Ever dreamed of spending the night in a bookstore? Junkudo offering the chance to do just that!

28 September 2015

From RocketNews24:

A little over a year ago, someone in Japan tweeted that they would “love to live in Junkudo”, one of the country’s largest book store chains. Little did they know that someone at that very company would not only see the tweet, but decide to make that pipe dream a reality, inviting a small band of book lovers in Tokyo to spend the night in the giant bookstore with sleeping bags, giving them entirely free rein to pick up any book or magazine they pleased.

This year, the company is bringing the “Try Living in Junkudo” project to an even bigger three-story shop in Osaka—and on Halloween, no less!

By applying via their website, you could be one of the 10 lucky people (five pairs) to spend the night inside the Sennichimae Junkudo store in Osaka. From 10:00pm on 31 October until 8:30am on 1 November, you’ll be able to cram in as much reading of the store’s 3,000 square meters (32,000 square feet) of books as you can—the only things that are off limits being the books and magazines that are sealed in plastic.

. . . .

It will cost absolutely nothing to spend the night, but you will be expected to buy at least three books or magazines. Also this is considered a “monitor tour” which is a Japanese term that means you get a heck of a deal, but only in exchange for evaluating the hotel, restaurant, or in this case bookstore you’re visiting by filling out a questionnaire afterwards. Still, that’s a small price to pay to have an entire bookstore at your disposal!

Link to the rest at RocketNews24

Taste-Test Your Books: The Secret Sauce to Boost Sales

16 September 2015

From Rob Eagar  at Digital Book World

The publishing business is one of the few industries with the audacity to create a lot of new products without testing them on consumers first. Imagine running a restaurant and never taste-testing new recipes before serving them to customers. Or imagine automobile companies trying to sell cars without test-driving the vehicle first. What if Hollywood never pre-screened their movies before opening night? You get my point. Failing to test new products on consumers before launching them is a risky business move.


You don’t have to try to guess what readers will like. Instead, test books on them, and let them convey what works and what areas need improvement. Gathering this kind of specific information will help improve sales, as it’s easier to incite word of mouth when you use the consumers’ own language to communicate a book’s value.


The digital age of reading now enables publishers to take advantage of the same approach better than ever. So taste-test your books on readers just like great chefs taste-test their new menus. Why leave money on the table? These days, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Read the rest here.

From Guest Blogger Randall

Barnes and Noble results and the latest news from Perseus

15 September 2015

From Mike Shatzkin

The most recent Barnes & Noble financial results — which appear to have discouraged Wall Street investors — aren’t good news for the book business. They show that the sale of books through their stores is flat at best, as is the shelf space assigned to books. And it would take a particularly optimistic view of their NOOK results to see anything but an accelerating slide to oblivion for what was, for a time a few years ago, the surging challenger to Kindle.


The real failure we see at B&N, which almost certainly affected the NOOK business as well as the stores, was that the customer knowledge within the dot com and NOOK operations apparently has never been used on behalf of the store business. This might be blamed on organizational silos that ran these three components as separate businesses. The failure is otherwise hard to explain. How hard can it be, really, to dig up email addresses of people who bought a book by a particular author to let them know s/he’ll be autographing books near where they live sometime soon?

Or, putting that in terms Barnes & Noble should relate to, might you not be able to charge the publishers a promotional fee for doing that? (AND you’d drive more traffic and sell more books!)


The people who own and run B&N are plenty smart. Before the game changed and was complicated by the online option, they had organized their supply chain to give them real competitive advantage over Borders and all other book retailers. But they were tripped up by a combination of Amazon’s longer-term view as an upstart in the 1990s and early 2000s when B&N was an established and profitable company. This was a classic “innovator’s dilemma”, failing to employ a new technology to maximum advantage because a legacy position was being defended.

Amazon was willing to lose money for many years to build its customer base. That was how they could build their stock price. B&N was a profitable company at the top of their category. Profits were how they grew their stock price. This not only discouraged deep investment in the early years of online bookselling, it discouraged the kind of discounting from their online store that Amazon did. Both of them knew that discounted books online put competitive pressure on the brick-and-mortar business. That was fine with Amazon. It was not appealing to Barnes & Noble.


When B&N decided to go after the ebook market with the NOOK, organizationally they did it with a dedicated and largely independent effort, not an integrated one. That might have been necessary. But it also might have been B&N’s last chance to build on its one distinctive advantage: having a strong store base and a real dot com business. (Borders never had the latter and Amazon, of course, doesn’t have the former.)


