BTW News Briefs

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Atria Mystery Authors to Take to the Road

Over the course of eight days this April, Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books is bringing four mystery writers to 12 cities, from New York to Missouri, on “Atria’s Great Mystery Bus Tour.” Authors hitting the road on the 2,375-mile trip are Liza Marlund (Last Will), John Connolly (Burning Soul), William Kent Krueger (Northwest Angle), and M.J. Rose (Lost Fragrances).

Among the stops, according to USA Today, are 10 indies and two Barnes & Noble locations: New York’s Mysterious Bookshop (April 12); R.J. Julia, Madison, Connecticut, and Barnes & Noble, Framingham, Massachusetts (April 13); Vermont Mystery Books, Brattleboro, and Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, New York (April 14); Books & Co., Dayton, Ohio (April 15); Centuries & Sleuths, Forest Park, Illinois, and Mystery One, Milwaukee, (April 16); Booked for Murder, Madison, Wisconsin, and Once Upon a Crime, Minneapolis (April 17); Rainy Day Books, Overland Park, Kansas (April 18); and Barnes & Noble, Chesterfield, Missouri (April 19).

Atria’s Paul Olsewski told USA Today that the authors will travel on a luxury executive coach with Wi-Fi, so they’ll be able to communicate via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube from the road.

BAM and Indigo Refuse to Sell Amazon Titles

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) was among the news organizations reporting this week on the decisions by Books-a-Million and Canada’s Indigo Books and Music to refuse to sell titles from Amazon’s East Coast Group in print, which are to be distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) outside of the platform. Last week, Barnes & Noble said that it would not stock Amazon published titles in its store showrooms. (See this week’s related IndieCommerce story.)

CSM also reported on rumors that Amazon plans to open a retail store in Seattle, where Amazon is based, in the next months. “This isn’t the first time rumors have circulated about Amazon opening a retail store. In 2007, similar speculation arose when Amazon filed a patent for a retail building, but the building never materialized,” the paper said. However, it noted that, according to reports, Amazon would model its retail store after Apple’s showroom-style boutiques – not after big box retailers.

OpenStax College to Offer Free Textbooks

This week, the Rice University-based open-education platform Connexions announced plans to provide free online publisher-quality textbooks for five of the country’s most-attended college courses. The OpenStax College textbook initiative is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation, and the Maxfield Foundation.

The first two books — College Physics and Introduction to Sociology — will be published in March; three more books are in production and slated to go online this fall.

OpenStax College books will be available for free online via computers, tablets, and smartphones. Connexion’s print-on-demand feature will make it possible for students to order low-cost print copies.

MIBA Reduces Staff

The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association Board of Directors announced this week that, due to the struggling economy and in order to ensure the association’s long-term financial viability, it had made the difficult decision to eliminate the full-time assistant director position held by Kati Gallagher.

“Kati has done excellent work on behalf of our members,” the MIBA Board and Executive Director Carrie Obry said in a e-mail to members. “She has cared deeply about the success of independent bookselling and we wish her well in all her endeavors. We currently haven’t made any new staffing decisions, as we will first take time to streamline our operations.”