Why Powell’s Bookstore Will Outlive the Kindle (Condé Nast Traveler)
About half of the books on Powell’s shelves are used, most in very good condition. Loading up on used volumes with friendly prices, then struggling home with a weighty book-filled suitcase, has become somewhat of a tradition for Portland visitors. In an era where many readers have a Kindle or Nook on the nightstand, Powell’s is proof that readers still yearn on some level for what [Powell’s CEO Miriam] Sontz calls “paper between boards.” The bookstore sees 8,000 visitors a day, she says, attending young adult story times and author events, purchasing paperbacks, or just plopping down in an aisle to read for a bit. “It’s all about growing a reading culture.”
The TeleRead Take: Seriously? Powell’s will “outlive the Kindle” because people are still buying paper books from it right now? Nothing in that provides any more reason Powell’s will outlast the Kindle than that the Kindle will outlast Powell’s. It’s nice to see the store continues to thrive (I actually visited it once myself, about 20 years ago when I was in Seattle and Portland) but it’s not evidence of anything, either—apart from that some people do still buy paper books, but we already knew that. But prognostication is tricky enough as it is if you’re even actually trying to do it.
6 Most Effective Ways to Increase Sales of Standalone Books (BookBub Insights)
If you love writing standalones or have a few on your backlist that need a boost, this post will outline what can you do to most effectively promote your book. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of every book marketing tactic available to you, these six techniques can make a big impact on your sales numbers.
The TeleRead Take: Given that I just wrote a standalone book, I was interested in this post. The first suggestion involves writing or having written other books that you can advertise your one standalone in, which isn’t going to work for me right now. But others, like concentrating on getting reviews, running price promotions, and promoting on social media are things that anyone can do.
Pantone’s “Minion Yellow” Isn’t Just Annoying, It’s Bad For Designers (Gizmodo)
Pantone is a system for identifying colors. It is a great tool because it serves as quality control for designers and manufacturers—no matter where or how something is produced, everyone can agree on what the colors should look like for the finished product. In addition to this service, Pantone offers consulting, licensing, forecasting, and, now, advertising for summer blockbusters.
The TeleRead Take: Gizmodo points out that, once a color has been associated with some business interest (as with the Minions), the owner of said interest often takes others to court for using it. Though more interesting to me within the story was the note that designers have to buy a new $155 color book every year because of fading, or else shell out for a $680 electronic device that can color-match particular surfaces. Sounds like e-books haven’t made everything cheaper yet…
Is free shipping killing Amazon’s profit? (News360)
To combat high costs while continuing to attract Prime members, [The Harvard Business Review] suggested slightly modifying the shipping offer. Offering just 15 free shipments a year for the current Prime rate of $99 a year and charging just $1 for additional shipments, plus adding a $149 a year unlimited-shipping option would minimize the risks of overuse.
The TeleRead Take: The Harvard Business Review claims Amazon loses up to $2 billion per year on its free shipping via Amazon Prime. That may very well be true—but on the other hand, how much does it gain from people attracted to Prime for that free shipping, and thus inclined to order more than they otherwise would have? That’s not the kind of thing that’s quite so easy to estimate. I’m not sure that kind of nickel-and-diming would be a good idea. For that matter, I’m not even sure that I order more than 15 items per year regardless, but that probably means I’m not one of those who is part of the problem anyway.
How do I get into comics? (The Verge)
I’m a total comics virgin, never read one before, don’t know anything about the characters bar stuff I’ve seen on web articles about them etc.
So where’s a good place to start? I’m in the UK by the way, and would like to buy them from there, not import stuff from the US if possible.
The TeleRead Take: Ah, the age-old question. A question is all the article is, in fact, though it has quite a discussion thread following as people give their advice. A number of them recommend going digital and subscribing to some kind of subscription service like Marvel Unlimited—or the less-licit route of downloading CBR and CBZ files from “various places.” I never really got into comics when I was younger because they cost so much for so little story each and you had to keep buying and buying them—kind of the literary equivalent of packs of cigarettes. But there are so many better options these days.
Regarding comics – Humble Bundle periodically does comic bundles and you can get vast quantities of these things for very little money. The current “Tales of India” bundle has about 30 books in it and you get access to them all for $15. Not “UK vendor” per se, but when we’re talking about digital content, national borders start to fade away.
Regarding Powell’s – I used to buy from them now and then, but when they quit selling ebooks I stopped…Truly now is a golden age for used paper books, as masses of them become available when people convert to digital, but my guess is that the supply will shrink over time and the price of used paper books will go up. Then they will become less attractive, and the old-line used bookstores will struggle. It may be years to come, though.
Read the reviews of any used bookstore on Yelp and you’ll notice an interesting pattern. People like the bookstore, and especially like the used book prices, but there will be a number of 1 star reviews from people who have tried to SELL their books to the store and received pretty much nothing for them. Down in the trenches paper book consumers are realizing that paper books hold no value. That brand-new lightly-read hardcover is hardly worth anything at resale. As people internalize that lesson they’re going to be less and less likely to shell out for those hardcovers.
Used book stores have never paid much when they bought books. The used fiction bookstore I used didn’t even pay cash. You got cover price “credit” that could be used when buying other used books in the same genre. Bring in a $2 book, and take out a $2 book and only have to pay half the cover price in cash.
I love Powell’s. Every year or so I scheduled a long weekend in Portland so I can go browse the store. A few hours required: minimum.
I don’t know whether to laugh or weep at the advice given to increasing sales for stand alones. I get this image of an author in an overcoat accosting readers: Pssst…want to try my stand alone?