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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

RJ Julia up for sale

Facing the changes

Years ago -- maybe the year 2000 -- I went to Madison, Connecticut, to promote one of my books (She Captains)  at the wonderful RJ Julia bookstore.

The staff were friendly and very efficient; I was most impressed with how well they knew their customers and their tastes in literature.  The bookstore itself was gorgeous.  It has remained a very good memory.         

Now I read in Publishers Lunch that RJ Julia is up for sale.  I hope they find the right loving owner.  And I agree with Roxanne Coady that the future looks brighter for indie bookstores; figures indicate that it is the shareholders in chain bookstores who should be doing the worrying.

Bookselling: RJ Julia Seeks New Owner

Owner Roxanne Coady announced in an email to customers Monday morning that RJ Julia Booksellers, the Madison, CT-based store she founded and has owned since 1990, is looking for a buyer. Coady explained it's time for the store "to grow in new ways, in the care of new hands that will guide the store to take its proper place in a new world; a changing of the guard in a time of change." Founder of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates Donna Paz Kaufman will handle the sale process.

Coady assured customers that the store won't close and "this is not an end for R.J. Julia, but simply a new beginning....We are determined to see R.J. Julia survive and thrive into the future. And there is good reason to think it can. The last few months have shown a resurgence of support and sales for independents across the country. There is even talk of this being the beginning of a renaissance for independent bookselling." But to take advantage of this "renaissance," RJ Julia "needs a new steward" along the lines of recent ownership transfers at the Harvard Bookstore and Politics & Prose.

Coady said she plans to devote more time to her literacy foundation Read to Grow and that combating low literacy rates in the US "feels like an ideal next step in my career."
Coady letter

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