Archive for the ‘Bookselling’ Category

Sudden Backlist Best Sellers

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

We’ve written about backlist titles hitting the NYT E-Book and Combined Best Seller lists as a result of sudden discounts by retailers.

The NYT explores the impact of  such “flash sales” in a story that appeared yesterday. Sourcebooks was a recent beneficiary. Their 1994 title, The Oracle Glass, by Judith Merkle Riley, hit the list last week after being featured simultaneously as a Kindle Daily Deal and a Nook Daily Find.

While some of these books quickly return to their former level of sales, for others, it has helped readers discover authors raising the sales of all their titles.

Don’t discount old-fashioned marketing, however. It can still renew sales of print backlist titles. See, for instance, City of Women, by David R. Gillham (Penguin/Putnam/Einhorn), now on the trade paperback list.

New Approach to Online Book Recommendations

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

After the publisher-supported site Bookish.com delayed its summer, 2011 launch date  and changed management several times, many in the book business wondered if it would ever arrive. Just as rumors had begun to die down, the site launched last night.

Aimed at consumers, it’s a Johnny-come-lately to online book merchandising. As Ron Charles of the Washington Post notes with tongue-in-cheek, “If you’re one of the countless people wondering, ‘Why isn’t there anywhere to buy books online?’ we’ve got good news: Bookish went live last night.” The press release offers details on what is billed as a “one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors.

The site is sponsored by publishers Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group and Penguin Group, with participation from 16 other publishers.

Users can buy books directly from Bookish, with B&T handling fulfillment. There are also links to online retailers, including ABA’s IndieBound.

The site will include author interviews (a conversation between Michael Koryta and Michael Connelly is currently featured), book excerpts and reviews.

It also aims to provide a “state- of-the-art recommendation tool…from a proprietary algorithm that factors in editorial themes, professional and consumer reviews, publishing house editor insights, awards and more.”

At this point, it’s not working that well. Entering The Power Trip by Jackie Collins brings up the following results. Hemingway might be pleased with the comparison.

Power Trip Recs

Colbert Calls Jeff Bezos Vindictive

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Author Ann Patchett appeared on The Colbert Report on Monday night to talk about her new bookstore, Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN, and why independent bookstores are superior to online stores.

Colbert worried that she might suffer repercussions from Amazon head, Jeff Bezos, calling him a “vindictive man,” and saying he slashed  Barnes and Noble’s tires.

Ironically, Patchett’s most recent book, State of Wonder, which has been on the NYT best seller list since its publication, received a bump on Amazon as a result of the mention (from #367 to #197).

Did Colbert Write “O”?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Maybe:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Anonymous Insider Author Speculation
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive

Borders Hearts Teens

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

BordersInk

It seems everyone is doing it, so why not a bookstore chain?

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Borders is targeting teens with special sections labeled “Borders Ink,” which combine teen books, graphic novels and related merchandise. Several have already opened in Borders’ Michigan stores. Showing lightning speed, the chain plans to have sections up and running in 80% ot 90% of their 513 superstores by the end of August.

Borders Ink also has a presence on Facebook.

The article notes that, in the midst of a general industry slump, YA, science fiction and fantasy are the few areas still showing growth.

‘Ham-Fisted Cataloging Error’

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Who but a cataloger could imagine that someday a “cataloging error” would make headlines?

That’s what Amazon is claiming as the cause of nearly 60,000 titles, many of them gay and lesbian-themed, being stripped of their sales rankings, rendering them difficult to find in searches and creating a PR nightmare.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports official responses, as well as one from a former Amazon employee saying that,

A guy from Amazon France got confused on how he was editing the site, and mixed up ‘adult,’ which is the term they use for porn, with stuff like ‘erotic’ and ‘sexuality.’ That browse node editor is universal, so by doing that there he affected ALL of Amazon.

Seattle PI business reporter Andrea James has been updating her Amazon & the Business of Online Retailing blog as the story develops.

The errors have now been fixed, but at least one author is not satisfied, feeling Amazon has not apologized sufficiently, nor have they promised to establish safeguards against this situation happening again:

Craig Seymour, “Craig’s Pop Life” blog, My Response to Amazon’s Statement

Amazon in the Wringer

Monday, April 13th, 2009

The hot book news from the weekend is that Amazon suddenly and inexplicably stripped sales rankings from  ”adult” books (which includes gay-themed books, even those that wouldn’t get an R-rating, such as Ellen Degeneres’s bio). Online sites lit up in outrage, boycotts were threatened, and the tag #amazonfail became the top trending topic on Twitter.

Amazon is now saying this was a “glitch” and will be fixed shortly. We may never know the truth of what happened, but it’s another lesson in how swift the reaction can be from unhappy customers.

A new Twitter group has formed, #glitchmyass.

Salon, Why did gay books disappear from Amazon?