But the time B&N has to change the reality that they can’t seem to grow their market share continues to shorten. The one big advantage they are likely to retain over their competitors in Seattle — who are certainly growing theirs! — will be a cooperative attitude from the publishers, who live in fear of Amazon’s growing power. But even that advantage has its limits.

Link to the rest here.

As a long time reader of Mikes blog I have to say this is one of his better posts. Some of this will no doubt be read by many here as information they already had, but the break-down is spot-on.

As for the changing landscape of B&N and its effect on the Big Five Randall views it as self-fulfilling. The dwindling shelf space at B&N will eventually lead to only the bestsellers being available. This will reduce the mid-list titles to an even smaller portion and effectively lock the Big Five into the blockbuster model for the remainder of their existence.

However, if you find yourself in sudden need of a birthday card, stuffed animal, calendar, scented candle and cup of coffee, B&N is your place for one-stop shopping. 

Barnes & Noble quarterly loss widened on weak Nook business

9 September 2015

From The Wall Street Journal:

Barnes & Noble Inc. CEO Ronald Boire said in an interview Wednesday that the nation’s largest bookstore chain is mulling over a new store prototype.

“The industry is evolving, and we think there are opportunities ahead with a different format, ” said Mr. Boire, who started his job on Tuesday. “I’ve sat in on a couple of meetings about this and we’ll have more to discuss later.”

The average Barnes & Noble store measures 26,000 square-feet; a new prototype would presumably be smaller and will feature a broad assortment of merchandise. This includes the toys and games category, which showed a 17.5% sales increase in the first quarter ended Aug. 1. By contrast, book sales declined slightly during the quarter.

Barnes & Noble shares were down sharply on Wednesday after the company said its loss widened in the latest quarter as sales in its retail segment slipped and the company’s Nook business continued to drag.

Shares were off 16% to $13.66 in midday trading.

During the quarter, which was the last to include the recently spun-off college business, revenue fell 1.5%, driven by a 22% drop in Nook sales. Digital content sales plunged 28% as revenue from Nook devices and accessories fell 6.2%. The segment’s loss more than tripled from the year-ago period to $17.4 million, though it narrowed slightly when one-time items are backed out.

In Barnes & Nobles’ retail segment, its biggest, sales slipped 1.7% despite a 1.1% rise in stores open at least a year. The unit reported a 31% drop in profitability, which Barnes & Noble attributed to expenses that outpaced sales growth and lower Nook warranty reimbursement compared with a year earlier.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire) and thanks to Dave for the tip.

The Short Tail: Tokyo bookstore stocks just one title per week

4 September 2015

From Treehugger:

A decade ago, Chris Anderson wrote The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, in which he noted that technology makes it easy to find anything you want among vast inventories. It’s how Amazon put the traditional bookstore pretty much out of business, by stocking everything and connecting everyone. It put the little architectural bookstore that I owned a piece of out of business too.

In Tokyo, Yoshiyuki Morioka has solved the problem of competing with the Long Tail: he has opened a bookstore with the ultimate Short Tail: it stocks a single book per week. Jens Jensen describes it in Wallpaper*

To call the space minimal would be an overstatement; the raw concrete walls and ceiling have been given a coat of white paint and the concrete floor left as is. The only furniture is a vintage chest of drawers that now doubles as a counter, Morioka’s personal work desk and a flimsy table displaying the single book.

. . . .

According to the store’s designer, Takram, Morioka believes that a bookstore with a single book will “will offer deeper understanding, closer relationship with the reader.”

Link to the rest at Treehugger and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Books-A-Million, Inc. Announces Second Quarter Loss

28 August 2015

From MarketWatch:

Books-A-Million, Inc. today announced financial results for the 13-week and 26-week periods ended August 1, 2015. Revenue for the 13-week period ended August 1, 2015, decreased 0.4% to $107.9 million, compared with revenue of $108.3 million in the year earlier period. Comparable store sales for the second quarter decreased 0.3% compared with the 13-week period in the prior year. Net loss attributable to Books-A-Million for the second quarter was $5.8 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $3.0 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, in the year earlier period.

