In a corporate statement, Borders Group has said that a Debtwire article (Shelf Awareness, January 21, 2010) alleging slow payment to some small publishers "includes inaccurate information."
For one, Borders said that it "has continued to pay its vendors in a timely manner, has not lengthened its days to pay, and has not been contacted by a group of publishers as alleged. Product is flowing to our stores for sale to customers. In fact, we have significantly increased book inventory in the fourth quarter compared to last year, a sign that we have continued to receive support from the vendor community."
Concerning the debtwire.com assertion that several publishers had contacted Lowenstein Sandler to represent them against Borders, Borders said that the law firm had issued this note: "The statement in the article that a group of smaller publishers had hired the bankruptcy group of Lowenstein Sandler as legal counsel is incorrect."
In a story called "James Patterson Inc.," yesterday's New York Times Magazine outlined the writing empire created by the man who publishes nine or 10 books a year (with a stable of co-writers), whose sales in recent years are greater than those of Dan Brown, Stephen King and John Grisham combined, who accounts for "one out of every 17 novels bought in the U.S." since 2006, who has at least three full-time staff members at Little, Brown devoted to him.
During his writing career, he has bucked many industry rules of thumb, including putting out "too many" books, using co-authors and writing in many different genres with both series and standalone titles. Also, as befits a former Madison Avenue man, Patterson is keenly focused on marketing and advertising for his books, and he became a bestselling author when he ran TV ads for Along Came a Spider, the first Alex Cross book.
The New York Times explored the phenomenon of the free e-book, which are among the top "bestsellers" for the Kindle and are being promoted by authors and publishers alike to introduce unfamiliar works to readers. Some of the free titles are older works by authors with new books. Several people noted that even free titles on a bestseller list garner publicity that echt bestsellers receive.
"Giving people a sample is a great way to hook people and encourage them to buy more," Suzanne Murphy, group publisher of Scholastic Trade Publishing, told the paper.
On the other hand, David Young, CEO of Hachette Book Group, commented: "At a time when we are resisting the $9.99 price of e-books, it is illogical to give books away for free."
Oops. Barnes & Noble messed up with the wrong customer.
On his tech blog, Jesse Vincent recounted his long, frustrating experience trying to buy a nook. B&N customer service people were unfailingly "friendly and apologetic" on the phone, he wrote. But shipment of his e-reader was delayed repeatedly, his order was mistakenly cancelled, he received several e-mails requesting basic information that was included in the very same e-mail and he never received the $100 gift card B&N had promised to people whose orders last year had been delayed.
Vincent concluded, "Barnes & Noble have, without a doubt, the worst customer service of any company I have dealt with in the past decade."
[Editors' note: Our intrepid columnist Jenn Northington, general manager of breathe books, Baltimore, Md., who is recounting here her experiences finding, buying and using an e-reader, has fared much better than Vincent: her nook arrived nearly two weeks earlier than promised.]
A 20' x 20' section of the roof of the Christian Bookstore, Rochester, Minn., collapsed, according to KAAL-TV. Four employees were in the store, none of whom were injured. Estimates are that thousands of dollars of merchandise was lost.
The owner of Atticus Bookstore and Cafe, New Haven, Conn., is reconsidering the store's recent policy requiring employees to speak only English on the floor and at the cafe counter, the New Haven Register reported. Some customers and local residents have objected to the policy, which has also received national press.
The original memo said that "Spanish is allowed in the prep area, the dishwashing area and in the lower level. Let's make our customers feel welcome and comfortable."
Kate Mattes reminisced about the late Robert B. Parker in the Boston Globe.
"I called him when I opened Kate's Mystery Books, and he stopped by
with champagne and flowers," she recalled. "He stopped by many times
after that--to sign books, host an event, visit with out-of-town
authors, or help put up book shelves....
"Bob did more than
open creative doors, though. He wrote blurbs for young writers, helped
them find editors and agents, and helped them navigate the tricky
worlds of TV and film. As he became more prosperous, he and his wife,
Joan, supported local arts and community groups with their many
donations. Neither of them looked for attention for their generosity.
They did what they could to help."
Last Tuesday, Beagle Books, Park Rapids, Minn., held its "first-ever Skype author event," which allowed Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver (Scholastic Press), to appear in the store via Skype webcam and Internet connection and meet with the Park Rapids high school teen book group. The event was open to the public, but the group members' questions took priority.
Manager Jennifer Wills Geraedts said, "The kids loved Maggie--they thought she was so funny and engaging."
The event was sponsored by Scholastic and the Midwest Booksellers Association, which is working with member stores and publishers to set up more Skype events.
Cool (or brilliant) idea of the day: in its store e-mail, Brilliant Books, Suttons Bay, Mich., is promoting online ordering for summer residents. ("We don't charge for shipping. So every book you buy online costs exactly the same as it would if you walked in here.") It also has a Surprise Book of the Month club, based on each recipient's interests.
The pitch: "If you enjoy our little bookstore, we'd like you to be our customer for all your books, even when you're away.... You'll be helping make sure that Suttons Bay still has an independent bookstore when you get back.... Put Your Money Where Your House Is" or--if you're away--where your summer house is."
Check out Time Out New York's account of matchmaking efforts at WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y., which has a bulletin board where people post personal ads and last week held a mixer at a nearby bar. Sample personals include one by book world p.r. guy Russ Marshalek, formerly director of marketing at Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, Ga.
Book trailer of the day: The Monkey Bible by Mark Laxer (Outer Rim, distributed by Chelsea Green). This October 2010 book is part of the multimedia Monkey Bible Project.
Stieg Larsson was Europe's bestselling fiction writer last year,
according to an analysis of international fiction bestseller lists
published by book trade magazines, the Bookseller.com reported. A top 50 list will be released January 29, but the 10 bestselling fiction writers in Europe in 2009 were:
- Stieg Larsson
- Stephenie Meyer
- Dan Brown
- Paolo Giordano
- Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Camilla Läckberg
- Herman Koch
- Tatiana de Rosnay
- Henning Mankell
- John Grisham
Author Steve Almond, whose Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life
will be released this spring from Random House, shared his recent experience with self-publishing in a Los Angeles Times
piece that explored the happy birth of another project.
stood mesmerized before the Harvard Bookstore's Espresso Book Machine,
watching the pages of my book being scanned with a red laser, sprayed
with ink and cut," he wrote. "It only took minutes for the inaugural
copy of This Won't Take but a Minute, Hone
y to slide down a small chute. Not only was my copy warm, the cover was still sticky. I nearly wept."