Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Books and the Bookstore

In her blog entry “I Wonder…”, MJ Rose mentioned the online transcript of Barnes & Noble’s second quarter earnings conference. Even if you don’t understand all the “talk” about authorizations, gross margins, derivative complaints, and traffic vs. ticket, it’s still an interesting read.

You can learn not only what the bigwigs at B&N told the shareholders concerning the financial well-being of the company, you can see:

*the books and authors they’re expecting to be big sellers in the near future

*the names they see as “brand names”

*who’s coming out with cookbooks, memoirs and biographies

*the two books coming out that are getting a lot of buzz

*the big name fiction author coming out with a non-fiction that is “one of the most eagerly-awaited books we have seen in a very long time”

*what they think about competition from Borders and Amazon.

One paragraph I found really interesting concerns Kim Edwards’ novel The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. They say it’s the fastest-selling trade paperback in B&N history. That’s not really what I found intriguing. What caught my attention is: “I will mention that there was one notable bright spot in the quarter and it’s due to some extraordinary of steps we took to promote a single book.”

Steve Riggio doesn’t go into any more explanation – this is a shareholder’s meeting after all – but wouldn’t it be interesting to know what extraordinary steps they took to promote the book? What did they do to support “this title very strongly on its publication”?

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