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Is Starbucks the Next Oprah? The Non traditional Sales Venue...

An interesting story picked up by Media Bistro today. Jason Pinter, author and Crown editor (imprint of Random House) compared the sales numbers of Chris Bohjalian’s The Double Bind: A Novel, picked as Barnes and Noble’s second store-wide choice versus Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Starbucks’ second pick. The New York Times Bestseller list will debut The Double Bind (fiction) at #3 and A Long Way Gone at #2 (non fiction).

Pinter makes the case that Starbucks is more influential than bookstores and may rival Oprah on the influence front. The inaguaral book for Starbucks’ Picks was Mitch Albom’s book, For One More Day, which sold 50,000 copies at Starbucks alone.

Midwives by Bohjalian was a former Oprah pick and therefore, according to Pinter, had established a base that would likely purchase his next release. Beah did not, but he did have an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The Bookscan numbers offer up more evidence in favor of Pinter’s thesis. Bohjalian sold 17,000 copies in week one and Beah, 26,000. Of the 26,000 Beah books sold, 19,000 were from “other” stores which Pinter says is Starbucks and that therefore, Beah, in the first week, sold more books through Starbucks that Bohjalian sold overall.

Interesting. Is it likely that Starbucks would pick a romance novel? Maybe not, but it’s food for thought nonetheless.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

One Comment

  1. jmc
    Feb 25, 2007 @ 11:51:46

    I noticed A Long Way Gone at my local Starbucks the other day. I’m vaguely aware that they have offered other books and CDs for sale before, but that one caught my attention because I saw the author’s interview on The Daily Show a couple of days before. I’m guessing a lot of patrons will pick a copy up on impulse. Me? Nah. I go to Starbucks for the cocoa or tea, usually with just enough cash on hand for it.

    I read an article about the branding and market plan for Starbucks not too long ago, talking about their branching out of the coffee market, and their influence on popular culture beyond the to-go cup. I haven’t been able to find the one I read, but I found two others that are interesting and speak to this. Well, more than two, but these are the better ones, IMO.

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