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triceretops
02-15-2007, 06:29 AM
Recent report from Book Buying Habits Statistics 2007

Where Books Are Sold- 81% market share are NOT in bookstores

Why are bookstores becoming dinosaurs?

Of the 19% market share of books in bookstores a recent survey found that about 10 percent of adult trade books were purchased in an independent or small chain book store and about 24 percent in a large chain book store. Other outlets include:


Mass merchandisers - 6 percent
Discount stores - 3 percent [taking bestseller sales from the chains with deep discounts]
Food/drug stores - 3 percent
Price clubs - 7 percent
Used book stores - 3 percent
Book clubs - 19 percent
Mail order - 3 percent
Internet - 27 percent.While we focus on the retail book store, a large number of books are sold elsewhere and the trend continues. For example, the new Sears Grand stores include a book department near the front of the store with most books displayed face out. Independent booksellers complain that discount stores receive copies of best selling books more quickly and at greater discount [economy of scale at work?].
Supermarkets, especially as they become more upscale, have gone beyond mass market paper to stock a much greater range of trade books. The number and range of customers is attractive. Women do most grocery shopping and also most book buying. While grocery stores account for a smaller percent of book sales, they are a growing market. Kroger has been notable in expanding its book sections and moving large numbers of best sellers. This is primarily a front list business.
Discount chains such as Sam's and Costco stock very few titles, but they stock them in large quantities and at prices often lower than the cost to the independent bookstore.
There is a fast rising trend for major publishers to sell new books from their website. Penguin is the leader here. Books are sold at full list price and P&H are added to that price. This is fast catching on for publishing companies that are forward thinking and trend watchers, those that are the ground floor of this trend and build a reputation will be the ones to succeed in the near future.
Reported by ABA
* * *

Certainly this article has to be put into perspective. I have actually always thought of drug stores, price clubs, and discount stores as "shelved" books, similar to book store shelving, and I do realize that the purchasing guidelines might be different. But books from major publishers would certainly be considered frontlist and end up at these venues, too, doncha think?

Does anyone have any other stats from different sources that might negate these figures, or appear slightly different?

This is the type of announcement fodder that gives vanity publishers ammo to throw in author's faces, to demonstrate that book stores are not a viable place for your product. Of course that's hogwash, because we've done the breakdowns before.

I wish I knew more about bookclubs and how they consider titles.

What is P&H? I know what S&H is, but not the other.

Tri

PeeDee
02-15-2007, 06:35 AM
When someone (not you, Tri) announces that Bookstores Are Dying! I tend to just keep going on my merry way. When they offer up statistics on the matter, I don't miss a step. I've read How to Lie With Statistics. They don't phase me.

Drug stores and supermarkets dont' tend to go for the same books that major bookstores do. I've found the strangest books in my local grocery stores, things I would be hard pressed to find in Barnes & Noble. Usually, they're weird romances and long series of Adventure/Action/Thriller novels.

triceretops
02-15-2007, 06:43 AM
Yeah, I feel ya PeeDee. We've been hearing about the demise of bookstores for years, much to the delight of the internet shops. But, hey, bookstore sales seem to be doing the brisk business that they always have.

I don't get out much. That's interesting what you relate about the drugstore books being adventure tales and romances. Do you think they are midlist titles and that's why they get such deep discounts?

Tri

PeeDee
02-15-2007, 06:46 AM
I don't get out much. That's interesting what you relate about the drugstore books being adventure tales and romances. Do you think they are midlist titles and that's why they get such deep discounts?

Tri

Makes sense. I don't really know. I know they're the sort of bizarre, weird "Stone Hammer in ACTION on THE PACIFIC!" type of adventure novels that you look at, go "whatthehell?" and keep walking. So it makes sense.

Barring that, I would chalk up bookstore sales drops as being fluctuations in bookstore sales. I guess I just don't see it as being doomed quite yet. (Thank god...)

