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The end of the book world as we know it. Have a cuppa.

February 26, 2008 | 10:35 am


Stay away from tea, because it’s easy to read the end of literature in the tea leaves if you try. The NEA is in the habit of releasing reports about the demise of reading. In Los Angeles, the venerable bookstore Dutton’s Brentwood announced yesterday that it’s closing its doors (also here, here, here and here), without plans to relocate or reopen.

But if you stick to coffee, you might just think books are doing OK. Starting today, you’ll find "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff for sale in more than 7,000 Starbucks nationwide. It’s the fourth book offered by the coffee giant, which seems to have figured out a winning formula. Two of the earlier books –- Mitch Albom’s "For One More Day" and “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah -- sold more than 100,000 copies in the chain’s shops. That alone is a respectable sales number, from what I hear, and of course the books continue to sell in more traditional venues, like bookstores (as long as they stay open). Who knows what Sheff’s book –- which is about addiction -– will do with the compulsively-caffeinated crowd lining up for their lattes.

If you want to hear more of David Sheff, he’s on Leonard Lopate’s radio show tomorrow –- Lopate is on WNYC, but you can catch him on the internet live at 9am Pacific -– right about the time you get to your desk with your coffee – or tea -- in hand.

Carolyn Kellogg

photo by Michael via Flickr