Book Stores

Can the chains provide us with better small bookstores?

From the Shatzkin Files, a blog by publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin.

There is considerable concern among the trade publishing establishment about the future of brick-and-mortar stores. As well there should be. Retail stores provide the most efficient promotion opportunities for books: putting them in front of people poised to buy. They give clear signals about sales appeal by positioning and piles of stock of varying sizes; they make it possible to “look inside” of illustrated books in ways that no online presentation can match; they enable discovery through serendipity; and they put more different book choices in front of any person faster and more efficiently than any web page or smart phone screen possibly can.

But they’re troubled. Same store sales, or what the Brits call “like-for-like”, have been declining. That may be partly due to the recession, but it is also due to factors that won’t go away: shifts of sales to the Internet, to ebooks, and perhaps to substitutes in other media and the Web.

Full blog entry.


Amid Price War, Three Retailers Begin Rationing Books

Two weeks after an online book price war broke out among giant retailers, the three stores involved—Walmart, Amazon and Target—are limiting the number of copies their customers can buy.

The limits will stop other booksellers from scooping up cheap copies in large quantities and reselling them.

Full story in the Wall Street Journal

Not a Simple Price War -- It's a Fight Over What You Get to Read

What looks like a simple price war between Amazon, Target, and Walmart over a handful of bestsellers is symptomatic of a much deeper problem in the book business. The larger fight is really over what you get to read.
The price war began Oct 15 when dropped its prices drastically on several bestsellers. and quickly followed suit, and within a couple of days the prices were down to $8.99 and heading lower. At this point, these behemoths were clearly selling those books below cost and engaging in an illegal form of predatory pricing.

Read more at: The Huffington Post


Looking For The Right Book Store? This Ain't It

The "Wong Fook Hing Book Store" chose the perfect name:

The Wrong Something Book Store

(Thanks Don!)

Forget Tires & Lawn Mowers, Sears Wants You to 'Keep America Reading'

Last week, Wal-Mart cut the price of some popular new books to just $10, a slice of over 60%. Not willing to be out-done on home turf, Amazon matched them. Wal-Mart went down to $9. Amazon went to $8.99. Target jumped in tardily at $8.99. Then Sears jaunted into the battle and dropped some serious knowledge: books for free.

How? Buy any one of those deep-discounted books at Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, and send Sears the receipt and they'll give you a credit of $9 towards anything you buy from Sears online.

Sears says this is part of some campaign called "Keep America Reading" which would be more appropriately called "Keep America Buying Books". And buy books they'll do, if the $10 price point sticks past the holiday rush.

Price War Over Books Worries Industry

A tit-for-tat price war between Wal-Mart and Amazon accelerated late on Friday afternoon when Wal-Mart shaved another cent off its already rock-bottom prices for hardcover editions of some of the coming holiday season’s biggest potential best sellers, offering them online for $8.99 apiece.

“If readers come to believe that the value of a new book is $10, publishing as we know it is over,” said David Gernert, Mr. Grisham’s literary agent. “If you can buy Stephen King’s new novel or John Grisham’s ‘Ford County’ for $10, why would you buy a brilliant first novel for $25? I think we underestimate the effect to which extremely discounted best sellers take the consumer’s attention away from emerging writers.”

Article in the NYT

Bye Bye B. Dalton

The remaining B. Dalton Bookstores, a division of Barnes & Noble, will all close at the beginning of next year.

The Hawk Eye-IA reports: "These are small-format, low-volume stores in malls, and their leases are expiring. This is in line with what we've been doing over the last eight years, closing 35 to 40 stores per year as their leases expire," said Lenore Feder in an e-mail statement.


An Urban Bookstore In Philly Finds Its Niche

An Urban Bookstore In Philly Finds Its Niche: Even in the recession, a Philadelphia bookstore that specializes in urban fiction, Black and Nobel is flourishing. Many of the titles are written by people who live in Philly. Owner Hakim Hopkins says urban fiction has increased in popularity over the past few years, following the trend of hip-hop music.


Barnes & Noble E-Reader Could Come Oct. 20 With Lending Options

Excerpt from story: The bookseller also hopes to make e-book lending a centerpiece of its device, according to two people in publishing who asked not to be named because talks were confidential. Readers can not lend digital books on the Kindle, although books can be read on up to six separate devices linked to the same Amazon account.

Pull post at the NYT Bits Blog

Cash-Strapped College Students Rent Textbooks

Story on "Morning Edition" on NPR

Kelly Carmichael is a Sacramento State University senior studying to be an elementary school teacher. A book for one of her child development courses cost more than $170. But when a professor mentioned that she didn't have to buy the book because she could rent it for the semester, Carmichael says it was a no-brainer.

"For any title that is for rent, you'll see a sign that will show the new and used price, but also the rent-it-for price. So, for example, this text here, Infants, Child and Adolescents — new it would be $142, used it would be $106.50, and you can rent it for $58.34."



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