Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Business of Bookstores

by Raelene Gorlinsky
by Andrew Wheeler (Marketing Manager, John Wiley & Sons)

This lengthy article has some excellent information about how bookchains select the books they stock, what the typical order numbers are like. Reassuring for normal authors to see that a couple thousand to a chain can be good sales for certain genres, when we are overwhelmed with the hundreds of thousands or million-plus estimates for the huge blockbusters. The main focus is on Barnes&Noble and Borders, with some info on Amazon. A must-read for authors, to help understand the bookselling business. Be sure to read down through the comments, too.

Some quotes from the article:

"But bookstores are businesses, not public conveniences. No store has the responsibility to carry every book published"

"Wal*Mart takes only a handful of books for their stores -- and is taking fewer for their website recently, as well. Starbucks carries two or three books a year. (Though you know that publishers are pitching them many, many more than that.) The warehouse clubs are very selective."

"Barnes & Noble has the most: over 700 superstores, less than a hundred B. Dalton mall stores, and about 700 college stores. (Most of those can be ignored by everyone but textbook authors; less than a hundred of those carry "real" books.) Borders has about a thousand stores, almost evenly divided between Borders superstores (slightly more of these) and mall stores (Walden and the rebranded Borders Express chain), plus a couple of dozen airport stores."

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