Jul 21 2009
Borders Group Inc. is trying new things to revive its flagging sales. The latest is Borders Ink, a department devoted to selling books and merchandise to teens. By the end of August most of the Borders superstores should have this specialized department.
At a time when book retailing is slumping, young-adult titles and graphic novels are still delivering growth. Albert N. Greco, a professor at the Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business Administration who studies the book industry, estimates that young-adult fiction, fantasy and science fiction will generate $744.3 million in U.S. publisher revenue this year, up 13% from $659.1 million in 2008.
That compares with U.S. publisher revenue of an estimated $9.73 billion for consumer books as a whole, a 4.7% decline from 2008′s sales, according to Mr. Greco.
Another article from the WSJ (pay link) was posted last week and pertained to the timing of ebook releases. Sourcebooks decided to delay the release of the ebook for a big September title, one that they are hoping hits the New York Times bestseller list. The publisher of Sourcebooks explains more about her decision at Booksquare. Her position is that publishers need to make sure that authors are adequately compensated for their work and she’s not convinced that the $9.99 price point is the way to do this.
Raccah’s argument rests on the concept that ebook readers will be willing to pay for the hardcover insteaed of wait for the digital version. I don’t believe that digital reader will buy or wait. Instead, she’ll buy a different book and forget about the one that had the delayed release.
- We can’t control what retailers charge for books or ebooks. The choices book publishers have are:
- To make the product available, and when
- To have a relationship with that retailer
- So that’s the fundamental decision we get to make. It’s not, what’s the right price for this author-or for a book that he’s worked 10 years on (yes, Michael Malone’s new hardcover The Four Corners of the Sky is also not available as an ebook)-it’s just do we make it available and when?
Evan Schnittman of Oxford University Press disagrees with the delayed release.
Barnes and Noble announced its ebook store proclaiming 700,000 ebooks available. 500,000 of those books are in the public domain creating a healthy and, somewhat deceptive, padding of numbers. There is a finite number of copyrighted digital books and for the most part, stores like Amazon and Sony and BooksonBoard have all of them.
BN has it’s own DRM scheme (based on and seemingly compatible with eReader) even though it says it will sell multiple formats. It will not sell any formats compatible with the Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle. Thus the ePub version that it claims to be selling in the future will be some different DRM scheme than is readable by the Sony Reader. BN is not a market leader in digital books and the failure to come out with anything innovative doesn’t make me interested in purchasing from its ebook store.
Editorial Ass writes a post about how many editors are acquisition editors and not so much actual editors which means that submissions need to be as clean as possible. Barry Eisler, author and all around great guy, told me that he views his editor as a customer, one that he wants to wow with each and every submission. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask authors to submit the most polished manuscript possible. Editors are there to fight for your publishing date, best cover, and best publicity for your book. The less time they need to spend making your manuscript saleable, the more time they will have to fight for your book.