TwentyFour
02-15-2007, 06:52 AM
In my town we only buy books from Rite Aid or online. I guess it's because we don't have any book stores in our town.

Peggy
02-15-2007, 06:56 AM
Women do most grocery shopping and also most book buying. While grocery stores account for a smaller percent of book sales, they are a growing market. This just seems weird to me. I am a woman and, yes, I do most of the grocery shopping and most of the book buying, but for some reason I've never been enticed to purchase a book in a grocery store. Maybe it's because the books they have aren't they kind I usually buy (and as PeeDee noticed, the selection is a bit odd). But it's also true that when I have a cart full of groceries I'm just not in the mood to browse for paperbacks.

KCH
02-15-2007, 07:57 AM
Tri--

P& H would be postage and handling.

I'm with you. These stats don't support the notion of brick and mortar stores
becoming extinct. They just provide a more precise breakdown of what sorts of shelves they're on. But they're still shelves. Of course, that won't stop the self-publishers from spinning it as such...and then trying mightily to get on those very same shelves they say are going the way of the buggy whip.

I'm leery of the close to 20% figure for book clubs. That doesn't seem right.

heatherleacubs
02-15-2007, 08:02 AM
I've found a few decent books in my grocery stores, or at least acclaimed books. I bought THe Lovely Bones in a grocery store.

I go to bookstores as a treat to myself. Sheesh, what would I do if they ever disappeared?

Soccer Mom
02-15-2007, 08:05 AM
Good thing I love dinosaurs. And bookstores.

kristie911
02-15-2007, 08:08 AM
I will admit I've picked up a book or two in the grocery store but those two books would account for probably 1/2 of 1% of my total book purchases over the years. Nor do I buy very many on-line.

I love bookstores. New books, old books, used books...I love them all and I love to browse the stores that hold them!

triceretops
02-15-2007, 09:25 AM
Yeah, I wasn't aware that book clubs had such a hefty chunk of the industry. 19%. Maybe they offer really mind-boggling discounts to their reader members. I belonged to a few a long time ago. I'm not even sure what's out there. Maybe Oprah's and Reader's Digest, I think I'm aware of. But I do know they have huge genre book clubs, too, that specialize. So I gues if you put them all together you've got some big totals.

Here's what I don't get. Years ago library sales were huge and that's where an author typically made a big chunk of change for their book. It wasn't unusual to land in hundreds and hundreds of libraries if you had a QTP or harback 15-20 years ago.

Maybe libraries is falling under 'mail order' books according to that list

Tri

tjwriter
02-15-2007, 01:04 PM
What I really wish is that a bookstore would pop up on the westside of Evansville rather than having 3 on the eastside. I almost exclusively order online because I don't like driving an hour just to go to one store.

So it becomes a special treat when I do make the trip, and I spend hours in the store. Now if there was one over where I do my shopping, well I'd be there about 5 times as much, and I'd never buy a book from Walmart or a grocery store (There are some odd collections, but I've found a few names I know).

I've even considering starting a complaining compaign to see if someone might be interested in putting a store on the westside.

brunoshouse
02-15-2007, 02:18 PM
I'm an odd duck in this day and age because I don't drive. My car broke down twelve years ago and I called it quits. Because of convenience, I make most of my book purchases online, but there is nothing better than a book store. I have purchased a book at the grocery store, but only because I was desperate for something to read. And like PeeDee said, it was something I normally wouldn't choose.

Judg
02-15-2007, 07:28 PM
I caught Pete! I caught Pete! I wasn't aware that this man even KNEW how to make mistakes!
When they offer up statistics on the matter, I don't miss a step. I've read How to Lie With Statistics. They don't phase me.
Sorry Pete, but you crank out so many posts which are always so impeccable as well as working full-time and writing novels - I'm jealous, obviously. Allow me my moment of pettiness.

The word is supposed to be faze.

Pagey's_Girl
02-15-2007, 08:04 PM
I did find a couple of really good books in a supermarket, but that was years ago.

