The eBooks of Sue Grafton’s earlier alphabet series (Penguin or Random House published everything after P) are now available to the library market thanks to a recent decision by Macmillan to expand its available catalog to include the Holt and Metropolitan imprints. This is just for starters. There are a lot of other great books that no doubt will soon be requested.


"B" is for burglar "C" is for corpse


PW’s newsletter published an article Friday whose title “Is Amazon Really the Devil,” sounds like something from the Onion but actually makes solid points in the discussion about Amazon’s pricing dispute with Hachette.  One notable point is about royalties and Amazon’s ability to open the market to self-published works of true interest to the public:

While showing no support for Amazon position, [Author's Guild President Roxanna] Robinson acknowledged that authors don’t completely support the Big Five publishers, which have refused to raise the e-book royalty rate of 25%, which is generally considered too low for a format that has low production costs. “The [author-publisher] partnership based on mutual cooperation and shared success that was traditionally part of the publishing world is being lost,” she said. “Publishers used to split their profits with authors, after accounting for the costs of production, 50/50. Now [publishers] are treating authors as hostile opponents. It’s not a good economic model, and it’s not a way in which anyone prospers or makes money. It doesn’t bode well for the future of publishing either.

Considering these numbers it is no wonder that some writing talent will be attracted to self-publication, especially in the eBook arena.  The problem is that the universe of self-published titles is so large and until now has had fewer traditional quality filters (professional reviewing, publisher endorsement) that would help us identify easily which self-published titles are really going to appeal to our public.

Jim McCluskey just pointed out to me that this year OverDrive and Smashwords agreed to release bestselling self-published lists to libraries in OverDrive’s Global Network. Deals like that may help us get a sense of what’s viable and valuable in this new reading market.



OverDrive has just announced that as of May 8th, the entire digital catalog of Hachette titles will be available for public libraries to buy.  The model will be one “copy”/one user with no special restrictions.   That means there will be no metering or expiration to access.  Thanks to Jim for forwarding the official news release from OverDrive.  

According to Publisher’s Weekly, 3M will also have access to the catalog, but they have not yet confirmed this with us.

Hachette is the parent publisher of Little, Brown and Company and Grand Central Publishing, so this is thrilling news indeed.

Alex Cross, run    The forgotten      Robert Ludlum's The Bourne objective    Where'd you go, Bernadette : a novel   The casual vacancy

Arthur Frommer gets Frommer brand back from Google –

A follow-up to an earlier post: the founder of the Frommer’s brand has bought it back from Google so publication will resume. 


Here we go again.  Publisher Thomas Nelson, owned now by HarperCollins, has recalled all copies of The Jefferson Lies : Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson by David Barton, for inaccuracies and “misinterpretations.”  Here is the story from PW.

All copies have been made unholdable and non-floating. When they land at your branch, please send to Service Center and put in Review status.  Again emails will be going out to customers who were on the holds queue.  Fortunately, this time there were only five copies and 9 holds on one print edition. Again the PAC will show no available copies.


Thank you for your help!


Posted by Darren



“Music hit”

Is this terminology precise or puffery?

In the case of the cultural products we truck in – books, movies,  “albums” – it seems to be somewhere in between, an honest measurement that can nonetheless measure many different things.  It’s just important to keep in mind the listing source and the criteria it uses when comparing apples and oranges.

Some sources that bestow bestsellerdom on books are the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today lists, among many others.  They all have their own criteria and methods for determining weekly sales ranks, the exact details of which are sometimes zealously kept secret (especially the NYT’s).  Some pull out age groups, formats, genre and fiction vs. non-fiction, where others (USA Today) tend to shuffle in most everything, which can be interesting.  Some survey retail outlets that are not primarily “bookstores” and some such as the American Booksellers Association’s survey only independent bookstores. ranks titles based on its own online sales.  A nice niche list I like to review occasionally is the CBA BSL, which surveys Christian bookstores and often explains holds queues for titles that aren’t otherwise on the radar.

For a more cumulative, forest-level view of book sales, consult the Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac, reservable from our Professional Collection.  Or if you’re willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars you can try Nielsen BookScan or Book Industry Study Group (BISG) reports for the most rigorous sales analysis money can buy.  Personally, I’ll stick to what’s freely available. 

 Posted by Darren

Magazine issues

May 8, 2012

The May 1 issue of Library Journal includes their annual review of the ten best magazines of the previous year.  Although there are some interesting titles, to me the best feature is the overview of the magazine publishing industry.  This information is timely:  we’re starting to work on the system’s magazine renewal for 2013 and considering the purchase of Zinio for the coming year.

I’ll head off the SINCs now:  appealing as the title is, we won’t be adding Toad Suck Review to the collection.

posted by Nancy

A big story right now in the publishing world is a threatened Justice Department lawsuit against Apple and five of the “big six” publishers (namely, Hachette, MacMillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and HarperCollins, with Random House not included).  This follows on a class action submitted by a Seattle law firm last year.  The allegation is price fixing through the adoption of the agency model for ebooks, whereby Apple or other distributors take a 30% cut and allow publishers to set retail prices, thereby undermining the wholesale discount pricing model favored by…Amazon for instance.   It is against the law for large providers to collude to keep prices artificially high for consumers.

In this case, though, the collusion could be defensive and prompted by competition from Amazon’s popular Kindle and Amazon’s claimed ability to price low enough to stifle competitors, which could also be a potentially illegal practice if it became “predatory pricing” (though that seems difficult to prove under US law).  The charge of predation comes periodically from booksellers, publishers, and others.

There is a lot of interesting dispute about pricing models and which help and hurt what suppliers and consumers.

Price-fixing versus cut rate prices from one aggressive vendor? For whom should consumers really root?  It may be a case of Mothra vs. Godzilla.  Take your pick.


Posted by Darren

Hey Sno-Isle Bookstore libraries (and all others):  if you haven’t linked to EarlyWord, you should.   The website publishes news for libraries about the publishing world with an emphasis on the Next Big Thing (well, Things).  EarlyWord scans the publishing world – and the media world – to help us stay on top of the titles our customers will be asking about.  If you’re stumped for display ideas, this website is a great resource.

Here’s an example:  a recent post discusses the renewed interest in Sherlock Holmes, which will heighten with the release of the second Robert Downey film (scheduled for theaters in mid-December).  In addition to titles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you can supplement a display with the list of Sherlock Holmes wannabe titles, like House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz.

Posted by Nancy

Print Plummeting?

September 13, 2011

Last night I did something almost unheard of these days:  I walked into an independent book store and bought a hardcover book at honest to goodness full retail price topped off with Washington sales tax and everything.  It has been a while, but this sanctimonious sucker feels good about supporting a quaint community bookstore with personally handwritten bookmarks on the shelves.  I don’t remember my last new book purchase before that (probably in an airport).   I have to admit I got into the habit of downloading new books on my phone courtesy of Amazon One Click whenever I found myself painfully low on a library queue.  (A quick check of OverDrive often pays, too, though.  This week I scored Caleb’s Crossing with no wait and it’s a great timekiller stand by).  Apparently I’m not alone in downloading the must have titles, and print sales are really sliding compared to ebooks.  It isn’t a gradual plane of descent either but a true plunge, 64% in June for trade paper!  This situation favors online retailers, naturally.  By the end of 2010, the store retailer’s share of the market had dropped to 40%, and I’m sure it will be much lower now after Border’s demise. But are consumers really in love with ebooks as such or is it just the current price difference?  We seem to experience stronger than ever demand for print books when the additional monetary cost is zero.    Hm.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers