With the rise of the e-book, the collapse of Borders, and the changing nature of bookselling, what is the future of the great independent bookstore? Literary agent Eric Simonoff, co-head of the book department at WME Entertainment, will host a freewheeling conversation with two successful and beloved booksellers in New York City, each of whom will bring along an author closely associated with their store.
Jonathan Ames is the author of I Pass Like Night; The Extra Man; What's Not to Love?; My Less Than Secret Life; Wake Up, Sir!; I Love You More Than You Know; and The Alcoholic.
He is the creator of the HBO Original Series Bored to Death. The film adaptation of Ames's novel The Extra Man was released in 2010.
Roxanne J. Coady
Ms. Roxanne J. Coady founded R.J. Julia Booksellers Ltd. in 1989 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. Ms. Coady is the Owner of R. J. Julia Booksellers, LLC. She is also the Founder of an on-line retailer, JustTheRightBook.com. She has been a Director of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. since April 15, 2011. Ms. Coady has been a Director of New Alliance Bancshares Inc. since September 2003 and of its subsidiary, NewAlliance Bank (formerly, New Haven Savings Bank) since 1995.
She is the Founder and Chair of Read to Grow, a statewide literacy organization and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater New Haven Convention & Tourism Bureau and the Foote School. Ms. Coady was a former National Tax Director and Partner in BDO Seidman, the Chairman of the Tax Division of the New York State Society of CPAs and the Chairman of the Partnership Committee Task Force of the American Institute of CPAs.
Ms. Coady has also served as a Delegate for the White House Conference on Small Business. Her business and community involvement also includes the Boards of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Governor's Early Childhood Research and Policy Council, Foote School and the Kenyon Review.
Sarah McNally is the owner of independent bookstore and teahouse McNally Robinson is located at 50 Prince Street in New York.
Eric Simonoff is a literary agent at William Morris Endeavor.
He graduated from Princeton University in 1989, with a degree in Classics. He began his publishing career at the W.W. Norton literary agency as an editorial assistant. He joined Janklow and Nesbit 1991 and rose to co-director. He left Janklow & Nesbit for William Morris Endeavor in 2009. His switch in agencies was considered a major event in the publishing industry.
He represents three Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as over a dozen New York Times bestselling authors.
Simon Van Booy
Simon Van Booy grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Don't Matter, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and on NPR.
He lives in New York City, where he teaches at the School of Visual Arts and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities program for young adults living in underserved communities. He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into thirteen languages.
His debut novel, Everything Beautiful Began After is out now.
Zack Zook took over as general manager of BookCourt three years ago, and while it was always expected he would one day run the family business, it was a bit of a surprise that Zook assumed the reins at the age of 20. During his tenure, Zook has expanded the events schedule; founded a literary journal, The Cousin Corinne, which will launch this summer; and assisted in the planning for an expansion that will double the store's space when it is completed in the spring.
Despite BookCourt's growth, Zook rails against the rise of chain retailers in general, which he blames for the demise of hundreds of independents over the past decade. BookCourt has avoided that fate because of a loyal following and the advantage it enjoys in owning its building, which has enabled it to thrive despite escalating Brooklyn rents and a nearby Barnes & Noble that opened in Cobble Hill in 2000.
With the universal rise of eBooks, independent book sellers and authors are worried that changes in consumption patterns will render the physical book obsolete. Author Jonathan Ames voices this concern, noting his discomfort with how difficult it is to even find a hard copy of the newspaper today.