My favorite lunchtime escape at work is the Barnes & Noble across the street. Nothing like the smell of a bookstore. (The Starbucks in there doesn't hurt, either. Books, magazines and caffeine? What could be better?)

Shadow_Ferret
02-15-2007, 08:04 PM
Maybe they offer really mind-boggling discounts to their reader members.
Well, my wife just joined the Rhapsody book club (give in to your passion for great love stories). 6 books for a penny, plus shipping and handling. So yeah, I'd say they give mind-boggling discounts.

victoriastrauss
02-15-2007, 08:43 PM
This is very different from other stats I've seen, which give bookstores, indie and chain, well over 40% of the market and set Internet sales at around 10%. Do you have a link to the article?

- Victoria

Shadow_Ferret
02-15-2007, 09:01 PM
How come I can't get those numbers to work out to 100%?

Jamesaritchie
02-15-2007, 09:56 PM
There's definitely something way out of whack with those stats. For most types of genre novels, the biggest sellers are now Wal-Mart and Target. The internet doesn't approach 27%, and bookstores still sell fairly close to what they did ten years ago, on a percentage basis.

The trouble with percentages is that they tell you very little of value, and, at best, they're deceiving.

Bookstores are still doing very well, but an awful lot of people live where no bookstores is readily available. Many of the books these people buy online or at Wal-Mart, etc., are books that would not have sold before.

The number of sales bookstores are making really hasn't gone down much, it's just that the number of books bought other places has gone up. Taking this to mean bookstores are dinosaurs, or are losing out, means you don't understand statistics.

More books are being sold than ever before in history, precisely because there are more outlets, and this is a good thing for everyone, including bookstores. At least, it's good for the big bookstores. But this does NOT mean bookstores are becoming dinosaurs. It simply means that all the readers out there who cannot easily get to a bookstore can now buy books anyway.

triceretops
02-15-2007, 11:35 PM
Thanks. I knew something was fishy about these stats. No, Victoria. I don't have a link to that article and I would be totally embarassed to tell you where it came from.

The initials ABA are at the end of it and I'm not quite sure what that stands for. American Booksellers Association? Who knows?

Tri

Christine N.
02-16-2007, 01:04 AM
I've bought book at one price club venue or the other. Hardcover. Front list. My first three Harry Potter books, in fact. The Sam's and BJ's we have here have a pretty good selection of both hardcover and paperback Books You've Heard Of. So I have no difficulty believing that PC's sell quite their 7%. In fact I'm kinda surprised it's not more.

I don't usually buy books at mass merch's, but I've seen the selection. Not too bad, but the price club actually does better. I order online if it's a book I know I want.

But most of my reading material currently comes in the form of ARC's. I like free books best.

I go to the bookstore to drink Chai Latte, eat large sugar cookies and let my son play with the Thomas the Tank Engine set. They have books there too, eh?

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 01:05 AM
Thanks. I knew something was fishy about these stats. No, Victoria. I don't have a link to that article and I would be totally embarassed to tell you where it came from.

The initials ABA are at the end of it and I'm not quite sure what that stands for. American Booksellers Association? Who knows?

Tri

And this is why I aaaaaalways come back to How To Lie With Statistics (http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Statistics-Darrell-Huff/dp/0393310728/sr=8-1/qid=1171573530/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-7340866-7880160?ie=UTF8&s=books).... :)

victoriastrauss
02-16-2007, 01:07 AM
I checked the American Booksellers Association website and didn't find the article. Nor could I find anything anywhere with a title like "Book Buying Habits Statistics." To be honest, this sounds to me like something put out by a self-publishing booster, or one of those publishers that markets mainly online and wants writers to think that bookstore presence is not important.

Also, such stats take a long time to compile--the most recent year they could possibly cover would be 2005.

