Even though the body isn't even near cold, Barnes & Noble is already
benefiting from the struggles of Borders: yesterday Credit Suisse
upgraded B&N shares to "neutral" from "underperform," saying that
B&N could pick up about 18% of Borders's sales, or about $400
million, if Borders closes, Reuters
Analyst Gary Balter said that about 70% of the companies' stores overlap.
Amazon tech updates: Kindle is now available for Windows Phone 7, joining a list of compatible platforms that includes computer desktops, iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android-based devices and Amazon's own e-reader, PC Magazine reported. Amazon also announced it will develop Kindle apps for Android- and Windows-based LCD tablets.
TechCrunch examined Amazon's new application marketplace, which is expected to debut later this year, and the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal: "Amazon has launched the developer-facing part of the store, inviting devs to submit their applications so that they're ready when the app store is ready for its consumer debut later this year.... In some senses, this is the Android equivalent of Apple's App Store--even more so than Google's official Android Market."
The Wall Street Journal observed that the "move brings Amazon into direct competition with Google's own existing app store--but with what Amazon hopes will prove to be two important distinctions: recommendations and price."
"We've spent years developing an e-commerce platform that helps customers find products that are right for them from a massive selection," said Aaron Rubenson, Amazon's category leader for mobile services. "We are excited to bring those capabilities to mobile apps."
U.K. music and books retailer HMV Group will close 20 Waterstone's bookshops and 40 HMV music branches during the next 12 months in response to declining sales. BBC News noted the company's Christmas sales "were down 10%, and it warned profits would be at the lower end of forecasts. HMV blamed bad weather and 'challenging trading conditions.' "
At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sharp announced that its Galapagos tablet, currently being sold in Japan, will be introduced to the U.S. market during the second half of 2011. The Los Angeles Times reported "the tablets will connect to a Galapagos e-bookstore where consumers can buy books, magazines and newspapers as well as music, movies, TV shows and other apps.... The U.S. model will probably have a few features the Japanese model lacks."
"The U.S. market product will most likely have cameras on the front and the back, for video chats, photos, video, things like that," said Bob Scaglione, Sharp's chief marketing officer.
The New York Times profiled Juniper Books owner Thatcher Wine, "a former Internet entrepreneur who now creates custom book collections and decorative 'book solutions,' as he puts it, in his Boulder, Colo., warehouse."
Wine's clients have specific ideas about biblio-décor: One "wanted literary classics mixed with art books for a silver-inflected art library. So Mr. Wine chose works by Kate Chopin, Jane Austen and Robert Browning and wrapped them in matte silver paper, to match the silver hardware in the room."
Another client "asked to wrap about 2,000 books in blank white paper, without titles, to provide a 'textural accent' to the space. He chose mass-market hardcovers that flood the used book outlets--titles by John Grisham and Danielle Steel, or biographies of Michael Jackson, he said--because they are cheap, clean and a nice, generous size."
The Times also took note of other players in the trade. Jenny McKibben, "who runs the book-by-the-foot business at the Strand (which now accounts for 5% of the store's sales, she said) takes mostly phone and Internet orders.... In the custom book business, you might call Mr. Wine a designer label and the Strand, ready-to-wear (prices there start at $10 a foot and range up to $400 for antique leather). The Maryland-based Wonder Book, then, with its 54,000-square-foot warehouse, represents the mass market. Chuck Roberts, its amiable owner, said he gets requests from developers, set designers, decorators needing 1,000 books for a holiday deadline, even wedding planners."
Amazon temporarily removed Thomas Hertog's Kindle books--Wealth Hazards and The Day the Kindle Died--from its website in the wake of media coverage regarding the author's claim that he had successfully manipulated sales rankings for Wealth Hazards and hit "the number one bestseller spot in its category on Amazon simply by posting fake reviews, voting on them favorably and downloading copies of the Kindle e-book." The books have since been restored to the site, but without their reviews and rankings.
Hertog said it took "about 45 days" to maneuver his book to the number one spot in personal finance. "Not once was a review or vote rejected by Amazon," he observed. According to the Guardian, Hertog's conclusion was that "Amazon's bestseller rankings are 'inaccurate,' 'contrived' and 'misleading' to customers [and] his findings meant 'the Kindle experience is dead.' "
Barnes & Noble has introduced a Nook kids for iPad application. CNET News said the app "is designed for children, but it's really targeted toward parents with kids."
