CHAIN STORES ON THE HORIZON
Publishers Weekly reported on Dec. 5 that the nation’s three major bookstore chains plan to open roughly 80 new superstores in 2006.
Barnes and Noble is planning to open 30 to 35 superstores this year, compared with 27 stores opened in 2005. The company has reduced the number of B. Dalton stores it owns, but Barnes and Noble CEO Steve Riggio told Publishers Weekly’s Jim Milliot that the retailer is not abandoning shopping malls, but is opening larger stores than the old Dalton format.
Borders will mix new store openings with an extensive remodeling program. The company revamped 100 superstores in 2005 and may remodel that many or more in 2006. Borders opened 15 stores overseas last year and 15 new domestic stores.
PW reports that Books-A-Million will open 10 to 12 superstores this year, most of them in the Southeast, with openings likely in Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio.
Source: Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, Dec. 5, 2005
BAM, BARNES AND NOBLE REPORT HOLIDAY EARNINGS
Books-A-Million announced Jan. 4 that sales for the nine-week period ended Dec. 31 rose 8.9 percent, to $123.9 million. Comparable store sales for the period increased 4.1 percent with books and gifts performing the strongest.
Barnes and Noble reported that sales for its flagship superstores rose 5.2 percent in the nine week holiday period, to $1.1 billion. Same store sales were up 2.6 percent. Sales at BarnesandNoble.com managed a 1 percent increase for the period, to $106.1 million. Sales at Dalton fell 18.4 percent, to $41.3 million, due to store closings.
Source: PW Daily, Jan. 5, 2006.
SALES UP FOR RELIGION ‘DUMMIES’ AND ‘IDIOTS’ BOOKS
Representatives for Alpha, the division of Penguin Group that publishes the popular Idiot’s books, and Wiley Publishing, publisher of the popular Dummies series, say religion has become a mainstay of their product lines.
The first religion title, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Religions,” came out in 1997. The Idiot’s series has been the more aggressive of the two in this area, with 32 religion and spirituality titles currently offered.
The Dummies series released “Religion for Dummies” in 2002. They now have 15 religion and spirituality titles, including “C.S. Lewis and Narnia for Dummies,” which was released Dec. 9 to coincide with the new motion picture based on the series.
More than 450 Idiot’s titles are in print, representing roughly 32 million copies. There are 150 million copies of the Dummies titles in print in English.
The religion books are written often by clergy and professors. Manuscripts undergo a technical review before publication.
Source: Sam Hodges, Dallas Morning News.
BIBLIO.COM SEES 139 PERCENT GROWTH IN 2005
Biblio.com, a used, rare and out-of-print books online marketplace, announced Jan. 3 more than 130 percent growth in 2005 over the previous year. Biblio.com is a three year old company in this online sector. It lists more than 30 million books for sale on its web site.
The Book Industry Study Group’s Used Book Study released in September found that used books now comprise 8.4 percent of consumer spending on books.
Source: PR Web
STUDY FINDS GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING
A recent sales report released by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association reflects growth in the Christian publishing industry.
Participating publishers predict the growth to reach as high as 12 percent for 2005-06, with an average estimate at 6.9 percent.
While Christian publishers experience strong growth, Christian bookstores, like their counterparts in the general trade industry, continue to fall by the wayside. The Christian Bookseller Association claims membership of some 2,200 members. Legitimate, viable Christian bookstores may be less than 1,000.
Source: Publishers Weekly
KNOPF MARKETS RELIGIOUS ANNE RICE
Last month, 60 executives who attended the Radio and Records Christian Summit in Nashville found a book by Anne Rice called “Christ the Lord” waiting for them in their hotel rooms.
The effort is part of an unusual marketing challenge facing Rice’s publisher, Alfred A. Knopf – how to market the book to Rice’s fans, who have gobbled up her popular vampire series.
Rice decided to leave the vampires behind in favor of writing a novel on Christ after converting to the Catholic Church in 1998.
Since the book was published on Nov. 1, several religious retailers have refused to carry it. Others have complained that the book isn’t based on Scriptures and questioned Rice’s theological credentials.