- Victoria

blacbird
02-16-2007, 01:14 AM
Sounds suspicious to me, too. Most people I know buy their books at Borders and B&N. The real continuing crisis is the decline of the locally-owned bookstore at the hands of the big chains. I have noted a general increase in the selection of books at supermarkets, but of a limited spectrum, either mass-market genre paperbacks or specialized regional books, much like what you'd see in kiosks at an airport.

caw

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 01:19 AM
I do wish there were more small, locally-owned NEW bookstores around. We don't have one here in St. Cloud, and I miss it. We have a couple of used bookstores, yes, and they do fine, yes, but that's not quite what I want.

In Elko, NV, where I lived for a few years previous to this, there was a new bookstore that was atually a pretty good-sized shop. They had two small rooms full to the bursting of used books (and I got some good ones outta there) but the rest were new. They even had a "coffee shop" which consisted of two tables, a woman with a makeshift counter (the owner's wife) and some different flavors of coffee and tea that she'd make for you if you asked.

I want more of THOSE.

CaoPaux
02-16-2007, 01:21 AM
Looks like it was cribbed from here:

http://web.utk.edu/~wrobinso/561_lec_retail.html


Where Books Are Sold

A recent survey found that about 10 percent of adult trade books were purchased in an independent or small chain book store and about 24 percent in a large chain book store. Other outlets include:

* Mass merchandisers - 6 percent
* Discount stores - 3 percent [taking bestseller sales from the chains with deep discounts]
* Food/drug stores - 3 percent
* Price clubs - 7 percent
* Used book stores - 3 percent
* Book clubs - 19 percent [likely much lower today]
* Mail order - 3 percent
* Internet - 7 percent.

While we focus on the retail book store, a large number of books are sold elsewhere and the trend continues. For example, the new Sears Grand stores include a book department near the front of the store with most books displayed face out. Independent booksellers complain that discount stores receive copies of best selling books more quickly and at greater discount [economy of scale at work?].

Supermarkets, especially as they become more upscale, have gone beyond mass market paper to stock a much greater range of trade books. The number and range of customers is attractive. Women do most grocery shopping and also most book buying. While grocery stores account for about three percent of book sales, they are a growing market. Kroger has been notable in expanding its book sections and moving large numbers of best sellers at discounted prices. This is primarily a front list business.

Discount chains such as Sam's and Costco stock very few titles, but they stock them in large quantities and at prices often lower than the cost to the independent bookstore.

Although still somewhat unusual, there is a slight trend for major publishers to sell new books from their website. Penguin is the leader here. Books are sold at full list price and P&H are added to that price. Online sales are much more important for smaller, niche publishers.

victoriastrauss
02-16-2007, 02:07 AM
What's interesting is how the article Tri quoted has been changed from the original.

- Victoria

triceretops
02-16-2007, 03:42 AM
Victoria, can you tell me where it varies? I'm looking but I can't see it yet. I'll reaaaaally be pissed if that's the case. That would mean that there's some leg-pulling goin on here. I'll explain to you in email what I mean.

Tri

victoriastrauss
02-16-2007, 03:57 AM
Your article mentions a 19% bookstore share, but fails to change the 10% and 24% figures in the article Cao found, which add up to 34%--lower than I thought but it's possible that the figures I saw folded in sales from discount stores and mass merchandisers.

Your article puts the Internet share at 27%; the article Cao found puts it at 7% (even lower than I thought). And the final paragraphs are very different--Cao's article mentions a "slight" trend for major publishers to sell books from their websites, where your article turns it into a "fast-rising" trend and then adds some propaganda.

I am really curious now! Please do PM me.

- Victoria

CaoPaux
02-16-2007, 03:57 AM
Not the least important....

Original:
A recent survey found that about 10 percent of adult trade books were purchased in an independent or small chain book store and about 24 percent in a large chain book store. Other outlets include:

Yours:
Of the 19% market share of books in bookstores a recent survey found that about 10 percent of adult trade books were purchased in an independent or small chain book store and about 24 percent in a large chain book store. Other outlets include:A rather significant change of context, don't you think?

