October 26, 2010

Vivienne Carey presented and spoke about a list of organizations which members of the Amherst Club support

Guests were Chris Hurn and Paul Bacon.
Announcements: Trivia Bee will be on Thursday , October 28 at 7 PM at the Middle School. Our team is Harrison Gregg, Arthur Kinney,  Flo Stern and Ruth Miller.
Isaac Ben Ezra reminded us to vote on Tuesday, November 2, and told us about a number of events on ACTV with various candidates featured.
Therese Donahue announced the beginning of the ballet season at the Eric Carle museum with programs at 2 and 3 PM on Saturdays in November.
Members were asked to sign a sympathy card to Cynthia Brubaacker, who lost her sister recently.

Phyllis Lehrer introduced our speaker, Joan Grenier, owner and director of the Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley. Joan gave us a short history of the bookstore. Her father, a French Canadian, immigrated to Holyoke in 1923, started out as a pharmacist, loved books, purchased Lessey's store in 1957, turned it into a bookstore in 1963.  The 80's and '90's were the heydays of the independent bookstores. The store survived twice being burned to the ground, moved into its present space in 1991. It now has 11 and 1/2 full time equivalent workers.
With the advent of Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble competition has intensified, but the Odyssey competes by selling books in many places and by holding 130 public events every year. These have featured famous authors such as Amy Goodman, Gloria Steinem, Pete Seeger, Greg Mortenson, etc.  Several book groups are connected with the store and conferences are held there.
joan mentioned the challenges that independent bookstores face:
1) Publishers bought by foreign companies
2) Inventory control,
3) Thoughtful readers diminishing,
4) Elimination of book reviews in newspapers
5) On-line book companies' competition
6)Our economy
7) Amazon.com does not pay state taxes in many states.

Joan ended with a long list of books for holiday giving, which can be found on Odyssey.com

Ruth Hooke, scribe