Friday, December 31, 2010

Ebooks outsell print books at

Barnes & Noble is playing catch-up with Amazon's stream of releases about how Kindle is bestest, fastest, biggest-selling item. BN says they have sold "millions" of Nook devices, declaring "the line has become the company's biggest bestseller ever in its nearly 40-year history." More interesting is that they "now sell more digital books" (presumably calculated in units rather than dollars) than printed books via

Despite technical problems (which are not mentioned in the press release), BN says they sold "nearly one million" ebooks on Christmas Day--giving you some idea of how many Nook readers were under the tree.

Borders Delays Payments to Large Publishers

Borders spokesperson Mary Davis issued the following statement regarding the delaying of payments due to some larger publishers:

"In response to media inquiries, Borders Group Inc. today stated that, as the company previously reported, it is in discussions regarding the potential refinancing of its existing senior credit facilities. As part of this potential refinancing, Borders has determined that it is necessary to restructure its vendor financing arrangements and is delaying payments to certain of its vendors.

"Borders has notified these vendors and will be working with them to restructure their arrangements with the company. Borders stated that there can be no assurance that it will be successful in refinancing its senior credit facilities or restructuring its vendor financing arrangements. As the company previously reported, the absence of the refinancing could cause the company to violate the terms of its existing credit agreements in the first calendar quarter of 2011 and the company could experience a liquidity shortfall."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Get Your Book Reviewed on Amazon

by Steve Weber ~ June 13th, 2007. 

In 1988 a first-time author, British mountaineer Joe Simpson, wrote of his disastrous climbing accident in the Peruvian Andes. His book, Touching the Void, got good reviews, but wasn’t too popular outside England. It sold modestly and then, like most books, began fading into obscurity.
A decade later, another climbing book was penned by Jon Krakauer, an American journalist who scaled Everest on a harrowing expedition that claimed eight lives. Into Thin Air, with a boost from its conglomerate publisher, was an instant No. 1 bestseller and worldwide blockbuster.
And then something really interesting happened. Bookstores started getting requests for the earlier book, Touching the Void. Weeks before, stores couldn’t give it away, and now the book was sold out. Library copies went missing. The original hardback, if you could find one, was going for $375. Harper Paperbacks rushed a new edition onto shelves, and Touching the Void started outselling the new “blockbuster” by two to one.
What happened? Was it a stroke of brilliance by some publishing mogul? No, it was Joe Six-Pack, reacting to book recommendations from The online store began recommending the older book to millions of people whom it knew liked climbing books, based on their buying history. Many of the new readers liked Touching the Void so much, they wrote rave reviews on Amazon’s site. These “amateur” book reviews, written by real climbers and armchair explorers, resonated deeply with the next wave of shoppers. More sales, more good reviews.
Ten years after the book’s launch, Internet-powered word of mouth did something that no team of marketing wizards could do—it landed Touching the Void on the bestseller lists. The story was adapted for an acclaimed docudrama. Simpson, his writing career turbocharged, followed up with four successful adventure books, a novel, and lecture tours.
You, too, can get Amazon customer reviews for your book and boost your visibility with Amazon’s recommendation system. If your book is a good one, all you need to do is ask people to read and review it. The more Amazon customers who review your book and award it four or five stars, the more often your book will surface in Amazon’s book recommendations on its Web site and e-mails.
The key to getting lots of good reviews on Amazon is to make it a habit of inviting people to review and read your book. Provide a free review copy when necessary. Here’s where to find reviewers:
– From Amazon’s list of Top Reviewers who regularly post reviews of books similar to yours. See
– Seek out Amazon users who have reviewed related titles, or books by authors with a writing style similar to yours.
– Acquaintances and colleagues interested in your book’s topic.
– Participants in Internet discussion boards and mailing lists relevant to your book.
– Click on the pen name for anyone who’s written an Amazon review, and you’ll find their Amazon profile containing biographical and other information they’ve posted about themselves.
– Ensure your book is of interest. Some reviewer profiles explain what types of books they prefer — some reviewers stick with fiction; some review only movies or music.
– Contact potential Amazon reviewers from their profile page, clicking the link “Invite to be an Amazon Friend.” This generates a pop-up form where you can enter a message, and Amazon will forward it in an e-mail.
– Safeguard yourself a bit by requesting that readers not post a review if they simply hate the book. But it’s the reviewer’s call, don’t do anything to suggest you’re expecting favorable treatment.
– Avoid sending your book to reviewers who usually post harshly negative reviews, but don’t shy away from those who offer frank criticism. These voices lend credibility to your book.
– Ask readers who praise your book to post an Amazon review. For example, whenever you receive an e-mail from a satisfied reader, you might respond this way: “Thank you for the kind words about my book. If you ever have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review of it on Amazon and let other potential readers know why you liked it.”
Positive reviews on Amazon boost your sales not only on Amazon, but everywhere people are buying books. Amazon’s reviews are one of the Web’s most popular features, and good reviews will help sell your book. the main benefit of reviews is in giving your
book credibility, so that once someone notices it,
they have the confidence to buy it.

