Changing Landscape of Book Publishing [Economist]

 In some ways the transition from paper to digital distribution for book publishers and independent authors is a boon. It’s true that most e-books currently have high profit margins, and are free from many of the drawbacks of print. Peter Osnos, who is the founder of PublicAffairs Books, states that the biggest challenge small publishers face is managing their inventories. Print too many books, and lots of them will be returned by stores. Print too few and publishers will forgo sales while they order reprints (at higher prices). None of these problems exists when distributing books digitally.

READ MORE

The Littlest Library in the World – Coming to your Town?

Terry Sennett & Claudia Cooley in front of The Book Booth

Thanks to Joseph-Beth Bookstore in Lexington, KY for finding this story.

On September 3rd, “America’s littlest library” – a library based inside a British telephone booth – officially opened in Clinton Corners, NY. It’s 3’x3’x8’ and fits two people at a time, as long they don’t mind getting a little cozy.

The Huffington Post interviewed Claudia Cooley, who came up with the idea, via email about the workings of the littlest library, why it has no security, and their unconventional plans for Halloween.

READ MORE ON THIS INTERESTING CONCEPT!

Barnes & Noble losing less money

NEW YORK (AP) — Barnes & Noble Inc. said it narrowed its net loss in its fiscal first quarter as sales of its Nook e-book reader and e-books helped offset lower physical book sales.

The company also sounded a positive note about the holidays, saying that traffic will benefit from the fact that its chief rival, Borders Group, will be shuttered by then. Barnes & Noble shares rose nearly 15 percent, or $1.70, to close at $13.13.

“Investors are just feeling assured that Barnes & Noble isn’t following Borders’ downward spiral and the money they’re spending on the Nook … it’s paying off,” said Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris.

Traditional booksellers like Barnes & Noble are facing tough competition from online retailers and discount stores. But the company has invested heavily in its e-book reader to combat this, a strategy that seems to be gaining traction.

“In fiscal 2012, we expect to see leverage as our digital sales growth is projected to exceed the growth of investment spend,” said CEO William Lynch.

Barnes & Noble, which received a $204 million investment from former suitor Liberty Media in August, said its Nook business, including Nooks themselves, e-books and magazines and other digital content and accessories, rose 140 percent to $227 million during the quarter.

The largest U.S. traditional book retailer says its net loss was $56.6 million, or 99 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $62.5 million, or $1.12 per share, last year. Analysts expected a loss of 94 cents per share.

Revenue rose nearly 2 percent to $1.42 billion from $1.4 billion. Analysts expected $1.46 billion in revenue.

Revenue in stores open at least one year __ a key indicator of a retailer’s health __ fell 1.6 percent at regular stores and 1.8 percent at college bookstores. But revenue from the web site rose 37 percent, driven by sales of Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color and Nook Simple Touch Reader, as well as digital content.

Barnes & Noble says it expects to get a lift in sales of $150 million to $200 million after former rival Borders, which declared bankruptcy in February and said it would liquidate in July, completes liquidation sales and ends operations.

“We’re convinced this holiday will be the biggest traffic we’ve had in the stores over five years,” Lynch said in a call with analysts.

In fiscal 2012, the company expects a net loss of 10 cents to 50 cents per share on revenue of $7.4 billion. Analysts expect a net loss of 16 cents per share on revenue of $7.43 billion.

The New York company expects revenue from its Nook business to double in 2012, to $1.8 billion from $880 million.

Read While You Wait e-books

college courseThe online textbook vendor Chegg has launched a new “read while you wait” feature that gives its customers access to an ebook version of some books while the paper versions ship.

“Read while you wait” ebook access costs $1.99 and will be valid for seven days.

The short ebook pass is not available as a standalone product, which means it’s only available as an add-on to the price of a physical book.  LEARN MORE

Is Book Banning Dead?

Could Hitler still ban books today?Can you still ban a book circa 2011?

“In the small town of Republic, Missouri, they’ve banned Kurt Vonnegut’s classic “Slaughterhouse-Five” after a columnist included it in a group of “filthy books demeaning to Republic education.” It was stricken along with the dubious classics “Twenty Boy Summer” (I shouldn’t judge, I haven’t read them, but anything with the title “Twenty Boy Summer” doesn’t sound promising).”

Is this even possible in this day and age? READ MORE

With Creativity Bookstore in L.A. is Bucking the Odds

The Last Bookstore

Located on the ground floor of the Spring Arts Tower downtown, the Last Bookstore is a mix of old and new. It has pillars stretching 25 feet up to a painted, vaulted ceiling; underfoot are intermittent mosaics, all part of the former Citizens National Bank, which opened in its grand location in 1915. The light fixtures are new, created from bicycle wheels by Brad Goldhorn, and high on the south wall flows a sculpture made of wire and old paperbacks created by Mike Piscitello, a student at SCI-Arc.

Tucked under wheel-equipped bookshelves is a new, low stage where bands perform regularly. One of the 15 people who works for Spencer books bands; theater events are also coming up and, Spencer hopes, films. “My dream was to create one giant space where everything I thought was cool would be in one place,” he says. “Hopefully, other people will come in and share it with me.”

[GREAT STORY FROM L.A. TIMES]

Don’t Confuse Borders’ Bankruptcy with partner Kobo

kobo ereaderFrom a company statement: Kobo does not rely on Borders for content. Kobo owns the publishing agreements and has direct relationships with all major publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS), HarperCollins, St. Martin’s Press and many more.

Kobo is solely responsible for payment to publishers for eBooks sold through the Kobo platform and publishers will continue to be paid on time as usual. [READ MORE FROM KOBO]

Don’t Blame Borders’ Closing on e-books

Blame it on e-books?Borders been ailing for years-and shuttering stores along the way and its strategies for getting healthy usually seemed to make things worse. I mean it wasn’t until 2007 that it decided that it made sense to have its own Web site rather than to outsource online sales to archival Amazon.com.

While Borders was busy giving the Web and e-books short shrift , it was also doubling down on the notoriously tricky business of running brick-and-mortar superstores. Until late 2010, San Francisco had four Borders stores-three of which were within a mile and a half of each other. I’m no retailing genius, but I couldn’t figure out how… [READ THE PC WORLD STORY]

Empty Saratoga Springs Bookstore

Heading to Saratoga Springs, NY this summer for a little horse racing? A stop to browse at the local bookstore in the heart of town may not be in the cards, as that location is part of the Borders bankruptcy.

“It has nothing to do with Broadway in Saratoga,” said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “It has everything to do with the fact [that] bookstores are a dying breed, at least at that large-scale type of commercial operation.”

Shimkus and others said it will be a challenge to find other tenants, but the empty store won’t stop other investments downtown. [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]