Noting that "Great Bookstores Remain Downtown," the Santa Barbara Independent made a case "for the remaining depth of the Santa Barbara literary scene. The closing of Borders and Barnes & Noble does not represent the end of the downtown bookstores. Rather, it offers the opportunity to uncover some old Santa Barbara treasures."
Those treasures include the Book Den, Thrasher Books, Lost Horizon Books, Chaucer's Books and the Paperback Exchange. "While the community took its turn in romps with the commercial chains, these local bookstores have waited patiently, as forgotten secrets of our lady, Sta. Barbara. Let us take this opportunity to rediscover the depth of this city before she becomes covered in designer clothing and loses her literary soul," the Independent wrote.
Stately Raven Bookstore, Findlay, Ohio, will close by the end of the month. Mike Cole, who has operated the bookshop since 2007, told FOX Toledo News: "We bought it, refurbished it, and renovated it. We needed to have a big enough store to become a destination for people to come here, to offset the lack of discount we had as an independent seller.... There are just too many other economic pressures and competitive elements going on in the book selling business."
From the archives: Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog featured a video clip of a J.K. Rowling interview from the late 1990s. Rowling is seen in a Scottish café, "snuggled with a coffee in a corner table, writing the book that would become Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. She also gives herself a pat on the back for selling a whopping 30,000 copies so far (i.e., 0.0075 percent of her current sales tally) and offers some candid thoughts about her first taste of success: 'It really scared me. I was halfway through the second book and I became blocked and panic stricken. I became very self conscious about what I was writing. But I did get over that. It took about a month to relax again and force myself to believe I was just writing for me again.' "
Flavorwire revisited "Our Most Beloved Childhood Authors" and observed: "Although we’ve grown into busier schedules and wider literary tastes as adults, nothing beats the familiar comfort of a beloved childhood author. Here’s a look back at some of the seminal writers who defined our early reading careers, and an update on what they’ve been doing in the meantime."
The Book Case blog showcased its choices for best book jackets of 2010.
Obituary note: Children's author Dick King-Smith, whose book The Sheep-Pig was adapted into the hit film Babe, has died, the Guardian reported. He was 88.
Brianna Yamashita has been promoted to publicity and marketing director
for Tarcher/Penguin. Before joining Tarcher in October 2008, she was
publicity manager at Workman and PR manager at Dorchester and earlier
worked at Publishers Weekly, where we first met her and became a fan!
At Tarcher, she launched and produces Tarcher Talks, revamped tarcherbooks.com,
expanded Tarcher's social media presence and was in charge of several
new marketing initiatives, including national TV advertising via Google.
Emily Grandstaff has returned to the University of Virginia Press as
marketing and publicity manager, where she was a publicist from 2004 to
2007. More recently she was senior publicist at HarperOne. She may be
reached at email@example.com.
Book trailer of the day: Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart (Mira Books).
A big-hearted romance fan, USA Today book critic Deirdre Donahue is now an official commenter on Avon Romance's blog. She quickly joined the discussion, calling Whisper Falls by Toni Blake an "enemy of productivity--my highest prize," a concept we know all too well.
BookMasters Distribution Services has
added two publishers:
Design Media Publishing, a new publisher
in Hong Kong, supported by Liaoning Science and Technology Publishing House in
China. Design Media publishes 60-100 titles annually, specializing in architecture,
interior design, landscape and graphic design.
Islandport Press, Yarmouth, Maine, which
publishes books and other media about Maine and New England, children's books, humor,
history, cooking, fiction and more. Its author/illustrators include Dahlov
Ipcar, a Maine resident who illustrated one of the earliest works of Margaret
Wise Brown, the author of Good Night Moon. The press is reprinting the works of
Mary Ellen Chase, a master of regional fiction.
In addition, the AtlasBooks division has
Razor Media Group, Houston, Texas, a new company
that will publish books and other information products on Internet commerce,
beginning with Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide for Anyone or Any Business
to Make Money on the Internet by Marc Ostrofsky. Razor Media is headed by
Ostrofsky, an Internet guru and entrepreneur who has also built and sold
companies in the pre-paid phone card industry, created eTickets.com,
CuffLinks.com, Summercamps.com and Blinds.com and sold the domain name
Business.com for $7.5 million.