In the quarter ended December 31, net sales at Amazon.com rose 42% to $5.67 billion and net income rose 112% to $207 million.
"This is a stellar quarter, in light of all the consumer-spending worries," Jeetil Patel, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, told the Wall Street Journal. But like other analysts he indicated concerns about the company's profit margins. Amazon's gross margin fell to 20.6% from 21.3% during the quarter mainly because of its continued investment in new technology and the cost of Amazon Prime, its free-shipping program. In after-hours trading, the e-tailer's stock fell more than 11%.
Sales of media, which includes books, rose 33% to $3.33 billion in the quarter. Sales of the Kindle, the new e-book reader, have been strong enough, the company said, so that demand is outrunning supply. "Kindles are being delivered to customers on a first-come, first-served basis."
Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio has continued his B&N stock-buying spree. According to the AP, SEC filings show that in the past week, Riggio bought 350,000 shares of company stock for prices between $30.19 and $31.44 a share. Total cost for these purchases: somewhere between $10.6 million and $11 million.
During a four-month period last year, Riggio spent some $18 million on company stock and now owns about 13.4 million shares of Barnes & Noble, worth about $430 million. Last September, his 13 million shares were worth about $500 million.
The Women's National Book Association has announced three additional nominees for the 2008 Lucile Micheels Pannell Award, given to a general bookstore and a children's-only bookstore "that excel at inspiring the interest of young people in books and reading." WNBA will present the Award to the two bookstores at BookExpo America in Los Angeles (Shelf Awareness, January 28).
Children's Specialty Store:
The Hidden Room Book Shoppe, South Haven, Mich.
BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, Fla.
The bookseller's sleeping bag. Dan Wyman, owner of Dan Wyman, Books,
Springfield, Mass., has taken the art of carrying sidelines to a new
level as "the main United States distributor for the Selk' sleeping
bag--a sort of astronaut suit for outdoorsy grown-ups," the Boston Herald reported.
who specializes in out of print, rare and antique Jewish books,
discovered the wearable sleeping bag while visiting his cousin in Chile
"How can you look at it and not smile?" asked Wyman.
"This is a great mesh of form and function. People are finding all
sorts of uses for these bags that never occurred to me. I've been
calling it the 'Book Lovers' Sleeping Bag,' but I'm not sure that will
have a lot of traction. I'm O.K. if these two businesses just stay
In our item about the Costa Awards last week, we forgot to mention that besides the main prize--the Book of the Year went to Day by A.L. Kennedy, which also won in the Novel category--the organization, formerly known as the Whitbread Awards, awarded prizes in four other categories:
- First Novel: Catherine O'Flynn for What Was Lost
- Poetry: Jean Sprackland for Tilt
- Biography: Simon Sebag Montefiore for Young Stalin
- Children's: Ann Kelley for The Bower Bird
Incidentally in the U.S., The Bower Bird is distributed by Ingram Publisher Services, which will have more stock arriving from the U.K. soon.
Congratulations to Mary Gay Shipley, owner of That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, Ark., who is being honored in two ways:
Main Street Arkansas has named Shipley Main Street Merchant of the Year, citing her for working "vigorously to make Blytheville as well-known as her store. Shipley's bookstore is a cultural hub for the city of Blytheville, the Delta region and the country. Authors on national tour, such as John Grisham, frequently stop in Blytheville for special luncheons in the bookstore's back room. Visitors from Memphis, Jonesboro, and the surrounding tri-state area come to the luncheons to meet the authors and hear passages from their most recent works.
"Apart from her successful business, Shipley has immersed herself in Blytheville's Main Street program. She served as the first board president in the '80s, advocating the program verbally and financially. When the program had a staffing turnover last year, Shipley left her business to work in the Main Street office one day a week."
And in its March issue, AY Magazine, a monthly lifestyle magazine focused on Arkansas, will name Shipley one of its "12 powerful women."
In a feature about regional literature, the Cayman Observer wrote, in part, "With the grand opening of Books & Books in Camana Bay [in the Cayman Islands] last month, the interest in Caribbean literature appears to be gaining momentum, potentially building a wider audience throughout the region, but also in the all-important North American and European markets, which could provide a substantial audience for Caymanian writers."
"There is now a developing interest in Caribbean literature outside the traditional immigrant populations," Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan told the paper. "The same thing has happened with books by Latin American and African-American authors in the US. Audiences have developed far beyond a core readership, making for greater sales and higher impact from their work."
The Observer added, "In the Camana Bay store, Caymanian books are prominently featured close to the entrance, which could lead to a stronger local readership. But the knock-on effect may likely come from expatriate readers, which make up half the population and come from all over the world. Consequently, some local bestsellers will naturally migrate to other countries, building a broader audience as well as generating more interest in local literature as a whole."
In honor of Rock On: An Office Power Ballad by Dan Kennedy, Shelf Awareness and Algonquin are sponsoring a contest for booksellers to create a bookstore power ballad. The grand prize-winning bookseller and bookstore will win an authentic Gary Baseman "Lil Copy Cat" vinyl toy (as featured on the book jacket), Rock On T-shirts (maximum 20) for the staff and a plaque featuring the winning lyrics. The winning lyrics will also be featured in Shelf Awareness. The grand prize-winner and five runners up will be selected by a panel of judges and Dan Kennedy.
E-mail your bookstore power ballad to Lindsey McGuirk at email@example.com with "Power Ballad" in the subject line. Please include your name, your bookstore, store address and phone number. Lyrics not to exceed 500 words. Limit one entry per bookseller, two entries per store location. All entries must be received by March 14. For more information, rock here.
And another football book for Sunday's Super Bowl lineup:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly New York Giants: Heart-pounding, Jaw-dropping, and Gut-wrenching Moments from New York Giants History by Michael Benson (Triumph Books, $19.95, 9781600780127/1600780121).
[Thanks to "shameless" Jake Elwell of Harold Ober Associates!]
Speaking of which, according to USA Today, "Triumph Books in conjunction with the Boston Globe, will release 19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots" if the Patriots win the Super Bowl. The article added that the book had been available to order at Amazon, but the link no longer works.
You can, however, still order New York Giants: 2008 Super Bowl Champions.
cautioned that "before everyone starts accusing one team or the other
of being overconfident or disrespectful, neither team has anything to
do with the book deals. Also, book publishers say it is common practice
to have these books ready for sale."