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Indie Booksellers Make Way for “French Corners”

The French Embassy in New York City is recruiting independent booksellers nationwide to create special “French Corners” in their stores to showcase French works in the original language and in translation, reported the New York Times.

Albertine, the Embassy’s bookstore, has created two lists of recommendations for booksellers: one featuring 75 classic and contemporary titles in French and the other offering 60 titles in English translation and 15 in French.

Washington, D.C.’s Politics & Prose; Portland, Oregon’s Powell’s Books; and Chicago, Illinois’ Book Cellar are some of the stores that have signed on to promote these French titles through displays and events. Houston’s Brazos Bookstore held a party in January to celebrate the opening of its French Corner. More than 100 customers attended, buying up a significant portion of the available French titles, said store buyer Keaton Patterson.

An Embassy spokesperson told the Times that the goal is to feature French titles in at least one bookstore in every major U.S. city.

Back of Beyond Books Marks 25 Years

This month, Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah, is celebrating 25 years in business. Over the years, the store has doubled its size but still maintains its focus on regional literature, including new, used, and rare books of the Colorado Plateau and the West.

Opening its doors in February 1990, the bookstore took root from an idea that began at author Edward Abbey’s memorial service. The name of the store comes from Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, which features character “Seldom Seen” Smith’s company and hideout, Back of Beyond.

The store will not be hosting a formal celebration, but is preparing a limited-edition release of one of Abbey’s speeches and is curating several upcoming events to honor Abbey and his legacy.

Brilliant Books Sees Surge in Book of the Month Club Interest

In just one month, Traverse City, Michigan’s Brilliant Books has seen a tenfold increase in subscribers to its Book of the Month Club, reported the Traverse City Record-Eagle, and the store is keeping up with the new demand by transitioning its paper membership cards to electronic records.

Launched in 2009, the club matches readers to titles based on details provided in a questionnaire. Prices range from $69 for a four-month subscription to $295 for 12 months.

An increase in demand over the holidays now means the club has subscribers in all 50 states. “We went from subscriber numbers in the low hundreds to over a thousand in the space of four weeks in December,” owner Peter Makin told the Record-Eagle. Makin hopes to have 10,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

Since then, the store has converted its paper-based system to an electronic database in order to track members’ reading preferences, titles they’ve received via the club, and reader feedback. “I can select books as swiftly and accurately now for a customer as if they were standing in front of me,” said store manager Jack Hannert.

Singles Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Avid Bookshop

On Valentine’s Day, Athens, Georgia’s Avid Bookshop hosted a Singles Soiree for readers, reported Flagpole Magazine. “Take dating off a Web page and surround it with book pages instead!” the store encouraged on Facebook.

Billing the event as an “opportunity to provide relief from the stress of being single on Valentine’s Day,” Avid invited singles and those without their significant others on the holiday to enjoy wine, cookies, and holiday chocolates, as well as free books wrapped in brown paper and decorated with holiday-themed sayings such as, “I love you so much I could eat you!”