For the 26-week period ended August 1, 2015, revenue decreased 1.1% to $209.7 million from revenue of $212.1 million in the year earlier period. Comparable store sales declined 0.6% compared with the same period in the prior year. For the 26-week period ended August 1, 2015, net loss attributable to Books-A-Million was $11.1 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $8.6 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, in the year earlier period.

Commenting on the results, Terrance G. Finley, Chief Executive Officer and President, said, “While we benefitted late in the quarter from the phenomenal success of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman and E.L. James’ Grey, we were not able to fully offset the significant prior year media driven sales of John Green’s Fault In Our Stars, Veronica Roth’s Divergent series and Todd Burpo’s Heaven Is For Real. Again, this quarter we saw strong performances in our cafés and in our general merchandise departments.”

Link to the rest at MarketWatch

Target will replace Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills

27 August 2015

From The Daily News:

Barnes & Noble out. Target in.

A new Target store is slated to take over the space currently occupied by Barnes & Noble at 7000 Austin St., in Forest Hills, the Daily News has learned.

. . . .

Muss said that Barnes & Noble, which had operated at the location since 1995, opted not to renew its lease at the property, which was nearing its expiration.

The book brand, whose financials have remained relatively stable over the past two years despite competition from Amazon and other online book retailers, also recently confirmed plans to close its location near St. John’s University in Fresh Meadows.

. . . .

And its last remaining Queens location in Bayside is also closing, meaning that there will be zero Barnes & Noble stores in Queens for the meantime.

Link to the rest at The Daily News

Changes at Barnes & Noble may indicate a privilege problem

26 August 2015

From USA Today:

On a few recent trips to my local Barnes & Noble, I noticed something odd.

The comfy chairs the store used to have were gone. At first I didn’t think much of it – or at least not until I needed a place to sit and read my prospective purchase.

When I asked various store associates about the lack of seating, I was met with responses that were surprising, unsettling and worth exploring more closely.

. . . .

The employees – albeit not overtly — said Barnes & Noble chose to get rid of its big, cozy chairs to prevent the homeless from loitering in its stores. While they never used the term “homeless,” the employees instead referred to these loiterers as “undesirables,” or even “smelly people.”

So I wanted to take a deeper look into whether book giant was, in fact, actively keeping the poor and underprivileged out of its stores.

Link to the rest at USA Today and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

PG suspects that “privilege” will someday be a 20-teens joke the way Fabio, Jerry Springer, The Spice Girls and Power Rangers are 90’s jokes.



Japanese chain buys up 90% of Murakami essay stock

25 August 2015

From The Bookseller:

Japanese bookshop chain Kinokuniya is buying up 90,000 of the first 100,000 copies printed of Haruki Murakami’s “Novelist as a Vocation” to force people to buy the essay from a bricks-and-mortar store.

. . . .

A spokesperson for the retailer said: “The reality of the industry today is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for brick-and-mortar bookstores to purchase copies of high-profile new books.

“To rival online book retailers, bookstores across the country now need to join hands in efforts to reinvigorate the conventional book distribution market.”

The buyup by the company means there will only be 5,000 copies for online book retailers.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Tourists offered chance to run a bookshop on holiday

22 August 2015

From The Guardian:

For all those who agree with Neil Gaiman’s maxim in American Gods that “a town isn’t a town without a bookstore”, and who yearn to spend their days amongst the pristine spines and glossy covers of a small bookshop, what might be the perfect holiday retreat has just been listed on AirBnB: the opportunity to become a bookseller for a week or two.

For the sum of £150 a week, guests at The Open Book in Wigtown, Scotland’s national book town, will be expected to sell books for 40 hours a week while living in the flat above the shop. Given training in bookselling from Wigtown’s community of booksellers, they will also have the opportunity to put their “own stamp” on the store while they’re there. “The bookshop residency’s aim is to celebrate bookshops, encourage education in running independent bookshops and welcome people around the world to Scotland’s national book town,” says the AirBnB listing.

The Open Book is leased by the Wigtown book festival from a local family. Organisers have been letting paying volunteers run the shop for a week or two at a time since the start of the year, but opened the experience up to the world at large this week when they launched what they are calling “the first ever bookshop holiday experience” on AirBnB.

“I wouldn’t call it a working holiday,” said Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown book festival. “It’s a particular kind of holiday [for people] who don’t feel that running a bookshop is work. It’s not about cheap labour – it’s about offering people an experience … It’s one of those great fantasies.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Dave for the tip.

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