And if you look at the original source, the very next section is...


Bookstore Growth

Primarily driven by the growth in chain stores, bookstore growth outperformed retailing as a whole in the last twenty years. There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of retail space devoted to books. In the beginning, most growth was seen in mall stores as more and more new and larger malls were constructed. In the last few years, the emphasis has shifted to free-standing super stores located near a major shopping center. Most future predictions call for book sales to grow at two percent per year although sales fell by nearly two percent in 2005. Barnes and Noble sales rose 4.7 percent in 2005 while Broders rose 3.7 percent.

...which kinda explodes the entire premise of "bookstores are dinosaurs".

ETA: cross-posted. :D

triceretops
02-16-2007, 04:33 AM
Yap. See it now clearly. I had to go back to my original post--I kept reading Cao's article, finding no discrepency. I'm a doofus.

Obviously it's been doctored to put the fear of god in me.

Good eyes, you guys. The truth shall set you free.

I did PM you, Victoria.

I'm a sad, sad sexual harrassment Panda.

Tri

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 04:35 AM
I'm a sad, sad sexual harrassment Panda.

Tri

Which has got to be the strangest image in the world....

triceretops
02-16-2007, 04:40 AM
Well, I thought I would distance myself from being a dinosaur. We're dead dontcha know?

That snippet came from a South Park episode. And I suddenly felt like that dumb A panda.

Tri

Jenan Mac
02-16-2007, 05:20 AM
I'm still enjoying the visual of "Book stores are dinosaurs!" written by Triceratops. Okay, but it's a slow day.

As far as buying books in grocery stores, we have, in Publix, not just the usual Grisham-and-Roberts-next-to-the-magazines set up, but a rack of vaguely insipid Christianity Lite sort of books set up next to where you get the numbered tickets for deli service. It's not what's driven me to switch to shopping for my kosher salami at Sweet Bay, but it is kind of weird.

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 05:32 AM
I'm still enjoying the visual of "Book stores are dinosaurs!" written by Triceratops. Okay, but it's a slow day.

As far as buying books in grocery stores, we have, in Publix, not just the usual Grisham-and-Roberts-next-to-the-magazines set up, but a rack of vaguely insipid Christianity Lite sort of books set up next to where you get the numbered tickets for deli service. It's not what's driven me to switch to shopping for my kosher salami at Sweet Bay, but it is kind of weird.

Our grocery store had a rack like that, under the assumption that since people were eating in the deli, they would buy books too. And they were bizarre Christian fiction books (some of which make me want to commit murder) and the sort of Chick-Lit books that have cartoon women in expensive shoes sauntering coyly off the cover. Mostly, they got things splattered on them, or they got knocked over. It didn't stay there very long. I think there's Digorno's Pizzas on that rack now... :)

Jenan Mac
02-16-2007, 05:58 AM
Bizarre Christian fiction that makes you want to commit murder? Now that's an intriguing book review!

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 06:44 AM
Bizarre Christian fiction that makes you want to commit murder? Now that's an intriguing book review!

but I'd probably need an attorney's permission before I could publish it, and even then it'd have to be under an assumed name. :D

CaoPaux
02-21-2007, 02:24 AM
So, like, what's happening with this? Plagiarizing/bastardizing an article is worthy of a B&BC post, IMHO.

victoriastrauss
02-21-2007, 02:37 AM
I agree.

- Victoria

roach
02-21-2007, 02:42 AM
Sorry, this is going to be off-topic but I just have to get it off my chest. Everytime I see the title for this thread I get overwhelmed by an image of the T-rex from Meet the Robinsons. "I've got a big head! And tiny arms!" As if bookstores are rampaging through the street trying to scoop up customers.

No, I'm not on any medication right now, why do you ask?

