Independent booksellers see ‘pretty good’ rebound

Stores holding on in a changing market

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BookExpo can be likened to the annual reunion of a dispersed and quarrelsome family: Attendees do have issues. Many stores refuse to stock books released by Amazon, and booksellers and publishers worry greatly about Amazon’s power as a retailer to offer deep discounts. Apple Inc., which will be present at BookExpo, and five publishers were sued in April by the federal government for alleged price fixing. When Apple introduced the iPad two years ago, it negotiated agreements that allowed publishers to set their own prices for e-books, a response to Amazon’s policy of charging just $9.99 for best-sellers

One convention panel is titled “What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew: Libraries Build Book Buzz,” addressing a perennial conflict between libraries and publishers: Whether free books, especially free e-books, mean lost sales or potential new ones.

BookExpo also will feature a book blogging conference where best-selling novelist Jennifer Weiner, whose “The Next Best Thing” comes out in July, will give the keynote address.

“For those of us who don’t write the kind of fiction that gets celebrated in the New York Times or excerpted in the New Yorker, it’s an invaluable opportunity to keep in touch,” Ms. Weiner wrote in a recent email, “to remind readers that we’re out here, to be funny or pithy or entertaining or provocative, to hone our voices by publishing regularly, and, if we’re lucky, to get readers excited about our next book.”

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