Notes: S&S to Offer E-Galleys; Glenn Beck, the Oprah of Thrillers
Today's top story, of course, has a Bronx, N.Y., dateline. We'll keep it short and sweet: Yea, Yankees!
In other news, Simon & Schuster has begun offering e-galleys of forthcoming titles to booksellers, reviewers, media and others through Galley Grab, the e-galley program the company developed. Files can be read using the Adobe Digital Editions desktop reader, recent versions of the Sony Reader, B&N's nook and other devices. The files cannot be copied and expire on the book's pub date.
"While we do not expect this to entirely replace physical galleys in the near future, Galley Grab is a convenient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to promote our upcoming titles and, not least, help us to expand the universe of those who can now have the chance to read our books before publication," said Ellie Hirschhorn, S&S's executive v-p and chief digital officer.
Appropriately, the first title to be made available as an e-galley is the green title The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health--and A Vision for Change by Annie Leonard, which will be published by the Free Press in March.
---Glenn Beck, the conservative radio and cable show host, has had some 40 thriller writers on his shows during the past five years and has become, as Brad Thor put it, "our Oprah," the New York Times wrote. Guests have included David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille and James Patterson; some have views with which Beck disagrees. Still, in every case, Beck offers enthusiastic reviews of the titles.
Seale Ballenger at Morrow told the paper that sales of The Doomsday Key by James Rollins were "totally driven by Glenn Beck"--Rollins appeared on his shows last summer. And David Brown at Atria observed, "I don't think there's anybody else on TV that is either that eager or open to booking novelists."
Beck's radio show draws nine million listeners and his TV show has 2.7 million viewers.
One sure thing about pricing wars is that every company involved gets hurt, writes James Surowiecki in the current issue of the New Yorker, dated November 9, in a Financial Page column on the book price wars. But this price war, despite the hooplah, is different because the point is to lure customers "online, away from big booksellers and other retailers, and then sell them other stuff. Usually, price wars wreak havoc because they erode the pricing power of an entire business. But, because this price war involves just ten items, its impact on revenue will be small, and outweighed by the positive effects of all the publicity."
He concludes: "Outraged book publishers and booksellers are making exaggerated claims about how the discounts will devalue books and wreck the industry. But they're right about one thing. The real competition in this price war is not between Wal-Mart and Amazon but between those behemoths and everyone else--and the damage everyone else is incurring is deliberate, not collateral. Wal-Mart and Amazon have figured out how to fight a price war and win: make sure someone else takes the blows."
In other continuing book price war coverage, the Charleston Daily Mail
interviewed Ann Saville, owner of Taylor Books, Charleston, W.V., who
"said that on top of the already slow economy anything that cuts into
profits is 'obviously crippling.' The downtown bookstore has seen a
'tremendous decline' in the sale of national bestsellers because larger
retailers are 'skimming off the cream,' Saville said. The store
continues to do well selling literary fiction, children's books and
up-and-coming authors, books that retailers with slim selections, such
as Walmart and Kroger, don't carry."
Referring to the letter sent by the ABA to the Department of Justice (Shelf Awareness, October 23, 2009) requesting an investigation of "predatory pricing practices," Tom Campbell, co-owner of Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C.--and one of the signers of the letter--said loss-leader pricing "has sent a message to people that books aren't really worth very much, that people have to discount books a lot to be able to sell them.... That's what we do is sell books, so if we sell them at a loss it's not a very good business model."
Novelist Howard Jacobson selected his top 10 novels of sexual jealousy, those stories that "best anatomise the 'dark, interior stickiness' of a passion peculiarly well-suited to literature" for the Guardian.
Spirit of the season: a group of book bloggers has founded "buy books for the holidays," a nonprofit project whose name says it all. The group will post essays "about why and how to buy books for the people on your gift list, shopping suggestion lists, information about reading charities and spotlights of independent bookstores." Indies can sign up through the site.
Book trailer of the day: Beyond the Homestretch: What I've Learned from Saving Racehorses by Lynn Reardon (New World Library).