CaoPaux
02-21-2007, 02:58 AM
:roll: Given the premise of the altered article, frequent readers of Making Light can now fill in what them dinosuar bookstores are doing to authors....

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The first question, of course, is if this mess of a missive was actually posted anywhere. It's not showing up on Google (yet).

triceretops
02-21-2007, 03:24 AM
I'll bust the mystery wide open. It was sent to all authors in are weekly newsletter by MY publisher. To all of us.

The reason: Several authors wrote to my publisher, not asking why their books were not in the bookstores, but DEMANDING that they be placed in all bookstores. Quite an emotional flurry of emails and newsletters, followed--some were heated, some were polite, but most all of them came from first-time authors, who really didn't have a grasp on how books have to go through a rigid selection process before they are considered for store placement. My publisher sent several newsletters and articles explaining this process, and it was quite accurate: We've learned the same information here via Nomad, Priceless, Victoria, Jim, and many others. No problem there.

My publisher reacted emotionally, by sending in this last article, which was obviously doctored. Wrong thing to do. It was wrong for the authors to raise hell, insisting that they should appear in all the book stores and librabries. Both parties are guilty and showed a lack of respect.

I stayed out of the fray.

Solution: My publisher and my fellow authors best get their butts over here at AW and learn how to diplomatically handle such matters, with accuracy, truth, and justice for all. They all need to get a frikkin' clue.

Tri

CaoPaux
02-21-2007, 04:04 AM
Did they doctor the article themselves, or pick it up in a sweep for material to support their position?

triceretops
02-21-2007, 04:13 AM
You, know...come to think of it, I don't know if they doctored the article or not. I'm assuming...and I might be way off base. They might have picked it up from another publisher's website in its toto form. So I can't say that to be a definite fact. I'm only going by the article that was found that is almost identicle. PA has done things like this, as we're all aware of. I've seen small press publishers borrow boiler plate contracts that are remarkably similar to others. It might have been honest mistake. Don't know.

Tri

CaoPaux
02-21-2007, 04:32 AM
If they found it somewhere, it would not be an honest mistake to forward it without citing the source (and confirming the data).

Dixie
02-21-2007, 06:11 AM
I agree with PeeDee simply because our Hastings store expanded and moved into it's own building not too long ago. Their book section expanded and I often find people sitting in chairs in the aisles reading a book or a magazine. I have purchased two books there in the last month. I also love their USED BOOK program. You can buy a book that is used for half the original price, and they are in good condition. Their movie selection sucks though you can find DVD copies of your old cartoon series there.

priceless1
02-21-2007, 08:01 PM
I don't know if they doctored the article or not. They might have picked it up from another publisher's website in its toto form.
Tri
Tri, I think the thing that personally troubles me is the fact that they sent this to their authors at all because it gives the appearance as justifying why they aren't garnering sales. They're blaming the system.

No doubt about it; garnering shelf space is tough, especially in the mainstream fiction genres. You have buyers who are constantly being shuffled around so it's difficult to establish a relationship. As an example, we don't publish romance novels, but the buyer for romance may become the next fiction buyer. They don't know us from Adam, and our sales teams have to reintroduce our titles all over again.

We've had buyers who were very lukewarm about a title but the book was selling like hotcakes. Does it make sense for them not to up the order for that title? Not in my way of thinking. But if anyone is looking for logic, it stops with the tastes of the buyer at any particular moment. Please keep in mind that my reference is that of a small publisher. Random House doesn't have these constraints.

