Friday News: Bestsellers, Subscription Services, and Super Heroes
N.Y. Times keeps Cruz off bestseller list – Despite robust sales for Ted Cruz’s new book, it does not appear on the New York Times bestseller list, which prompted Harper Collins to send a letter to the newspaper, asking them why the book was absent from the list. Initially, Harper Collins was told that the NYT doesn’t just focus on the number of books sold, but also sales “patterns.” NYT spokesperson Eileen Murphy clarified the newspaper’s decision later:
Cruz’s “A Time For Truth,” published on June 30, sold 11,854 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen Bookscan’s hardcover sale numbers. That’s more than 18 of the 20 titles that will appear on the bestseller list for the week ending July 4. Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance,” which is #2 on the list, sold fewer than 10,000 copies. Ann Coulter’s “Adios America,” at #11, sold just over half as many copies. . . .
“In the case of this book, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases,” [Murphy] wrote. –Politico
Macmillan Doubles Ebook Offerings on Scribd and Oyster – Macmillan is adding 1000 titles to both Scribd and Oyster, expanding its offerings on both services. Although it has not yet made the books available,
Both of those contributions cover popular back-list fiction and nonfiction ebooks, which Scribd says includes best-selling titles by Grace Paley, Hilary Mantel, John McPhee and others. . . .
Children’s titles are also included in both of today’s expansions; Scribd says it’s gained more than 300. “While we’ve been more closely focused on other genres,” Scribd’s VP of Content Acquisition Andrew Weinstein tells Digital Book World, “we have been steadily growing the children’s catalog, and this Macmillan deal is one of the more prominent offerings we’ve added over the past year.” –Digital Book World
Netflix-Like Book Services Would Be Happy if You Read Less – This piece on the paradox of ebook subscription services – the more people read, the less valuable they are as customers – echoes much of what Jane said in her announcement of Scribd’s drastic reduction of their Romance selection. Scribd CEO Trip Adler addresses Scribd’s issues with Romance in the article, and the article also nicely articulates the unique burden of success for these services, especially for Scribd, who wooed and then disappointed many high-volume Romance readers:
At issue is the way Scribd’s subscription model works, which is different from the models we’re used to seeing on services like Netflix and Spotify. Unlike on those services, where the norm is licensing content to offer on their platforms, Scribd and its closest competitor Oyster pay publishers a sum of money each time “a fair portion” of a book is read. That and the fact that both Scribd and Oyster offer valuable reader data made for apparently sweet deals for publishers, who have lined up behind these services. But the deal in the end wasn’t so sweet for Scribd.
“We bore the majority of the risk when establishing a business model that paid publishers the same amount as the retail model for each book read by a Scribd subscriber,” the company noted in its letter. When readers read too much, as romance readers apparently did, the costs become too much to bear. Which points to a funny irony for e-book services: as long as they pay publishers every time a book is read, their businesses are more successful the less people read. –Wired
ESPN’s Body Issue: Super Heroes Edition – This is a pretty nifty sketchbook-style addition to ESPN’s Body Issue that includes illustrations of Marvel super-heroes in the buff, as well as evidence of the sketchwork required to create them.
According to ESPN,
Every day, all over the world, Marvel’s top comic book artists flex their creative muscles to illustrate the world’s mightiest super heroes. In the spirit of The Magazine’s visual celebration of athleticism, dedication and strength, a mix of those same artists took to their drawing boards to craft bold images of Marvel’s characters like never before. –ESPN