Tag Archives: sales

New Kindle Checkout System In the Works

amazonWhen Amazon first created the Kindle, it was meant to be used for reading e-books. Then it became a tablet. Now it might become a cash register.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon — the creator of the Kindle — is working with brick-and-mortar stores and retailers to create a checkout system that uses Kindle tablets. If it’s a go, stores would use the new system as early as this summer. More and more retailers are using handheld devices for checkouts, such as food trucks, Apple, and even Nordstrom.

Amazon officials say retailers would receive Kindle tablets and credit card readers, or receive services from Amazon, such as data analysis.

The plan is still in the works. Nothing is officially set in stone. For now, Amazon is looking to start at small stores, since larger chains generally already use  complex, expensive checkout systems.

The real benefit of checking out with a Kindle would be how fast and easy it is to do. But it’s clear than an underlying benefit for Amazon is all the exposure the company itself would get; plus it’s a pretty sneaky way of bringing the Kindle — available online only —  into stores.

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‘Today’ To Start Its Own Book Club

Though Oprah Winfrey resurrected her famous Oprah’s Book Club last year with Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, producers at NBC still felt TV viewers throughout the country were lacking in the book club department. Hence, the new Today book club.

According to The New York Times, it’s part of The Today Show‘s attempt to revive and substantiate the show, adding something Good Morning America doesn’t have. The Today book club will feature roughly one book a month, and will air interviews with the books’ authors during the morning show. The books will feature stickers, so they’ll be easily recognized as a Today Show pick.

Oprah’s Book Club brought a lot of success to the publishing industry — most of her selected books skyrocketed to bestsellers — and to Oprah herself. Publishers, authors, and the staff at Today are hoping to mirror that success with the new book club. The only problem — Oprah had Oprah to help boost the sales. People listened to her. Today doesn’t have that one person to make people listen. Either way, books and authors are starting to, once again, get the media coverage they’ve been lacking for so long.

According to the L.A. Times, the blogging site Tumblr is following suit, starting its own book club.

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Daily Deals Boosting E-Book Sales

Everyone loves a good sale, and in the case of e-books, this doesn’t apply just to readers; it also applies to authors.

According to The New York Times, one-day deals that e-book sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer have resulted in huge sale boosts for authors. Any book is subjected to becoming a daily deal — usually those that are years old or that have never reached bestseller status. It’s easier to offer sales like these with e-books, which don’t have a sticker price attached to them. Publishers can change the prices frequently from $14.99 to $9.99 to $1.99.

When people see those $1.99 offers — for one day only!! — they’re more inclined to buy a copy; not only is it cheap, but it’s also easy to download, as Julie Bosman explains.

[Amazon vice president for Kindle content] Mr. Grandinetti said one book, “1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die,” was selling, on average, less than one e-book a day on Amazon. After it was listed as a Kindle Daily Deal last year, it sold 10,000 copies in less than 24 hours.

Some titles have tripled that number: on a single day in December, nearly 30,000 people snapped up digital copies of “Under the Dome,” by Stephen King, a novel originally published in 2009 by Scribner. For publishers and authors, having a book chosen by a retailer as a daily deal can be like winning the lottery, an instant windfall of sales and exposure.

The success of the those one-day deals often boosts sales for the next couple days or weeks as well or encourages readers to read other books by the same author. Web sites that track the deals from online stores have also popped up, making it even easier for readers to find the best sales.

So what does this all mean? Hopefully it means the book business is alive and well, despite the ongoing closure of brick and mortar stores…

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No E-Book for Stephen King’s New Novel

In a bold, anti-digital move, bestselling author Stephen King has decided not to release his newest book in e-book format.

According to The L.A. Times, the author made the decision last month to sell his latest novel, Joyland, solely as a physical book. King is generally considered a pioneer in digital books; he’s written a number of bestselling Kindle Singles and even helped Amazon’s Jeff Bezos introduce the Kindle 2 in 2009.

King said he’d rather have people go to an actual bookstore. It was a move that got a lot of praise from bookstore owners, who have seen their sales go down over the years thanks to an increase in e-readership. King is set to release another major novel later this year, but he hasn’t announced yet whether or not it will be available in e-book format.

Joyland was published by Hard Case Crime and was released just yesterday.

Get Joyland only in paperback for $7.30.

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Barnes & Noble vs. Simon & Schuster

Authors published by Simon & Schuster are crying foul.

According to The New York Times, the big box retailer Barnes and Noble has cut orders from Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster authors claim the company is also limiting their display space and  in-store book tour appearances.

Why Barnes and Noble is allegedly doing this is still unclear, as Leslie Kaufman explains.

While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.

Whatever the reason, authors under the Simon & Schuster umbrella claim their sales are hurting, particularly lesser-known authors. And until an agreement is reached, it doesn’t look like this will stop any time soon.

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B&N Closing More Stores, Giving Away Nooks

Disappointing sales and the fall of the bookstore are contributing to the closure of more Barnes and Noble locations. And this week in particular, there are signs that Barnes and Noble is perhaps doing even worse than we thought.

According to this blog post from Melville House Books, sales from this past holiday season absolutely plummeted — an 11% decrease in store sales and a 12.6% decline in Nook sales. Ultimately, hundreds of Barnes and Noble stores closed across the country throughout the holiday season. Most frightening about these closures is that most of them happened in large cities, like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

And yet, it gets worse. According to Huffington Post, this week through March 30th, the chain store is giving away the Nook Simple Touch for free with every purchase of the Nook HD+, reporting that its Nook business saw a steep 26% decline in sales in its holiday quarter.

Apparently, as color tablets rise in popularity, the desire for a Nook Simple Touch (a black-and-white standard e-reader) has diminished.

So what does this all mean for Barnes and Noble? One thing’s for sure. It doesn’t look good.

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Amazon, B&N Notify Customers About E-Book Settlement Refunds

It’s been months since the e-book pricing lawsuit began. Now that some parties have reached a settlement agreement, people are starting to receive emails from Amazon and Barnes & Noble about receiving e-book refunds.

According to The Telegraph, Amazon was first to send out the emails, explaining that those who purchased e-books that appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List between April 2010 and May 2012 from the web site would receive $1.32 per book. Non-bestsellers would be worth 30 cents in refunds. The refunds aren’t expected to come in until early 2013.

I personally received a similar email from Barnes & Noble about the refunds. Here’s an excerpt:

Although we are required to notify you now of the settlements, there is nothing you need to do to receive the credits as you will receive them automatically in the form of an electronic gift certificate sent via email. Once the settlements’ claim period ends, the Attorneys General will calculate the amount of your credits. If the Court gives final approval to the settlements, we expect to be able to send you your gift certificate in the first half of 2013.

Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will be compensating for the refunds, since they agreed to the settlement. Penguin Group, Macmillan, and Apple will be taken to court.

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