Those are the realities, and I don't see this as my authors' problem - it's mine and our distributor's problem. They wrote brilliant books, and it's our job to get them sold. Rather than wimpering about the reality of shelf space, we've brainstormed with our distributor to sell to very nontraditional places. We're having a lot of fun and receiving great feedback with it. I can't help but feel that your publisher would serve its authors better if they got with the business of selling books rather than justifying why that task is impossible. Just my take on things. Aplogies if I've misunderstood their intent.

blueskyscribe
02-21-2007, 08:15 PM
In my town we have a locally owned bookstore, Auntie's (http://www.auntiesbooks.com/), which is incredible . . . three stories high, crammed with new and used books, plus an attached cafe, an artists' co-op, a greeting card store, all locally owned . . . Authors to visit to promote their books and there are several book clubs . . . the "general" book club, the "sci fi" book club, the gay and lesbian book club, and so on. This year Auntie's started setting up NaNoWriMo "write-ins" after hours. The internet is great, but I'd rather go to Auntie's. ;) They have all the advantages of a big bookstore (great selection and a willingness to order anything they don't have in hand) but with a local flavor and zaniness.

Lyra Jean
02-21-2007, 08:38 PM
I'm going back to school to study business and I'm going to open a bookstore. It's something I've been wanting to do for a few years and even attempted a couple of years ago by selling used books at a flea market.

I'm wanting to sell science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. New and used.

FergieC
02-21-2007, 08:48 PM
Aunties sounds fantastic. I'd love to set something like that up where I am. It's a vibrant city, with tonnes going on in the way of writing, music, arts festivals, literature festivals etc, and the only bookshop we now have is Waterstones (2 Waterstones since they took over Ottakers - the much better, local chain - and closed it down). Their range is utter rubbish - all 3 for 2 or bestsellers and very little local stuff.

An independent, locally focussed shop, with attached coffee / alcohol area, open late at night for music and events would be ace.

CaoPaux
02-21-2007, 08:50 PM
Those are the realities, and I don't see this as my authors' problem - it's mine and our distributor's problem. They wrote brilliant books, and it's our job to get them sold. Rather than wimpering about the reality of shelf space, we've brainstormed with our distributor to sell to very nontraditional places. We're having a lot of fun and receiving great feedback with it. I can't help but feel that your publisher would serve its authors better if they got with the business of selling books rather than justifying why that task is impossible. Just my take on things. Aplogies if I've misunderstood their intent.Well, considering they seem to take pride in having no distributor....
Independent bookstores are the cornerstone of the publishing world and we understand that our business model needs to reflect that. Having said that we have eliminated minimums, made our authors available for promotional events, and have created a secure online purchasing and payment system. Place your orders when YOU have time through our website or meet with one of our staff, not a distributor! We will work directly with you to develop a relationship that will help sell through your purchases. Let us know what we can do to be a better partner.

There's already a thread for this publisher in B&BC. I'll be bumping it momentarily.

victoriastrauss
02-21-2007, 09:19 PM
Tri, I think the thing that personally troubles me is the fact that they sent this to their authors at all because it gives the appearance as justifying why they aren't garnering sales. They're blaming the system.I agree. As much as a smaller publisher needs its authors to be pro-active and to cooperate in marketing efforts, it is still the publisher's job to get the book out there. When a publisher starts trying to convince authors otherwise, it's starting down a slippery slope of disinformation. It's even worse if it makes up facts to support its position, or browbeats authors for asking questions.

Granted, authors shouldn't make unreasonable demands. But asking a publisher to concentrate on bookstore and library presence is not an unreasonable demand. Nor is it unreasonable for the publisher to explain that this is something it can't do or won't do or is still trying to accomplish--as long as the answer is honest, so that both parties know exactly where they stand. In this case, the publisher seems not to have been honest, and that gives me a bad feeling.

- Victoria

swvaughn
02-21-2007, 09:49 PM
I've seen quite a few peeps in this thread express puzzlement as to why folks would buy books at a grocery store. The thought has never crossed my mind either -- grocery stores are for groceries.

However... my mother-in-law buys books at the grocery store all the time and thinks nothing of it.

Perhaps our book-buying perceptions are skewed because we're writers, and have a better understanding about publishing in general than readers?

These statistics represent where readers buy books. Writers are only a small percentage of readers (at least, one would hope).