But the book made the bestseller lists. Knopf spent considerable time before the publication date researching the Christian book market. They also gave away 4,000 advanced copies, along with a letter from Rice, to traditional retailers, distributors and bloggers.
They also focused on blogs, newsletters and radio and TV stations aimed at Christian audiences and the publisher took the book to the Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit and the International Christian Retail Show.
Sales of “Christ the Lord” bucked Rice’s usual trend by starting modestly before steadily building. Barnes and Noble chief merchant Bob Wietrack told the Wall Street Journal that people who read the book want to discuss it, which, he says, suggests that the book has found an audience and that its readership is expanding.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
ABEBOOKS RELEASES TOP TITLES OF 2005
Abebooks.com has released a list of bestselling books for 2005.
College textbooks graduated to a major category, accounting for 30 of the top 100 titles. The most popular textbook subjects were business, science and math.
Abebooks found a “continuing strong demand” for religious books, which resulted in the inclusion of “The Purpose Driven Life,” “Conversations with God” and the “Ultra Trim Bible” in the top 20.
Abebook’s top 10 bestselling books for 2005 are:
- “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling
- “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.
- “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown.
- “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell.
- “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.
- “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.
- “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom.
- “Organizational Behavior” by Stephen P. Robbins.
- “Ultra Trim Bible.”
- “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Kidd Monk.
Source: Shelf Awareness
STORES CLOSE AFTER THE HOLIDAY SEASON
Several bookstores have closed after the holiday season. They include: Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Jackson, Tenn.; Tatnuck Booksellers, Worcester, Mass.; Tudor Book Shop, Clarks Summit, Pa.; Biblio, Tucson, Ariz.; Afro-In-Books & Things, Miami, Fla.; Yesterday’s Books, Parchment, Mich.; Davis Ishii Bookseller, Seattle, Wash.; Readmore Book Store, Galesburg, Ill.; Dave’s Books and Cards, Galesburg, Ill. and Olsson’s Books and Records, Bethesda, Md.
PUBLISHING EYES TECHNOLOGY
Five years after the dot.com crash, the Internet is being eyed as a source of undeveloped territory for publishers. In November, Google launched the controversial “Print Library,” a database of books scanned from five major libraries. Both the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have sued for copyright infringement.
Amazon.com plans to start selling books by page, with Google and perhaps Microsoft and Yahoo eyeing the same plan. Random House has already announced a similar interest.
Still, the number of books sold has dropped the past few years even as the number of books published soared. Oprah Winfrey’s book club has, however, continued to be a success. Winfrey has successfully marketed the novels of William Faulkner, made a medical advice book, “YOU,” an instant success and helped Vintage Books sell “A Million Little Pieces,” an addiction memoir.
“You might be able to find a marketing director with instincts as good as hers, but you’re not going to find one who also has an audience of 22 million,” Vintage vice president and publisher Anne Messitte told the Associated Press.
STUDY: JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS TITLES
A group of British statisticians has concluded that a book’s bestseller potential can be predicted by its title.
The study, commissioned by British literary website Lulu.com, analyzes the titles of every book to have topped the hardcover fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List from 1955 to 2004. The winning titles were compared with the titles of less successful novels by the same authors.
According to the study, the common attributes of high-selling novels are:
● The first word in the title was a pronoun, a verb an adjective or a greeting.
● Metaphorical titles (instead of literal ones).
● The title involved either a possessive case with a noun showing ownership (i.e. John’s watch) or contain an adjective and a noun (i.e. pretty horses).
But the model is not accurate in all cases. Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books scored low.
Other top titles according to the study are:
“Something of Value” by Robert Ruark, “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” by Judith Rossner, “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow, “Everything’s Eventual” by Stephen King, “Rising Sun” by Michael Crichton, “Smiley’s People” by John le Carre, “Three Fates” by Nora Roberts, “Four Blind Mice” by James Patterson and “Valhalla Rising” by Clive Cussler.
