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November 25, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid becomes 2011’s fastest seller

Filed under: Retail — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:49 am

Diary of a Wimpy Kid follows Greg Heffley as he tries to fit in at school

The latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel has become the fastest-selling novel of 2011 so far, according to new figures.

Cabin Fever, the sixth book in the series by US author Jeff Kinney, sold 81,656 copies in its first four days.

Kinney’s previous weekly sales personal best was 30,312, set by fifth book The Ugly Truth, in November last year.

Cabin Fever follows middle school child Greg Heffley as he attempts to fit in at school and deal with his brothers Manny and Rodrick.

It is publisher Puffin’s biggest weekly sale since BookScan records began in 1998, while the book’s 500,000-copy initial print run is the largest in the publisher’s history.

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November 22, 2011

French trade revolt over VAT

Filed under: Retail — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 2:53 pm


| By Barbara Casassus

The French book trade has reacted badly to the government’s decision to raise the reduced VAT rate on books from 5.5% to 7% on 1st January as part of a financial package to help shrink France’s mushrooming public deficit.

The French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition, SNE) and the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française, SLF) condemned the move, as did several members of parliament and the opposition Socialist party. The party warned the book sector was in imminent danger with “little hope” for publishers and independent booksellers. It said the budget-saving measure was ridiculous.

The SNE said it regretted the absence of consultation over the move while the SLF warned that it could cut average net profits from 0.3% of sales to 0.2% and lead to the closure of hundreds of bookshops. Alexandre Bompard, c.e.o. of French cultural products chain FNAC, was reported as saying that the increase threatened the fragile book sector, which was already under pressure.

He was backed by the Syndicat des Disributors de Loisirs Culturels (SDLC), which comprises Decitre, FNAC, Cultura, Le Furet du Nord and Virgin Stores. The rise would “generate large losses” on stocks acquired with 5.5% VAT, and “create insurmountable problems” in a market where prices are printed on books, he said. Already the decline in sales of books by bricks and mortar stores this year is undermining chains, which are having to absorb higher overheads, it added.

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November 9, 2011

Cut GST from local books, Government advised

Filed under: Retail — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:43 pm

THE Government has been advised to use the GST as a way of supporting the Australian book industry.

Books bought locally could be exempt from the 10 per cent tax, while those bought online from overseas could be slugged with the impost, the Book Industry Strategy Group says.

The recommendation was one of 21 presented to the Government by the group today.

It also recommended the Government renegotiate postal treaties that now place Australia at a severe disadvantage.

Group chairman Barry Jones used the example of a 10kg parcel of books sent by airmail from the UK that cost $42.60 in postage.

Sending the same parcel from Australia to the UK would cost $237.50.

The group, established by Innovation Minister Kim Carr, was asked to review and assess the impacts of digitisation on the whole book supply chain. more

November 6, 2011

Inside Books: The bother of embargoes

Terry Pratchett

By Emily Rhodes

Last week there were a few bookish grunts of dissatisfaction when Terry Pratchett beat Martina Cole to the Number One slot.

Pratchett’s Snuff sold 31,904 copies and Cole’s The Faithless only 31,136, yet there were cries of foul play. This was because some bookshops had broken the embargo on Cole’s book and sold it the week before publication. The feeling was that if only those bookshops had played by the rules and held off, then the previous week’s sales of 1,473 would have been added to the 31,000 and Cole would have beaten Pratchett to the top. (The fact that this was, in any case, the second week for Snuff – with staggering first week sales of 54,687 – is apparently beside the point.)

At first glance, one can see why Cole and her publisher Headline were miffed. Publishing a major title, with huge marketing and advance investment, only to be pipped to the post by Pratchett must be irksome to say the least. And knowing that they could have won, if only a few naughty booksellers hadn’t sold copies ahead of publication date, must make it all the more galling.

But, on closer inspection, what is there really to be so sniffy about? It’s not as though those 1,473 copies don’t count. Headline and Martina Cole still get their respective shares of sales revenue. Moreover, as those copies were sold in bricks-and-mortar bookshops, rather than on Amazon, the share for the publishers would have been rather a lot bigger. Thanks very much for the extra cash, I’d say, who cares about Number One?

As a bookseller, I have never, ever, been asked which book is Number One. Some customers, of course, ask for the bestsellers, or for one particular book I’d recommend, but never for the national Number One. It’s not like music’s singles chart – after all, no one tunes in to the radio on Sunday night to listen to the countdown for books. They can read it in The Sunday Times but that’s more-or-less it. (Incidentally, chart positions inside bookshops tend to reflect nothing more than publishers’ marketing budgets.)

Really, the only people who care about whether or not a book is officially Number One are the publishers. When I worked for a big publishing house, if a book from our division reached the top, an excited email was sent around announcing champagne in the breakout area at 5pm. For the abysmally-poorly-paid underlings such as myself, this was one of the most glamorous moments of the job. Champagne! And some – invariably beige – snacks. (Sadly, as the recession hit, the champagne changed to wine and beer, and the snacks to crisps. Eventually the drinks disappeared altogether, and we were left with nothing more than a celebratory email.)

