Pride, Prejudice and Book Store Closings
Image: Stock Montage/ Getty Images
To celebrate the publication of Pride and Prejudice 200 years ago this week, Paula Byrne, author of the biography The Real Jane Austen, offers these facts about the novelist:
1. Her original draft of Pride and Prejudice was titled First Impressions and was rejected by a top publisher.
2. She accepted a proposal from her best friend's brother, but changed her mind the next morning.
3. Her deep dislike of the French was fueled by her cousin's husband's death by guillotine during the Revolution.
4. The publisher of Pride and Prejudice was Egerton’s Military Library, which specialized in military history—not romances.
5. A character in Sanditon, one of Austen's two incomplete novels, is homeopathic health nut who wants to swim in the sea in a bathing machine with a mixed race girl.
6. Austen's other unfinished novel is called The Watsons. The heroine's name was Emma Watson.
You can download a free digital copy of Pride and Prejudice from iTunes
More interesting facts can be found on the Jane Austen Society of North America website
, including a bit that caught my attention. In World War I, soldiers read "Pride and Prejudice" for comfort and distraction. Rudyard Kipling later published "The Janeites," a short story about a group of soldiers who shared a passion for Jane Austen.
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From Shelf Awareness and the Wall Street Journal (Jan 28):
Over the next decade, Barnes & Noble will likely close a third of its 689 general retail stores, or about 20 a year, Mitchell Klipper, CEO of B&N's retail group, told the Wall Street Journal. Slimmed down to 450 to 500 stores, the retail stores represent "a good business model," he said, emphasizing that today only about 20 B&N trade stores--3% of the total--lose money...
I hate reading about any bookstore closing--but it's not just because of the obvious. As an author, fewer stores mean fewer advance sales--already down because we lost Borders last year. It also means less shelf space and with their new policy, Barnes and Noble no longer carries the extended back list it used to. I'd like to think as more and more big box stores close, readers would turn to their independents but many smaller stores cannot match the price points of the big box stores. And like it or not, price does matter. It's a problem that affects us all and it's only going to get worse.
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Let's end with something more pleasant than bookstores closing. I'm not impressed by most book trailers but this is a good one! Enjoy!
Labels: Barnes and Noble, Pride and Prejudice, Truth in Advertising