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Barnes & Noble saw sales increase 1.6 percent during the nine-week holiday period ending Jan. 2, 2016, as compared to the same time period last year.
The company’s retail sales, which includes revenues from in-stores and BN.com, were $1.1 billion, down 0.8 percent during the time frame, which the company attributed to lower online sales and store closures. The results exclude Nook products. Nook sales were $41.2 million, representing a 25.8 percent decrease year-over-year. Here is more from the press release:
Based on the holiday sales results, the Company continues to expect fiscal 2016 core comparable store sales to increase approximately 1%, and comparable store sales to be approximately flat. The Company also continues to expect full fiscal year EBITDA losses in the NOOK segment to decline versus the prior year.
As long as we’re throwing some numbers around, Barnes & Nobles has stepped on the DObletake train , purchasing some 7,600 Super Packs for the holidays. Each Super Pack contains 10 comics so that’s 76,000 issues total. B&N will carry the book through the holiday season and the Graphic novels when they come outing the […]
The reason it can take me so long to write a single sentence is because I care so much, even in the very first draft, about that single sentence.
This, many might say, is a writerly handicap. Just get the story down, they say. Return to it later, they say. Trust the process.
I do return, later. I do write over that sentence, away from that sentence, disappointed with that sentence. But every single time I write a sentence, or rewrite it, or reclaim it from the trash can, I am hoping for nothing less than sentence that is excellently good.
Writing well, every time, is an eternal hope of mine. I have not cracked that egg.
(Even at the very end of the process, when the book is in galleys, I discover sentences that don't work. Or, an editor with a keen eye questions me about passages that had long seemed set in stone. This just happened, in fact, with THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU. We were in galleys. We thought (after finding several troublesome galley matters) that we were done. But Taylor Norman, reading the book with fresh eyes, stopped, thought, and asked: Do you want your "really" here? Is that double "rappel" intentional? Can't we relax her speech on this page? What do you mean, the wind is incidental? Can she call her mother "Mom"? It's an ongoing process, refining one's work. And I suspect we're never really done.)
Over the last 24 hours I've read two favorite writers—novelist Colm Toibin and nonfiction genius John McPhee—on the art of getting it right the first time, and then looking again. I share their perspectives here. I learn from both.
BNR: I’m interested in your writing process, because much of the power, particularly in Nora, comes from what isn’t said. There is a lot of inference — with her relationship with her mother — for instance. So I was wondering how you refined this, what is your editing process like? CT: Oh, there’s no editing process. I mean, you just write down what’s needed — what you think is needed. And while I may change words, or pluck things, I mean not much. There’s no actual editing process. BNR: So you don’t write then cut? CT: No, you see, that won’t work, because if you don’t get it down right the first time, I mean — it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do editing or re-reading, re-writing, but not editing; meaning I’ll write this long and later on I’ll make it short, that won’t work. That won’t work. I mean, well, there are writers who do drafts, knowing there will be later drafts, and that works for them, but I don’t do that. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be later drafts, but I write as though I will never get another chance.
Now here is John McPhee in a New Yorker piece called" Omission: Choosing what to leave out." He too is talking about the importance of selection, in the first paragraph. In the second (non-contiguous) paragraph, he is reflecting on greening, a process he teaches his students:
Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in—if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got. Forget market research. Never market-research your writing. Write on subjects in which you have enough interest on your own to see you through all the stops, starts, hesitations, and other impediments along the way....
Green 4 does not mean lop off four lines at the bottom, I tell them. The idea is to remove words in such a manner that no one would notice that anything has been removed. Easier with some writers than with others. It’s as if you were removing freight cars here and there in order to shorten a train—or pruning bits and pieces of a plant for reasons of aesthetics or plant pathology, not to mention size. Do not do violence to the author’s tone, manner, nature, style, thumbprint. Measure cumulatively the fragments you remove and see how many lines would be gone if the prose were reformatted. If you kill a widow, you pick up a whole line.
Toibin and McPhee—two writers working two genres—are, in different ways, talking about the same thing: caring. There's a discipline to writing that may not seem so glamorous. There's more to this than just concocting story or throwing out an inventive phrase. We select, we refine, we work to get it right. Perfection may be out of reach. But we're lost when our commitment fades.
As we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall, how about we celebrate with saving some money? The best deals in this roundup include the preorder of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kuni 1 for $6.50 or $2.99 digital, a rare, one-day-only discount on Amazon Prime for new members, and boys’ love titles for up to 55% ... Read more
For introducing me to students who change my life and for sharing my books in your store in such a gorgeous, prominent way, thank you, University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Bookstore. For snapping this photograph and sending it my way, thank you, Gary Kramer.