Source: CBC Arts
COLLEGE GRADUATE LITERACY ON DECLINE
The Washington Post reported that a recent adult literacy assessment shows a decline in the reading proficiency of college graduates over the past decade.
The study found that only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. The federal study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that although more Americans are graduating from college and more than ever are applying for admission, far fewer are leaving higher education with the skills needed to comprehend routine data.
The results were based on a sample of more than 19,000 people 16 or older, who were interviewed in their homes. They were asked to read prose, do math and find facts in documents. The scores for “intermediate” reading abilities went up for college students, causing educators to question whether most college instruction is offered at the intermediate level because students face reading challenges.
On average, adult literacy is virtually unchanged since 1992, with 30 million people struggling with basic reading tasks. The study showed that from 1992 to 2003 adults made no improvement in their ability to read newspapers or books or comprehend basic forms.
The report did show that the average rate of prose literacy, or reading, among blacks rose six percentage points since 1992. Prose and document reading scores for whites remained the same.
Source: The Washington Post
BOOKFINDER.COM LISTS TOP 10 OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKS FOR 2005
Bookfinder.com, a website that facilitates searches for and purchases of used, rare and out-of-print books, has announced its list of the top 10 most-sought-after out-of-print books for 2005.
The top 10 are:
- “Sex” (1992), Madonna.
- “Sisters” (1981), Lynne Cheney.
- “The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel” (1981), Felicitas D. Goodman.
- “Where Troy Once Stood,” (1991), Iman Wilkens.
- “The Principles of Knitting,” (1988), June Hemmons Hiatt.
- “General Printing” (1963), Glen Cleeton.
- “The New Soldier” (1971), edited by John Kerry.
- “The Lion’s Paw” (1946), Robb White.
- “Dear and Glorious Physician” (1959), Taylor Caldwell.
- “The Book of Counted Sorrows” (2003), Dean Koontz.
Source: The Book Standard.
ROWLING PREPARES FOR FINAL ‘POTTER’ BOOK
“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has put up a note on her official web site saying that she is preparing to write the seventh and final book in the popular series.
The sixth installment of the series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone since its release last summer. Total worldwide sales of the “Potter” books top 300 million.
Sources: Associated Press, Hpana, Comingsoon.net.
AUTHOR GEORGE BERNAU IS DEAD
George Bernau, a lawyer who turned his “what-if” musings into popular novels, has died. He was 60.
Mr. Bernau made publishing history in 1987 when his manuscript “Promises to Keep,” an imagined post-Dallas life for President Kennedy, was purchased by Warner Books for $750,000, a record advance for a first novel at that time.
Born Feb. 14, 1945, in Minneapolis, Mr. Bernau earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California. He later earned a law degree at USC and practiced with the San Diego firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps.
Source: Los Angeles Times
HOLIDAY SPENDING UP 30 PERCENT
Holiday shoppers spent $30.1 billion online in 2005, a 30 percent increase from last year, according to a survey of Internet users.
Sales of computer hardware and peripherals surged to $4.8 billion, up 126 percent from the 2004 holiday season, the biggest gain tracked by the annual survey from Goldman Sachs & Co., Nielsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive. Online consumer-electronics sales also surged considerably, rising 109 percent to $4.8 billion, while clothing remained the top Internet sales item at $5.3 billion, a 42 percent jump from 2004.
The biggest holiday loser was toys and video games, which dropped 9 percent to $2.3 billion in online spending from last year.
Online book sales were also up during the holiday season, climbing 66 percent to $3 billion, according to the survey.
The National Retail Federation is forecasting six percent growth in holiday same-store sales, or stores that have been open for at least one year.
LACI PETERSON’S MOTHER WRITES BOOK
Laci Peterson’s mother has written a book describing the “nightmare” that has not ended since her daughter’s death in 2002.
Sharon Rocha’s book, “For Laci,” has been released from Crown Publishing, a division of Random House Inc. The book’s subtitle is “A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss and Justice.”
Several players from the high-profile trial have written books, including one of convicted husband Scott Peterson’s former lawyers and his mistress.