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AAUP Opens Washington, D.C., Office

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has opened its first Washington, D.C. office, the group announced Thursday.

According to the AAUP, an organization of close to 140 international nonprofit scholarly publishers, the Association is undertaking this expanded presence “in order to further its strategic goals of advocacy and collaboration with stakeholders in higher education, copyright, freedom of expression, scholarly communications, the humanities, and global policy.”

AAUP Executive Director Peter Berkery will be the group’s main representative in Washington. He will divide his time between the D.C. office at 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, an address shared by AAUP member Brookings Institution Press; New York City; and a regular travel schedule.

“AAUP has long been headquartered in New York City, the epicenter of North American publishing,” Berkery said. “But our membership’s interests extend more broadly into scholarly communications, global higher education policies, and to the humanities and technology issues. Plus, the city of Washington is home to a surprising array of scholarly publishers—with 10 AAUP member presses here, it is a vibrant center of mission-driven publishing.”

Houston’s Table Restaurant to Add Bookstore

Houston CultureMap reported last week that the high-end French restaurant Table, located in the city’s Galleria shopping area, will reinvent itself, adding a casual bakery and an Assouline Books boutique. The original restaurant upstairs, adopting a more eclectic French culinary style, will now be known as La Table Chateau, and the new bakery downstairs will be known as La Table Marche.

New York-based Invest Hospitality, which took over management of the restaurant from Chef Philippe Schmidt in May, estimates that the entire project will be completed by the end of the year. La Table has been granted an exclusive license to operate a standalone Assouline store in the Galleria-area, according to Invest CEO Alex Gaudelet. Assouline operates other high-end boutiques in the Americas (including one at the Plaza and one at Sotheby’s in New York City), Europe, and Asia.

“What we thought about with Assouline was really bringing culture into the space. The downstairs, with the bakery, throughout the day, you’ll have a coffee shop atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to pick up a book and read it or even purchase a book,” said Gaudelet. “If you’re going to a house and you’re bringing a baked good, you might as well also pick up a book and give it.” 

Amazon Opens Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore in Seattle

Online retail giant Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore on Tuesday, November 3, in an upscale outdoor shopping center in Seattle, the New York Times reported.

Amazon Books, which is located in a former Barnes and Noble, will offer up to 6,000 titles curated according to customer ratings, sales, pre-orders, and other factors.

Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst with Forrester Research, said the store appears to be an experiment to see what the company can learn about whether a physical store will increase your likelihood to spend with Amazon in general. However, many independent booksellers, such as Peter Aaron, owner of Seattle’s The Elliott Bay Book Company, aren’t sure what to make of the company’s seemingly ironic move.

“I can’t imagine that there would be any profit, especially if their pricing is identical to the prices online, given rent and staffing,” Aaron told the Times.

On November 4, the New Republic featured the article “My 2.5 Star Trip to Amazon’s Bizarre New Bookstore,” by former indie bookseller Dustin Kurtz, who concluded, “The store is aggressively inoffensive. It is nice only insofar as it is bland and has good lighting and they let a customer take his pretty chill dog in. The store is the physical incarnation of a monolithic business of immense wealth that is changing the face of literature itself, but from within it is all very boring, very safe, in an upscale grey palette kind of way.”

Fledgling LGBT Publisher Query Books Reaches Fundraising Goal

With two days left in its Kickstarter campaign, Query Books has surpassed its fundraising goal of $15,000, assuring that the new press will be able to publish at least two books to start.

The aspiring LGBT publishing house, which was founded by former bookseller Ken White in July to publish literary classics of the gay rights movement, launched the Kickstarter campaign three weeks ago and, since then, has received contributions for start-up costs from 165 donors.

Donations to donate to the campaign are being accepted until Saturday, November 7, at 5:00 p.m. PST.