Monday, March 17, 2008

The Balkans and Bookselling During an Election

First, I would like to say that my thoughts go out to friends, acquaintances and former colleagues in Tirane, Albania. I hope that they are all well, and that none of them were affected by this week's disastrous explosions at the military munitions dump located in the Tirane suburbs. Regarding other news from the Balkans, I certainly hope that policy makers are keeping a very close eye on events in Kosovo these past few days.

I just finished reading a story by Jeffrey A. Trachtenburg that appeared this week in the Wall Street Journal and concerns the book selling industry('Borders to show off books more, cut volumes'). The story is about Borders Group Inc.'s decision to apparently face-out all titles in their stores, which will necessitate reducing inventory in the stores. Interesting. The bit that really caught my eye, though, concerned the general state of book selling. It's a tough row to hoe, no doubt. I'm not so certain, however, that I agree with the author's suggestion that this year being an election year may further dampen book sales, or an interest in reading. My experience suggests that political books, candidate biographies, and political punditry all constitute a genre in and off themselves. They often tend to be out-of-box bestsellers, too, though they do tend to have short shelf lives. Any thoughts?

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