Tag Archives: bookstore

Indie Distribution

One of the biggest issues facing self-published authors is distribution. IRIS is a new service from IndieReader that helps resolve this problem.

The service gets the books onto the shelves of indie brick-and-mortar stores. In tandem with other marketing efforts, this might be a big step forward for authors of every genre.


B&N Exclusives Program

Several years ago, Barnes & Noble launched a program that offers exclusive content to readers. Often the project rereleased books with additional content like author comments that were available only through B&N.

Now the program is really taking flight with exclusive content for teen and tween readers. The extra content extends the storyline, provides more backstory, and answers readers’ questions. The books under this banner are receiving exclusive marketing campaigns and in-store signage and enhanced placements.

Will B&N Survive?

Recently Len Riggio, chairman of B&N, sold 2 million of his shares. Does this mean he thinks the bookseller will follow Borders’ demise?

That’s unclear. Although any chairman who sells off massive amounts of stock usually seems to signal a lack of faith in the company, Riggio claims he did it for tax planning. It is the end of the year, after all.

Interestingly, he also donated 160,000 shares to The Riggio Foundation, a nonprofit that spent $20 million rebuilding homes in New Orleans. That could mean he wants the nonprofit to benefit from the shares. It could be too that he thinks the foundation can take that hit if the shares tank.

At this point, it’s clear that readers are turning to independent bookstores in numbers greater than ever. In part they recognize the value of hand-selling, and appreciate the service that comes from local, small stores. Between that and Amazon, B&N might have to revamp its approach or prepare for the end.

Amazon’s Print and Ebook Bundling

Recently I posted on the discussions about bundling a free copy of ebooks into every print edition sold. Now Amazon has announced that they will be launching a program like that in October.

Called Kindle Matchbook, the offer is not going to be available on every title. Instead, they need to negotiate with individual publishers. They have predicted that 10,000 titles will be available on that program by its launch date.

Now, Amazon has already taken flack for merely predicting that 10K number. But by now, everyone should know that Amazon’s spin often turns out to be self-fulfilling. The real question is why now, and why Amazon?

Of course the idea is timely and readers love it, so it works. If it helps authors expand their reach, that is useful too. For now, though, the impact seems to be limited to well-known authors or well-known titles (even ones that are decades old). For Amazon, though, it’s a way to enhance their date collection. Depending on whether you abhor big data as an invasion of privacy or think big data on reading trends can be helpful, that might sound greatly overreaching or just plain great.

Mystery Bookstore Mystery Crime

Kate Birkel, owner of Mystery Bookstore in Omaha, Nebraska glimpsed the man who burglarized her store as he fled. Birkel said that  “the biggest mystery was a thief breaking into a bookstore to find money.”

Barnes & Noble is Good for Amazon…and Readers

Leonard Riggio, the original founder of Barnes & Noble, is considering buying up the stores and taking them private. He’s thinking about the move because bookstores are still a sound business.

One of the biggest surprises in the constant battle between brick-and-mortar stores and the e-giant Amazon is that after Borders failed, sales of e-books immediately fell. Analysts think it’s because with fewer opportunities to browse, readers just aren’t going to buy as many books.

Congratulate your local bookstore owner with a cup of coffee, a chocolate truffle…and a new sale.

Amazon Dukes It Out with Overstock.com; Indie Booksellers Lose

On Friday, Amazon began offering discounts that have never before been seen even on its own site. The move is supposedly a response to Overstock.com’s full frontal assault, which consists of discounting books to match or beat Amazon’s prices.

Dan Brown’s Inferno is now available on Amazon at a a 61% discount. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini has a 58% discount. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is at a 64% discount. A whopping 64% discount is offered on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

There are signs, however, that even Amazon is not invincible in this battle. J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is discounted only 42%. That’s right in the usual discounting area of 40% to 50 percent. Amazon likely doesn’t want to discount something that is selling well regardless of price, and wants to keep the profits involved in that title.

