to see where anyone, outside of the banks and auto companies that got bailouts, has really recovered at all, when most seem to be daily trying not to sink.

Also from Shelf Awareness, some interesting bookends:

Bookends "are more than just decorative (and in some cases, dangerous)
objects--they're also pretty darn useful," Flavorwire observed in
showcasing "10 Shelf-Worthy Bookends"

And finally, the wonderful Nancy Pearl has revised her rules of reading (and I totally agree with her findings, I might add):

Nancy Pearl's Revised 'Rule of 50'

"On the spur of the moment, with no particular psychological or literary
theory in mind to justify it, I developed my Rule of 50: Give a book 50
pages. When you get to the bottom of Page 50, ask yourself if you're
really liking the book. If you are, of course, then great, keep on
reading. But if you're not, then put it down and look for another....

"This rule of 50 worked exceedingly well until I entered my own 50s. As
I wended my way toward 60, and beyond, I could no longer avoid the
realization that, while the reading time remaining in my life was
growing shorter, the world of books that I wanted to read was, if
anything, growing larger. In a flash of, if I do say so myself,
brilliance, I realized that my Rule of 50 was incomplete. It needed an
addendum. And here it is: When you are 51 years of age or older,
subtract your age from 100, and the resulting number (which, of course,
gets smaller every year) is the number of pages you should read before
you can guiltlessly give up on a book. As the saying goes, 'Age has its
privileges.' And the ultimate privilege of age, of course, is that when
you turn 100, you are authorized (by the Rule of 50) to judge a book by
its cover."

--Nancy Pearl (librarian, author and action figure) in the Toronto Globe
& Mail

1 comment:

kbos2hm said...

we had worse a few weeks ago over here in the uk theyve stated closeing stores waterstones one of the biggest bookshops plus they have cut down on a lot of the computer books witch i loved i asked a bloke in the shop and he says its really tuff times and waterstones is struggling a little bit