PC MagazineAmazon Eliminates Sales Rankings; Twitter Erupts

Entertainment WeeklyAmazon.com under criticism for de-ranking gay-themed books

The Guardian‘Gay writing’ falls foul of Amazon sales ranking system

Los Angeles Times, Jacket Copy blog, Amazon responds to queries, blames a ‘glitch’

USA Today Bestseller List, 1/21 (Sales thru 1/18)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

After the brisk activity of the past two weeks, this week’s bestseller list is remarkably quiet, with only a handful of debuts.

Other than the Wimpy Kid at #1, you have to go to #25 before you hit a new title and it’s not really new. The hardcover was published in 2004. The 2005 paperback reprint hits the list for the first time, thanks to the magic of the author’s appearing on Oprah’s Best Life Week series. Of all the books that were featured during that week, this one has the highest position on the current list. Libraries are showing heavy reserves.

usbroken

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow 
Lesser, Elizabeth

  • Paperback: $14.95; 352 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (June 14, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0375759913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759918

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It’s not until #50 that a new hardcover appears:

usfears

Mounting Fears
Stuart Woods

  • Hardcover: $25.95; 304 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (January 13, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0399155473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399155475

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After that, the next new title is at #128,

usbest

The Best of Everything
Roby, Kimberla Lawson

  • Hardcover: $23.99; 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (January 13, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0061443069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061443060

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Among books-to-movies, Revolutionary Road is climbing the list. It’s now at #9, its highest point after 4 weeks on the list. The Reader at #25, is also at its peak after 5 weeks.

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Most  mass market paperback originals hit the list and then slide down precipitously. Not so for Star Bright which is at #15, its highest point after 3 weeks. Some libraries are showing very heavy holds.

starbright1

Star Bright, by Catherine Anderson

  • Paperback: $7.99; 432 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (January 6, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0451225716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451225719

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A new YA series debuts at #97 from a familiar name, 

uswillows

 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows 
Brashares, Ann

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $18.99; 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (January 13, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0385736762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385736763

Words to Live By

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Great quote in today’s Shelf Awareness:

The first rule is you never tell a customer we don’t have something until you’ve asked two other people . . . And the other thing is, don’t be an ‘over there’ store. Take the customer, show them where the book is, walk with them to where it is. ‘Over there’ could be anywhere in the whole store.”–Betty Jackson of the Happy Bookseller, Columbia, S.C., Columbia Free Times

Unfortunately, the quote is part of a story about the bookstore closing. Clearly, poor customer service was NOT one of their problems.

Holy Tie-ins, Batman!

Monday, July 21st, 2008

As you may have heard, the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight broke box office records this weekend. The effect on books was pretty stunning as well.

Curiously, in books, it is the NEXT Batman movie (I should have said, “the NEXT movie based on a famous DC Comics series.”  Thanks for the correction, Katie and the others who wrote in!) that generated the most sales. Not due out until March 2009, anticipation for the Watchmen is already building. A Watchmen trailer preceded showings of Dark Knight, sending the book it’s based on to #2 over the weekend (still not managing to unseat Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn) where it remains. (For Watchmen titles, see earlier post).

Below are the other Batman titles now on the Amazon Top 100:

#12 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns 

by Frank Miller, Lynn Varley (Colorist), Klaus Janson (Illustrator) 

Listed as not in stock until August 24

  • Paperback: $14.00
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 10 Anv edition (May 1, 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 1563893428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563893421
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#13 Batman: The Killing Joke 
by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland 
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; Deluxe edition (March 19, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1401216676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401216672
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#39 Batman: Year One
 
by Frank Miller (Author), David Mazzucchelli (Illustrator)
  • Paperback: $14.00
  • Publisher: DC Comics (January 10, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1401207529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401207526

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#77 Batman: The Long Halloween 
by Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale  
  • Paperback: $19.99
  • Publisher: DC Comics (November 1, 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 1563894696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563894695

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#94 Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition)
by Grant Morrison (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator)
  • Paperback: $17.99
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 15th anniv edition (November 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 1401204252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401204259

Learning from Libraries?

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Borders new concept stores

Many years ago, when Borders began to expand their stores beyond Ann Arbor, media reports often commented, with some amazement, that they seemed like libraries. The stores had comfy chairs, encouraged browsing, offered lots of titles and even allowed people to read books they didn’t buy.

This week, Reuters trumpets,”New Borders Stores Combine Literary and Digital Worlds.” Hmm, now that sounds even MORE like a library. USA Today, in comparing bricks and mortar stores to online booksellers, reports, “One of the saving graces for bookstores, say analysts, consumers and industry officials, is they offer people with shared interests a site to gather and socialize.” Hmm, sounds like ALA past president, Leslie Burger, talking about libraries as community centers.

Borders premiered the first of its new “concept stores” yesterday. As USA Today puts it, the chain “hopes to reverse years of sluggish sales by reinventing itself as a hub for knowledge, entertainment and digital downloading.” They plan to open thirteen more stores by the end of the year. Among the new offerings, Borders is working with Internet companies such as Ancestor.com to allow customers to do genealogy searches.

It’s amusing to read about Borders new approaches to merchandising, like displaying cooking magazines and books together. How many different shelving approaches have libraries tried over the years?Borders press release gives full details (with a few ideas worth stealing).