There are just two more LOVE signings on the radar. You are, of course, invited:
December 10, 2015, 12 - 2PM Barnes and Noble LOVE signing Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia, PA
December 12, 2015, 2 PM In-store signing LOVE, etc. Big Blue Marble Bookstore 551 Carpenter Lane Philadelphia, PA
So, here's an idea. Run a Summer Reading Club! Offer kids free books - or prizes - when they successfully; a. Complete a predetermined number of books, or pages or amount of time b. Answer questions about the books they read OR write a review OR tell someone about the book c. Attend programs in your place of business d. Complete a scavenger hunt OR a puzzle OR find a hidden object e. Do all or any combination of the above.
So, who runs these Summer Reading Clubs? Public Libraries! I said, PUBLIC LIBRARIES! Bookstores! (Like the Moravian Book Shop) (Click on these links to learn more about their summer reading clubs.) Publishers! Those three make sense. Some school districts run reading clubs. Tutoring centers run reading centers. Here are a few of the more well-known Summer Reading Clubs.
Sylvan Learning Centers run BookAdventure. (Check out the snazzy buccaneer dinosaur and dog!) Sylvan has produced quizzes on recommended books. And quiz taking is part of the club's requirements. Sylvan boasts that they have quizzes for close to 8000 books so you should find something you or your young reader like..
Scholastic Books asks kids - or teachers - to log their time spent reading. Word Girl is the mascot this year and Scholastic offers certificates, activities, booklists and more. Check it out.
PBSKids has partnered with other organizations to provide Reading Programs - like the Soar with Reading program sponsored by PBSKids and JetBlue. Join to earn prizes AND to donate books to needy children around the USA.
iVillage has joined with PBSKids to provide their own Summer Reading Challenge. Click here for more information. The program offers daily email tips for increasing your child's literacy skills. This is a great program for parents of "emerging" readers.
BTW, I wondered if Amazon.com offered a Summer Reading Program and a simple search only offered me a chance to buy a book. Hmmm. I guess brick and mortar stores care more about the literacy of their future customers than online merchants. If I am wrong, please send me the link to Amazon's Summer Reading program. I promise to post it here.
Lots of good links from the last few weeks, let's get to it!
It's been tough sledding for Barnes & Noble lately. On the heels of announcing earlier in the year that they plan to shutter one third of their stores (link is to CNET, I work there), they had an earnings call this week in which they revealed that their Nook business is struggling, with losses at $190.4 million. Publisher/editor Peter Osnos notes that B&N has not benefitted greatly from the Borders bankruptcy and wonders if the large chain bookstore is endangered (something I blogged about two years ago), though it should be noted that the stores themselves are still profitable.
The last of the publishers sued by the Department of Justice for conspiring to raise e-books has settled. In a letter to authors, Macmillan CEO John Sargent said "Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment."Apple has not yet settled.
Meanwhile, publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin has an interesting look at some possible directions for the future of e-bookselling, which could get more atomized and dispersed across the Internet rather than concentrated solely with the large online vendors.
Working with publishers can occasionally be quite frustrating, as one author and independent bookstore recently discovered. When the bookstore wanted to order 450 copies the publisher refused to give them more than 200 (Why? Because they don't do things that way), so the bookstore ended up going to Target to get the books instead.
Atari's co-founder has launched a new venture that hopes to make the self-publishing process much easier by giving authors the ability to contract out different parts of the process in exchange for flat rates or royalties.
The Forums!! I have been receiving lots and lots of writing and publishing questions lately, and time constraints prevent me from answering them all. To save time and to hopefully benefit more people, I answer publicly in the Forums, where I am happy to answer any publishing question I can right here. You can also review previous questions.
I’ve been flipping a coin, trying to decide if I should post this. The coin rolled into my bathroom, spun beneath the toilet tank, and landed on tails, but I decided to post anyway.
THE MONSTORE has not been ordered by Barnes & Noble. And it’s supposed to hit shelves TOMORROW.
There. I’ve said it.
Simon and Schuster and Barnes & Noble continue their dispute over ebook pricing and in-store promotions, so the bookseller has cut back on orders from my publisher. Drastically.
I will say something else. It totally sucks. I don’t blame either party; it’s just business negotiations and it happens. BUT, we new authors are caught in the crosshairs. It ain’t fun. (See, it’s deteriorating my English!)
