Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sunday Notes for April 1, 2007

Ann and I played with the idea of pulling the old April Fools’ Day stunt and announcing something like “Destinations Booksellers is sorry to announce that it will cease retail operating hours effective today.”

Ha, ha! But honestly, New Albanians and all the rest of you in these environs have demonstrated clearly that you recognize the tangible and intangible benefits of having a full-service bookstore right here in Southern Indiana. Although March was predictably slow, there is no doubt that you appreciate the breadth of our inventory and our rapid delivery of out-of-stock merchandise. Thank you, one and all.


I’m certain that you pay far less attention to publishers than we do, but you might be interested to know that one of the larger publishers has disappeared, so to speak.

As usual, it’s the end result of a merger or acquisition. Europe’s Hachette Group pounced when the Time-Warner/AOL conglomerate began disaggregating, gobbling up the Warner Books brand. Part of the agreement required Hachette to give up the Warner brand at a date certain, and that date has arrived. Effective Friday, the new name for the concern is Grand Central Publishing.


Harry Potter fans can relax. The cover art for the U.S. editions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Year 7, by J.K. Rowling and due out on July 21 of this year, has been released, and you can see it here. For the first time, the artwork encompasses the full cover, front and back, which you can also see here.


Likely provocateurs for an in-demand publisher (often called a vanity press) have created a stir in the bookselling world. A fraudster has been calling around the country to order a book of short stories and leaving a false name and credit card number. Many stores, including quite a few chain stores, have fallen for the fraud.

The book is a collection of public-domain short stories from Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, etc., leavened with a few stories from unknown authors. That's certainly one way to sell the books, since the stores are unable to return the books and have no legitimate buyers. In case you wondered and want to avoid such illegitimate publishers, the company goes by "Author Identity Press."


According to Publishers Weekly, Indiana has 291 stores selling books, 142 of which are bookstores.

62 of them are members of the Christian Booksellers Association, while 45 are, like us, members of the American Booksellers Association, the organization that brings us the Book Sense Best Seller list and other great promotional opportunities.

There are 26 Borders/Waldenbooks and 14 Barnes & Noble stores. Of course, the PW survey doesn't take into account the Louisville and Chicago metropolitan markets, so Indiana is "served," if you want to call it that, by a few more stores than are reported. almost one-third of those 142 stores are in the Indianapolis market, but Indy has only one full-service independent general bookstore. Guess New Albany ain't doin' so bad, huh? Indy's Big Hat Books is about one-third the size of Destinations Booksellers.


Here's your link to the latest Book Sense Best Seller lists:


Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter continues to rule the paperback fiction list, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert tops the nonfiction paperback report.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult leads the hardcover fiction list and The Secret, edited by Rhonda Byrnes resides at the top of the nonfiction hardcover screen.

The top children's book is Christopher Paolini's Eldest. In picture books, Pirates Don't Change Diapers is at the top.

The April Book Sense picks and notables can be found here.

The number one book in the Louisville metro area during the latest reporting period (ending 3/24/07) is The Secret, according to BookScan.

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