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Bookselling

France Bans Free Shipping on Discounted Books Online

franceFrance has passed a new law which prevents online booksellers from offering free shipping on discounted books.

The New York Times has the scoop: “The new measure is part of France’s effort to promote “biblio-diversity” and help independent bookstores compete. Here, there’s no big bookseller with the power to suddenly turn off the spigot. People in the industry estimate that Amazon has a 10 or 12 percent share of new book sales in France. Amazon reportedly handles 70 percent of the country’s online book sales, but just 18 percent of books are sold online.”

The law stems from the 1981 Lang law, which prevents any bookseller in France from pricing a new book for less than 5 percent off of the cover price. The idea is to keep book prices the same around the country, in order to keep publishers and booksellers in business.

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Costco Drops Then Restocks Controversial Book

America_NoShadow-270x415Discount retailer Costco has restocked copies of the controversial anti-Obama book America: Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza, after abundant backlash from conservative news pundits for removing the book from its shelves. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the company removed the book because of poor sales.

In an interview with Sean Hannity, D’Souza called the move “bizarre” pointing out that the book came out only three weeks ago.  ”About a week ago, it surpassed Hillary’s book on Amazon. It’s actually currently number one on the Amazon best-seller list,” he told the Fox News anchor. “So the sales of the book have been strong. And then, of course, a few days ago, my movie opened in 1,100 theaters around the country.”

Costco defended its decision in a statement: “Costco is not a book store. Our book shelf space is very limited.  We exercise discipline in the best utilization of that limited space based solely on what our members are buying. We can’t carry every title that our members are interested in reading.  We are constantly monitoring book sales and make decisions to pull books off the shelves frequently based on volume to make room for other titles. Politics or controversy over content do not influence our decisions.” Read more

Bertelsmann to Stop Selling Books in German Speaking Market

derclubGerman media firm Bertelsmann SE will stop selling books in German-speaking markets in response to declining sales.

The Wall Street Journal has the scoop: “The company’s retail locations as well as the online store, branded under the ‘Der Club’ label, will cease operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the end of 2015, spelling the end to almost all of Bertelsmann’s remaining bookselling activities. The decision isn’t only the latest sign of how digitization is changing the book industry, but also a farewell to the core business that had originally made the German publisher a media giant—the sale of books and other media via a “book club” subscription service.”

The Der Club e-commerce site is still functioning, but the entire operation is expected to shut down by the end of 2015.

Jeff Kinney Hopes to Revitalize Physical Books With His New Store

Jeff KinneyDiary of a Wimpy Kid series creator Jeff Kinney and his wife Julie will be moving forward with the development of their new bookstore. In an interview with The Atlantic, the couple discussed their plans for this new retail project. Ideally, this bookstore and café will allow the people of Plainville, Massachusetts to enjoy physical books and a variety of activities (e.g. jewelry workshops, karaoke, wine tastings) so that it becomes a community space.

For Kinney (pictured, via), “a physical book has a heft, a permanence that you don’t get digitally. So our hope is that the bookstore will remain a vital, important part of communities across the country and the world. We hope that the disappearance of such stores has leveled off.”

When asked about how Kinney’s status as a beloved author will help with this business venture, he answered: “To make it work, we know it has to be a destination—we have to bring people in from Plainville and surrounding town. We’ll be leveraging the notoriety that my work has to a certain degree. But it’s not about me. By no means is this a Jeff Kinney store. This has to outlive me.” Do you plan to visit the Kinneys’ bookstore one day?

Amazon Makes ‘The Silkworm’ Available For Sale

silkwormAmazon has listed J.K. Rowling’s new book for sale on its website. The Associated Press reports that The Silkworm “quickly climbed up the best-seller lists now that it’s finally available for purchase on Amazon.com.”

Hachette Book Group published the new Robert Galbraith book on June 19, 2014. Prior to this date, the giant online retailer did not allow customers to place pre-orders due to its ongoing dispute with the publishing house.

According to The Globe and Mail, several Amazon competitors have been playing this situation to their advantage. The Silkworm currently occupies the number one spot on the Barnes & Noble’s fiction bestseller list.

‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ Creator Jeff Kinney to Open a Bookstore

Jeff KinneyWriter and artist Jeff Kinney (pictured, via) revealed at BookExpo America that he and his wife plan to open a bookstore. The Associated Press reports that the couple intends to transform an abandoned general store located in Plainville, Massachusetts.

Besides this book selling venture, Kinney has also been hard at work on the ninth installment of the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Amulet Books, an imprint at ABRAMS, has scheduled a release date for The Long Haul on November 04, 2014. (via Fishbowl NY)

Music Marketing Analytics Firm Gets Into Books

research-reportsNext Big Sound, a company that maps data points on musicians from Twitter to press clippings and correlates this activity to record sales, is getting into the book business.

The company has just unveiled a new dashboard called Next Big Book, in which publishers can track the sales affects of social media posts and other marketing efforts. Next Big Sound has been working with Macmillian on the project.

The New York Times has more: “Macmillan employees are experimenting with the data. Brittney Kleinfelter, a marketer at the company, noticed that one of her authors was selling well in the same geographic regions as a rival author who wrote similar books. As a result, she decided to move ad dollars to markets where neither author is selling well yet, but where she sees growth potential.”

Haruki Murakami Books For Sale in Poland-Based Vending Machines

MurakamiWould you ever purchase a book from a vending machine?

Muzu, a publisher based in Poland, crafted and unleashed three such machines with the Polish translation of Haruki Murakami’s Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and the Year of His Pilgrimage for sale. According to the Haruki Murakami Stuff blog, these vending machines were set up in train stations located in Warsaw, Poznan, and Wroclaw. Follow this link to see a photo showcasing one of the vending machines.

The novel first came out in Murakami’s native Japan back in April 2013. Knopf, an imprint at Penguin Random House, will release the English language edition, translated by Japanese literature expert Philip Gabriel, on August 12, 2014. Upcoming4.me reports that it will also be available to United Kingdom readers on that same date.

15th Century Torah Goes For Record $3.87 Million at Auction

torahAn anonymous buyer picked up a 15th-century edition of the Torah for a cool $3.87 million at an auction in Paris this week. The price is a record high for such a book.

The book was printed in Hebrew in Bologna in January 1482. According to the Christe’s listing, ”the volume represents the very first appearance in print of all five books of the Pentateuch as well as the first to which vocalisation and cantillation marks have been added. It is equally the first time that the printed Biblical text is accompanied by Rashi’s commentary and the paraphrase in Aramaic (Targum Onkelos). The significance of this edition is demonstrated by the fact that this format is still in use today when printing the Torah.”

The company estimated the value of the book at $1.38-$2.07 million before the auction.

New York Magazine Finds Thriving Bookstores in NYC

mcjbooksDespite the many challenges that indie bookstores have for staying in business, some stores are managing to thrive despite high rents in New York City.

New York Magazine has put together a list of six bookstores that are doing well and their secret sauce for surviving the recession in an expensive city. Stores on the list include: McNally Jackson, Greenlight Books, PowerHouse Arena, Three Lives, Community Bookstore and BookCourt. Check it out:

A recent ad for Verizon Fios features two laptops competing for bandwidth in what looks like a Bushwick loft that crashed into an Apple store. It’s actually PowerHouse Arena: a 5,000-square-foot “laboratory for creative thought,” exhibition hall, party space, shoot location, and, oh right, bookstore. “We don’t have a lot of giant, traditional diversity,” says owner Daniel Power, referring to the store’s rather limited stock. “We’re just very careful in what we select.

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