In the battle of Pratchett vs. Cole, the publishers are none other than Doubleday and Headline, divisions of Random House and Hachette respectively. These are the biggest fishes in the publishing pond. more

November 4, 2011

Pratchett’s Snuff snaffles top spot with ease

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| By Philip Stone

Terry Pratchett’s Snuff (Doubleday) has become one of the fastest-selling novels since records began, shifting 54,687 copies at UK book retail outlets in its three days on sale last week.

Helped by extensive pre-orders and a £5 deal at Tesco, Pratchett’s 39th Discworld novel has the biggest opening week sale from a hardback adult-audience novel since Transworld stablemate Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (Bantam Press) in 2009. Along with Brown, only one other novel has sold more copies in its first week on shelves since records began: Thomas Harris’ Hannibal (Heinemann) sold 58,300 copies in four days after its release in June 1999.

Transworld managing director Larry Finlay said: “[Pratchett] is now firmly established as one of the nation’s most important and widely read authors, with so much to say about the world in which we live. I couldn’t be more delighted that with Snuff, Terry now joins a very select band of record-breakers.”

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November 3, 2011

Australian competition body backs TBD takeover

The Book Depository

| By Graeme Neill

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has joined the UK’s Office of Fair Trading in giving the go-ahead to Amazon’s acquisition of The Book Depository.

In its ruling, it said “the proposed acquisition was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market”. It argued the merged firm would continue to face competition from Australian and overseas-based retailers.

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Jobs biography tops bestseller lists

Filed under: Retail — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:10 am


Steve Jobs

|By Philip Stone

Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs has become one of the fastest-selling hardback non-fiction books since records began.

Brought forward from its original publication date of 24th November following the Apple co-founder’s death on 5th October, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography (Little, Brown) sold 37,645 copies in its first week on bookshop shelves. Only four hardback biographies/memoirs have sold more in their opening week since Nielsen BookScan records began in 1998.

The biography comfortably tops this week’s Official UK Top 50, ahead of Guinness World Records and James Patterson and Howard Roughan’s Don’t Blink (Arrow), which sold 21,643 copies and 20,242 copies respectively.

More than 50 hardback novels officially hit bookshop shelves last week, with five of them earning a place in this week’s Official UK Top 50 on part-week sales alone. John Grisham’s latest thriller, The Litigators, was the pick of the bunch. The book, his first adult novel published by Hodder following his switch from Cornerstone earlier this year, sold 12,962 copies in its first five days on sale last week, and takes eighth place in this week’s Official UK Top 50.

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September 30, 2011

Don’t write off physical too early, trade warned

    30.09.11 | Graeme Neill

Publishers should not be too quick to write off physical products and should encourage competition between a number of digital players to avoid the mistakes the record industry made, the director general of the Entertainment Retailers Association has said.

Kim Bayley gave a presentation to more than 100 indies at the Booksellers Association’s Independent Booksellers Forum conference in Coventry on Monday (26th September) and discussed the Record Store Day initiative. Record companies provide independent stores with exclusive products, mostly vinyl albums and singles, created especially for the day. It is now in its third year, and 180 stores took part in 2011.

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September 24, 2011

2011 Man Booker shortlist most popular ever

Filed under: Retail — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:39 am

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| Philip Stone

Sales of the six novels in contention for the 2011 Man Booker Prize have totalled 37,500 copies across all print editions since the shortlist was announced, making it the most popular Booker shortlist since records began.

Sales of the novels are up 127% year-on-year and up 105% on the previous record (2009), and have been helped by the fact that, unusually, two of this year’s six nominated novels (A D Miller’s Snowdrops and Carol Birch’s Jamrach’s Menagerie) are already available to buy in a mass-market format.

In addition, with the most expensive shortlisted titles costing just £12.99, all six novels can currently be purchased at UK booksellers for a total of £65.94—down 36% (or £37) on 2010’s selections.

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September 17, 2011

Retailers hail strong and open Christmas

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 | By Charlotte Williams and Lisa Campbell

Comic actor James Corden, star chef Jamie Oliver and actress Joanna Lumley are among the most hotly tipped authors for Christmas 2011, with retailers looking to capitalise on one of the strongest selections of titles for years, and a “really open” market.

Corden’s autobiography, May I Have Your Attention Please? (Century), Oliver’s cookbook, Jamie’s Great Britain (Penguin), and Lumley’s memoir, Absolutely (W&N), were each chosen by three of the leading retailers and wholesalers as Christmas bestsellers.

Comedians Lee Evans and Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge, fiction stalwarts Cecilia Ahern and Terry Pratchett, and literary stars Haruki Marukami, Carol Ann Duffy and Jeffrey Eugenides were tipped by two retailers, out of the six polled, indicating a strong selection of titles across a variety of genres.

A spokesman at Waterstone’s—heading for its first Christmas under new m.d. James Daunt—said: “The selection of titles is one of the strongest we have seen in years. There are some incredibly big celebrity titles and some quality writing across fiction, children’s, cookery and biography.”

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