So…what does this mean for my debut book?
It means the savvy kidlit readers will still know my book. They’ll find it at their local indie. They’ll order it online. They’ll laugh. They’ll cry. They’ll say it’s much better than “Cats”. (Nod to SNL there.)
However, it means the general public might not know my book even exists. Sales may suffer. Hope of a sequel will grow dim. I’ve worked four long years to get this book into readers’ hands. FOUR YEARS. And now because of this dispute’s timing, well, I can’t say it. I can’t. It’s not nice. And I’m a nice girl.
So this means I need you, my blog readers, more than ever.
If you have enjoyed this blog, participated in PiBoIdMo, or just have a heart of gold, I ask if you can help me get the word out about THE MONSTORE. I would be forever grateful. Together, we can make up for some of the loss the book will suffer for not being in America’s only national book chain.
Some things you can do to help:
Blog about THE MONSTORE. (Many of you already are. I’m so appreciative.)
A perfect pick for kids who love Percy Jackson, Kingdom Keepers, or Seven Wonders series, The Copernicus Legacy is a Da Vinci Code-style story for young readers. The book follows four kids who stumble upon a powerful ancient secret of the famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. Protected by notables throughout history, it now falls to our young heroes to become guardians of Copernicus’s secret, racing across the globe, cracking codes, and unraveling centuries-old mysteries in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of a vast and evil shadow network called the New Teutonic Order.
It’s the worldwide adventure and historical scope that makes the series both page turning and educational, earning it many great reviews including a starred review from Kirkus: “With engaging characters, a globe-trotting plot and dangerous villains, it is hard to find something not to like. Equal parts edge-of-your-seat suspense and heartfelt coming-of-age.”
To celebrate the launch of the next books in this exciting series, on Saturday, September 13th, Tony Abbott will be leading a scavenger hunt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where four lucky winners of a national sweepstakes will work together to find hidden clues amongst the exhibits, crack codes, and earn prizes. You and all readers across the country will have another chance to win a trip to New York for the second Relic Hunt starting October 7 at www.thecopernicuslegacy.com!
After the Relic Hunt, Tony Abbott will be signing copies of The Forbidden Stone at 2:30pm at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway in Manhattan. The Barnes & Noble event is open to the public, and we invite you to join us there for a pizza party! It’s no mystery—the whole family will be in for good food and fun!
A lot of people use the reviews at Amazon to make decisions about books. I don't know how the specific content that is used at Amazon is selected, but it is worth noting that it is selectively used. No surprise there, really, because Amazon is a business, and so are the publishers.
Three sentences. They say "Debut author Arnold's book is filled with some incredible moments of insight. The protagonist is a hard-edged narrator with a distinct voice. There is a lot for teens to admire and even savor."
In the full review, Angie Manfredi pointed out that the protagonist uses lipstick to paint her face and calls it "war paint" or that the protagonist is "part" Cherokee. She described these as "deeply problematic elements" of "cultural appropriation."
I haven't read the book yet but will as soon as I get a copy.
For now, though, I think it important to note the difference in what gets excerpted at Amazon versus what gets used at Barnes and Noble. If you are a person who is mindful of problems related to depictions of Native peoples, Amazon would lead you astray.
I'm participating in a booksigning this Sunday at the LoneTree Barnes and Noble to benefit Pikes Peak Writers, and I'd love for you to stop by between 3:00-5:00 PM!
Pikes Peak Writers is a national nonprofit that helps writers learn, connect and grow through workshops, resources, contests, scholarships, and one of the best writer's conferences in the country. Membership in PPW is now completely free, as are many of their programs. To help PPW continue in their support of writers, Barnes & Noble is hosting this benefit bookfair and signing. If you shop at B&N --in a store or online-- during the benefit period, a portion of what you spend goes to PPW. It costs you nothing extra, and you can even use your B&N member discount. I hope you'll join me at the signing, but if you can't make it I invite you to shop BN.com/bookfairs between November 12th and 17th, and reference bookfair number #10553048.
For more info about this bookfair and the list of 30+ authors who will be signing at five Colorado Barnes & Noble locations, please visit here.
I'll be signing Sleepless, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and The Girl Who Was On Fire. Hope to see you there!
I made a visit to see my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephews over the Thanksgiving weekend, and while I was there, it didn’t take long for the kids to tell me all about what they’ve put on their Christmas lists this year. The eight... Read the rest of this post
When you are pressed, as I have been pressed, it is easy to forget that some things, sometimes, do get done. Books are conceived. Books are written. Thanks to Maureen of Barnes and Noble (Devon) for this display. (I am to blame for sneaking Small Damages in there. It just looked so pretty.)