Overstock.com’s shot across the bow of the mighty frigate Amazon is a long-overdue attempt to take some of the wind out of Amazon’s sails. The recent verdict against Apple has already spurred Amazon toward discounting books to eliminate the real competition that is left: the thousands of indie booksellers who together hold more clout among readers than any website ever will.

Unfortunately indies do not yet hold any kind of combined economic clout with publishers and so cannot discount books at the same rate. Thank goodness someone has noticed what’s going on in book publishing and has thrown the economic might of their company onto the battlefield.

Hope for Indie Bookstores: Quote from Dan Cullen of the ABA

Dan Cullen of the ABA says, “Customers are making decisions to patronize locally owned retail stores because they recognize that where they spend their money makes a difference. They’ve seen the closure of important local stores or institutions and kind of woke up to what’s important from that regard.”

Combined with readers making choices based on supporting local businesses, the failure of Borders means many regional markets are suddenly open to smaller shops again. Bookstores are being opened now by individuals who realize a bookstore is a community gathering place. New models are combining books with other things like workshops, meeting spaces and much more than the usual coffee and cookie.

That means better hand-selling for authors of all kinds.

Good News for Indie Bookstores

The demise of Border and the reduced presence of B&N has actually had a benefit.

2012 turned out to be the best year ever for indie bookstores. They posted an 8% increase in profits over the year, which outpaced B&N’s slower growth. Publisher’s Weekly thinks “the worst days of the independents are behind them.”

Celebrate by visiting your local indie bookstore and making a purchase!

Indie Bookstores

Great quote from William Kent Krueger in his blog:

“Buying from independents is in our own best interest. It assures that no one large entity will control what’s available to us as readers. Freedom–and it does come down to this–is all about choice.”


Support Your Indie Bookstore

Recently France announced that it would be providing loans to independent booksellers in its nation that are having cash flow problems. The country is determined to help preserve one of the most important components of any culture, its literature.

Well, we can’t expect the U.S. government to step in anytime soon. So it’s up to you and me to help.

You don’t have to have deep pockets, either. Just commit to buying one book every month from a local store.

If you buy books frequently, commit to buying more than one every month from a local.

Save a bookstore! It could be your own book you’re helping to save!

How Much Should a Bookstore Get for Carrying Your Books?

Traditionally bookstores get 40% of the list price of a book. They have overhead to pay from that money in addition to earning a profit. Remember that they rent or own the storefront, they have employees to pay, and they have utility bills that arrive every month.

Don’t be surprised if a store asks for 45% so they can run special promotions.

Be flexible. Consider whether sales can help your brand by getting your name out there even if the store discount means you make very little profit yourself.

What Book Publishers Can Learn from the Music Industry

The New York Times, in the article Music Industry Sales Rise, and Digital Revenue Gets the Credit, noted that revenues rose for the first time since 1999 for the music industry. The industry was hit hard by the availability of downloads, which became popular earlier than e-books. 

The lesson book publishers can learn is that e-books are not destroying their own market. Instead, they’re just providing readers with a new format.

Historically, the same thing happened when movies threatened the radio shows people relied on until then for entertainment.

Now book publishers are changing the pace at which they respond to new technologies. They have to become more nimble than ever before in order to ensure that their market share is distributed across new and old formats. Some publishers, who at first thought e-books were a fluke or were simply not worth investing in, are pulling as much as 27% of their annual profits from the sale of e-books.

Print is not dead. It’s simply now electronic ink!

B&N Closings Mean New Opportunities

B&N announced that it plans to close about 10 stores every year for the next ten years. Publisher’s Weekly provides a little more detail on the announcement.

Now, before everyone panics and thinks that bookstores are going to disappear entirely, think. Whenever there’s a gap in the market for something people want, others swoop in to fill it. In this case, small, locally owned bookstores are poised to profit from every closure of the megastore in their area.

This could mark a new Renaissance in reading. Some of my associates are already looking at buildings they can buy and convert into bookstores. I, for one, am glad to see this happening. Readers everywhere will reap the results!