Whatcha think?

virtue_summer
02-21-2007, 10:04 PM
I admire people who have a good selection of bookstores around. My town is lousy in this respect. We have one used bookstore that's almost entirely nonfiction which I don't understand at all. If you're going to have a used bookstore, why choose nonfiction that most people want to be up to date? Anyway, then there are about two Christian bookstores in town. To find a regular bookstore we have to go across the bridge to our neighboring city. There they have a B Daltons where half of the workers seem to have no idea what they're doing. There are also about three Christian bookstores there and one used bookstore that carries fiction but that is so out of the way it's hard to get there.

I admit to buying most of my books online or at thrift shops. It's easier than driving to the out of the way used bookstore across the bridge and cheaper and more reliable than trying to find anything at B Daltons, though I do still go there occasionally if I think there's a chance they actually carry what I want.

CaoPaux
02-21-2007, 10:17 PM
I personally prefer to browse in bookstores, but I'd say I've bought an equal weight of books in the likes of Costco and Wal*Mart. Bottom line is, commercial publishers know that in order to sell books they need to get them either into bookstores for folks who specifically intend to buy books ("the trade"), or into grocery stores, gas stations, airports, etc. for folks who buy books along with their potato chips and oil change (the "mass market").

swvaughn
02-21-2007, 11:50 PM
(the "mass market").

Yeah, mass market. That's the term... word... thingy I was looking for. :D

Dave.C.Robinson
04-20-2007, 05:45 AM
If I see an interesting book; I'll buy it. Grocery stores, convenience stores, book stores. I don't care. If it interests me enough I'll buy the book.

I still remember buying my first adult SF novel. It was a used copy of "Second Stage Lensmen" that I found in a General Store in rural Vancouver Island something like 30 years ago. I'm an addict. I'll get my fix where I can find it.

Anthony Ravenscroft
04-20-2007, 08:10 AM
Well, heck, since this thread's been resurrected....

For much of my life, I've been in small towns where there's outlets for paperback books all over the place, yet no "bookstore" per se. I bought my first serious literary science fiction (F Paul Wilson & Arthur Byron Cover) in 1974 from a local chain grocery store, & Bored of the Rings and National Lampoon's Dirty Book from the Rexall.

Independent bookstores are being doomed by their own stupidity, though I domy best to patronise the smart ones. The losers are the ones who're trying to compete with Wart-Mart for sales on the latest Stephen King or Dan Brown or whatever sludge is currently stamped BESTSELLER, which is a loser's game -- obviously. The smart stores focus on a niche or genre or market, & do their best to go for depth rather than "something for everyone!" that results in a failing inventory.

When the economy is good, people can afford to open or support a marginal business that's something they love -- hence, small bookstores. When the economy sucks, these shops close, or get sold to people who figure there's Big Bucks to be made because they remember how it looked just last year when the economy was good. Truth is, you do it for love or you shouldn't do it -- BTDT.

Jamesaritchie
04-20-2007, 04:59 PM
When the economy is good, people can afford to open or support a marginal business that's something they love -- hence, small bookstores. When the economy sucks, these shops close, or get sold to people who figure there's Big Bucks to be made because they remember how it looked just last year when the economy was good. Truth is, you do it for love or you shouldn't do it -- BTDT.

Oddly, traditionally, books sell better when the economy is bad. When the economy is good, people have more money, but spend it on big ticket items, and more expensive means of entertainment.

Anthony Ravenscroft
04-21-2007, 08:38 AM
books sell better when the economy is bad.
I don't have any research, but that's my impression as well.

The thing is, when cash is tight, people go where they think their dollar goes further -- hence, Wart-Mart or the megabox chain bookshops that offer discounts unachievable by mom-&-pop stores (which are already marginal at best). I see the same problem with music stores, where a corner shop pays more for a given item than Guitar Center sells them at!!

Customers need to go to the small stores first, & expect to pay a little more, or wait a few weeks for their item to be ordered. But the stores also need to be responsive & not try to be all-&-everything.