Tomorrow night brings two out-of-town Overlook authors, as well as one northeastern native to bookstores across New York for an evening of readings, signings, and lively discussion. Award-winning English novelist R.J. Ellory, author of A Quiet Vendetta will be joined by A Killer’s Essence author Dave Zeltserman to promote their latest crime thrillers at Brooklyn’s BookCourt, while English
British comedian, actor, playwright, and author Stephen Fry graced New York City and the Overlook Press office with his warm and magnetic presence last Tuesday, January 24. We invited Fry to the States to promote his newest autobiography, THE FRY CHRONICLES, a witty and brutally honest stunner that we’ve praised here before. Yet the novelty of having the real life Jeeves from the comic series
I urge you not to read those articles all three in a row unless you want to get the sense that the traditional publishing industry is, um, a little nervous about how relevant it is in the future and mildly uncertain about what it should be doing.
I've been out of the publishing game a while, but it's worth taking a deep breath and remembering some things: a) This is still a print world (yes, still), and publishers are still best at getting paper to customers (yes, still). b) Some authors will still benefit from the collection of services publishers offer into the new era.
But also: Publishers must think about how their brands matter in the new era, especially to consumers, and how they can make themselves indispensable to an author's sales figures and bottom line. Right now they ain't getting it done by relying on authors for their own promotion and offering very little added value except for a few titles a season (who are often the titles that need the least boost).
But the sky isn't falling yet.
Whew! Meanwhile, Kassia Krozser at Booksquare previews the Tools of Change conference and tackles the perennial topic of print/e-book bundling.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last tome of a hardcover that I lugged around on vacation. It took up seemingly half my suitcase and weighed a ton, but because it wasn't available in e-book form and because I don't believe in piracy, I carried that thing across the country.
Now I'm thrilled to have the entire Harry Potter series resting weightlessly within my iPad.
As you have likely heard, Harry Potter is available in e-book form. And not just in e-book form, but available only through Pottermore, the digital extension of the Harry Potter brand. No other e-book vendor has it for sale, including the e-book behemoths like Amazon, B&N and iBooks. And the e-books are published by Rowling herself.
Why This is a Big Deal
J.K. Rowling just did an entire end-around on the entire publishing world in many, many ways.
Most of the focus has been on how these are for sale only from the author, and rightly so. Even Amazon is playing ball, listing the books for sale but referring people to Pottermore to make the purchase.
And the manner in which these e-books are being distributed is revolutionary. They're being sold without DRM but with digital watermarks to guard against piracy. Each purchaser has 8 digital copies they can download in various formats, and it's very easy to convert to the most popular devices. I had the e-books on my iPad within minutes.
The approach to DRM is, ironically enough, extremely similar to my earlier post on what good a good approach to DRM would look like - you can convert the files to any device and you have a sufficient number of copies for yourself and others... Only there's no DRM. Ha! 10 points for Gryffindor.
So let's talk about this. No publisher. The author as e-distributor. No DRM.
Rowling has certainly woken people up to this possibility. After all, in a Google world do you really have to have a central vendor? If people go looking for a book can't they get it just as easily from going to the author's site as they do from Amazon or iBooks?
Did the game just change for everyone?
Why This Isn't a Big Deal
My opinion? Yeah... not so much.
There is basically one author in the world who can pull this off. And she's the one who is doing it.
Okay, there may be a few more. But in order for this to work in 2012, an author has to build an entire distribution platform themselves that is compatible with different e-book formats. They have to draw people to that site and handle financial transactions and customer service and all the other million things that go along with selling stuff. It takes massive scale.
If I were to try to pull this off as a self-publisher, even on a smaller scale, I'd still miss out on being discovered by people who hadn't heard of me but were recommended within the e-book stores, where the majority of people will be looking
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I probably should save these comments so that I could actually have something to write about come Sunday, but heck! I’m on spring break and I’ve got nothing but ideas!
First, I have to share with you that I’ve gotten a new position! I’ll be working as an Assistant Reference Librarian at Indiana State University beginning this spring and if it weren’t for all the books (and other stuff) that need to be packed between now and then, I’d be flipping cartwheels!