*reprinted from an article by Steve Weber on his blog Publishing Basics.
Read the original article online.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

October Bookstore Sales Drop 2.5%

Bookstore sales fell 2.5% in October to an even $1 billion, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The decline was less severe than the declines in August and September when bookstore sales fell by more than 6% in both months. For the first 10 months of 2010, bookstore sales were also down 2.5%, to $13.32 billion. For the retail segment in general, October sales rose 5.7% and sales in the year to date were ahead 6.2%.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Survey on E-book Trends

A survey of 600 publishers from across the industry spectrum found 64% now offering e-books with 74% of trade houses producing titles in that format. The trade and STM segments had the biggest gain in number of publishers producing e-books in the survey, the second one conducted by the conversion and technology services company Aptara. There was no dominant factor among the publishers that don’t produce e-books about why they haven’t entered the market, with 71% giving no particular reason for staying out of the business.
The profitability of e-books has been a point of contention between publishers and authors, and according to the survey 66% of trade houses have no clear picture if the return-on-investment from e-books is better or worse than for print books; 15% said the ROI was better, but 13% said it was worse. Aptara attributed the murky picture to publishers “retrofitting existing print workflows” to produce e-books, an inefficient process that inhibits publishers from producing cost savings. The report predicts that as more efficient and scalable digital workflows are implemented, and more backlist titles move to digital, ROI will improve. The two most important reasons trade houses move backlist books into e-books are a desire to extend the life of a title and market demand.
Publishers are still selling e-books from their own sites (38%), but Amazon is now a close second (37%), while the report found the iTunes store to be the fastest-growing distribution channel with 22% of publishers now offering e-books there compared to 9% last year. (The report did not ask respondents specifically if they sell through Apple’s iBookstore).
The top challenge in producing e-books—for all types of publishers—was content format and compatibility issues. Forty-five percent of all publishers said that was their biggest issue, up from 21% in the summer 2009 survey, a development attributed mainly to the plethora of new e-reading devices introduced into the market in the last year that adds to costs and confusion.
Despite some problems, 49% of all publishers said e-books are of “high importance” to their growth plans, with 55% of trade house putting e-books in that category.
*From an article in PW Daily

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Scholastic Names Trends in Children's Books for 2010

Drawing on their experience distributing books from all children's publishers through their school book clubs and book fairs, Scholastic's editors created a list of  ten trends from the year in children's books. President of Scholastic Book Clubs Judy Newman remarks in the release, "We've seen some exciting innovation in children's publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers. At the same time, we're seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."

1. The expanding Young Adult audience
2. The year of dystopian fiction
3. Mythology-based fantasy (Percy Jackson followed by series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls)
4. Multimedia series (The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, The Search for WondLa)
5. A focus on popular characters - from all media
6. The shift to 25 to 30 percent fewer new picture books, with characters like Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books
7. The return to humor
8. The rise of the diary and journal format (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate)
9. Special-needs protagonists
10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)

*From today's Publisher's Lunch 

Whoa! That's a great Tshirt!

Here's a picture of one of the Winners of the Name That Baddie! contest proudly sporting her new Buddhapuss Ink Tshirt and signed copy of The Last Track.
Thanks for participating Catherine!