” . . . what’s going on now in book retailing is microcosmic of what’s going on in the greater society.
“You probably haven’t heard about it, though (which is microcosmic of mainstream media coverage of conglomerate America, but that’s another column — although I must point out the irony that the plaintiff in the case is the brother of the late CBS newsman Charles Kuralt). But anyway, in brief: Walter Kuralt, owner of a bankrupt mini-chain called Intimate Bookshops, is suing Borders and Barnes & Noble for illegal activities — such as demanding secret discounts from publishers — that gave them an unfair advantage in the marketplace.
“Sound familiar? Well, it didn’t get much coverage either, but in another case last year, the American Booksellers Association and 26 independent bookstores sued the chains for the same thing.”
Here is Walter Kuralt’s website, titled: “Allegations and Proposed Reform: by Wallace H. Kuralt, Owner of the Famous, 40-Year Old, But Now-Failed Bookstore Chain,” subtitled: “A NATIONAL DISASTER: THE WAL-MARTS AND MEGA-MALLS IN AMERICA, THE DAMAGES CAUSED BY THEM AND THE FACTORS USED BY THEM TO DISPEL COMPETITION, WITH APPROACHES TO SOLUTIONS.”
How can I join this fight? I detest Borders and Barnes & Noble. Recently they helped inflict a new casualty among the independent bookstore community of Seattle: Beatty Books, formerly on Third a block north of the Bon. Beatty Books was my favorite bookstore in Seattle; I grieve.