I did take time out for a walk this morning and enjoyed the cool crisp air as much and the pink and white blossoms on the trees. Such beauty really got me to thinking… about books… Does your local Barnes and Noble have a Starbucks? Mine does and I’m wondering why the Starbucks near me doesn’t have a Barnes and Noble. I mean, many people actually sit for a spell at Starbucks, taking the time to read, computer or just chat. So, why don’t these companies increase each of their sales potential by putting books for sale in the Starbucks and heck, while they’re at it why not allow Nook access in the Starbucks just like at B&N? Seems like a no brainer to me!
Have you ever noticed how national news programs send the Latino guy to cover Latino issues and the Black guy to cover Black issues? I hate when they do that because while the network looks like they’re relating ethnically diverse issues, they’re really marginalizing the issue and stamping it as a Latino/Asia/Native American issue and not as a people issue.
To me, that’s what the New York Times has done with their piece on Young Adult fiction. Why not have a White author address diversity? An Asian address complexities and Latina talk about social networking? Why let readers continue to believe that the lack of diversity that surrounds us only continues to concern people of color? And, by the same token make it seem as if people of color have no other issues? Go on, join the discussion!
Meanwhile... I guess there was some teeny tiny publishing news this week.
Let's get the disclaimer out of the way first: I work for CNET, which is owned by CBS, which is the parent company of Simon & Schuster, one of the companies named in the lawsuit. All opinion here is entirely my own, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of CBS and/or Simon & Schuster and/or CNET, and is based mainly on my time in publishing as a literary agent where I was not privy to the inside discussions at publishers, and it doesn't necessarily reflect the opinion of my old agency Curtis Brown Ltd. either. Cool?
Here's the elevator pitch summary of what happened:
In the beginning of the e-book era, publishers sold e-books according to the "wholesale" model. Every e-book had a retail price, publisher got roughly half the retail price, bookseller got half, bookseller could sell the e-book for whatever they want. Amazon discounted deeply, taking a loss on some titles, built early market share, made publishers nervous as they were running away with the e-book market.
Along came Apple and the "agency" model: They gave publishers the ability to set their own prices and receive 70%. Publishers jumped at this and raised prices, but actually received less money per copy sold than in the wholesale model. (The difference between agency and wholesale also is the reason behind why some e-books cost more than their print counterparts)
What the DOJ alleges is that some of the publishing executives met around this time and explicitly discussed moving to the agency model and raising prices. This, the DOJ says, amounted to illegal collusion.
Three of the publishers, HarperCollins, S&S, and Hachette, have already settled without admitting wrongdoing, and will allow variable pricing. Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Apple have not settled and apparently will fight the charges in court. The case against Apple in particular, my colleagues Declan McCullaugh and Greg Sandoval write, is unlikely to stick.
I can't believe the *fourteenth* Canterwood Crest book releases on Tuesday! This was a series that started with one book in mind that I wrote in 2009. Ya'll know the story, but I'm feeling nostalgic. I was 19, a senior in college with a full course load and I heard about National Novel Writing Month. It was late October 2006, and NaNo is November 1-30, so I had no ideas, no outline--nothing. I jumped into it and started writing my first ever novel.
Tidbit: It was a YA novel called "High Jumps at Collins Academy" first. :)
I wrote my butt off and actually crossed the 50,000 word mark on or just before November 30. My draft was UGLY. I mean, it was seriously scary! But editing on my own, later edits with my ex-agent and edits from my first editor, Molly, got the book on track. That one book turned into a four book deal and after Molly left S&S (I got the call on my birthday!) I got the greatest gift: High Jumps, now Canterwood Crest, was under the guidance and editorial input of Kate Angelella.
Everything changed after that. Call it two girls clicking over a story. Or maybe it was the beautiful photos. Or the insane, nonstop marketing. Or the schedule of writing a bi-monthly series for a while. All of those things, and more, came into play into getting my series from one book to 20. Those were all important components, but it was, without a doubt, the edits from Editor K that got us to where we are: over 500,000 copies of the series in print.
I am ever so grateful to Kate and Simon & Schuster for embracing a girl with a desperate need for horses in her life, but being unable to do so unless I could write about them. Canterwood allows me to live vicariously through my characters and I couldn't be more immersed in Horse World. Best part? I got to see Kate pet her first horse. Nice coincidence, huh? :)
I'm busy working on MASQUERADE and Kate had her hands full with projects and will soon be editing my book.
I sincerely want to thank all of Team Canterwood for your support. I would NOT be able to live my dream without you. If you could only know how grateful I am!
Let me know if you spot POPULAR! I'm going to be spending release day in Rochester, MN, so I'll sign copies at Barnes & Noble, take pics and let you know where the books are in case you live nearby.