Notes: Warm January Sales; Book Sense Picks
Aided by warm weather, gift card redemptions and an upswing in consumer confidence,
general retailers fared better in January than expected. Discounters
did particularly well, but some department stores also had a happy
January, and in most cases, results beat Wall Street expectations.
Goldman Sachs estimated that same-store sales were up 5% industrywide. Retail Metrics pegged the number at 4.8%.
Sales at Wal-Mart stores open at least a year rose 4.7%, the company's biggest
monthly gain since May 2004. Costco rose 9%, Target was up 5.2%, Kohl's
rose 2%. Among department stores, Nordstrom was up 6%, J.C. Penney rose 2.5%, Federated rose 1%.
The rent party held for the Bookstore on West 25th, Cleveland, Ohio, on
January 21 raised nearly $4,000, enough for owner Mike O'Brien to catch
up on "his rent, utilities and back taxes" to the IRS, the Cleveland Plain Dealer
reported. "We're not totally out of debt," he told the paper. "But, isn't it un-American to be totally out of debt?"
O'Brien added that he needs "to use the Internet more aggressively to
sell his books and find a way to work with other area independent
used-books stores to share inventory and grow together."
Book Sense's March picks and notable titles have been announced. Go to Book Sense's Web site
for the full list.
The Community Recorder
offered a brief Q&A with Peter Moore, co-owner of the Blue Marble Children's Bookstore in Fort Thomas, Ky.
In June 2007, Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in Lahaina,
Hawaii, on Maui, at the future Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center at
Honoapiilani Highway and Keawe Street. The new store will have the
usual nearly 200,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles.
Effective immediately, Chronicle Books will market and distribute U.K.
publisher Laurence King Publishing Ltd. titles in the U.S. and Canada.
The first Laurence King Publishing list will begin shipping in the fall.
Founded in 1991, Laurence King publishes books on art, architecture,
design, graphic design, interior design, film, photography, the
decorative arts and fashion. It is also a major packager and publisher
of design and architecture titles. The company grew out of Calmann and
King Ltd., a book packager. This is the house's first venture
publishing directly to North America.
Among titles on the first Laurence King Publishing list here:
1000 New Designs and Where to Find Them
C/ID: Visual Identity and Branding for the Arts
Guerrilla Advertising: Unconventional Brand Communication
Motion Blur: Graphic Moving Imagemakers
Business Cards 2: More Ways of Saying Hello
Picture Book: Contemporary Illustration
VJ: Audio-Visual Art and VJ Culture
300% Cotton: T-Shirt Graphics
Look at This: Contemporary Brochures, Catalogues and Documents
Motion by Design
Amazon Sales Up, Profits Down; Shares Fall
Net sales at Amazon.com rose 17% to $2.98 billion in the fourth quarter
ended December 31 and net income fell 42.7% to $199 million. (Without unfavorable exchange rates of $121 million,
net sales would have grown 22%.) The
company predicted first quarter 2006 sales will rise between 13% and
20% and full year sales will rise between 16% and 23%. Wall Street was
disappointed: shares of Amazon dropped nearly 9% to below $40 a share
in unusually high-volume aftermarket trading.
Martin Pyykkonen of Hoefer & Arnett told Reuters that revenue
growth appears to be slowing. "I'd say it's disappointing because it's
continuing to show a revenue deceleration in terms of the 2006
In addition, analysts are concerned that the Amazon Prime shipping
program, offering unlimited two-day shipping for $79 annually, and free
shipping on orders above $25 (together estimated to cost $475 million in 2005) as well as
other investments are eroding operating margins. At the same time,
Amazon faces more competition in online retailing.
"Investing in their business in order to put in place an infrastructure
of the Amazon of tomorrow is becoming, increasingly, an expensive
proposition," David Garrity with Investec told the AP.
For the full year, net sales grew 23% to $8.49 billion, and net income was $359 million, down 38.9%.
Among facts offered by Amazon: sales at the company's U.S. and Canadian
sites rose 21% to $1.68 billion in the fourth quarter. The rest of the
company accounted for 45% of worldwide net sales. In addition, North
American sales at what the company calls the media division--including
books, music and video--topped $1 billion for the first time in a
Indigo Results Up; Opens First Superstores Since 2001
In the third quarter ended December 31, sales at Indigo Books &
Music, Canada's largest bookseller, rose 8% to $309.5 million (about
US$270.2 million), and net earnings rose 16% to $39.8 million (about
$34.7 million). Sales at superstores open at least a year rose 11.7%
while sales at small-format stores rose 5.5%.
CEO Heather Reisman said that the results "confirmed that we are
benefiting, on an ongoing basis, from the investments we have made over
the last three years in all areas of the business. The SAP inventory
management system, the new point-of-sale systems, the Indigo irewards
Loyalty Program and the increased focus on customer service,
merchandising and leadership development are all bearing fruit."
At chapters.indigo.ca, the company's online division, sales in the
third quarter rose 14.7% to $24.3 million (about $21.2 million).
Indigo also marked a milestone: in the third quarter, it opened its
first superstores since Indigo merged with Chapters in 2001. The new
stores are in Ottawa and Windsor, Ont. In the second quarter, Indigo
closed two underperforming stores.
Media Heat: Sarah Vowell Late; Esera Tuaolo Not Alone
Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Con Coughlin
, author of American Ally:
Tony Blair and the War on Terror
(Ecco, $26.95, 0060731265).
Today on the View: Dr. Jeanine Downie
, co-author of Beautiful Skin of Color
(Regan, $14.95, 0060521554).
Today on All Things Considered: John Nielsen
, author of Condor: To the
Brink and Back: The Life and Times of One Giant Bird
Tonight on Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Sarah Vowell
, author of
(S&S, $14, 074326004X), now out in paperback.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Weekend Edition Sunday stars Esera Tuaolo
, author of Alone in the
Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL
$24.95), which comes out a week from today, Friday, February 10.
Yesterday on Fresh Air:
- Dr. Marc K. Siegel, author of the new book, Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic (Wiley, $12.95, 0470038640).
- John Tayman, author of The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai (Scribner, $27.50, 074323300X).
Yesterday Talk of the Nation profiled Victoria Houston
, whose new novel, Dead Boogie: A Loon Lake Fishing Mystery
(Berkley, $6.99, 0425208958), appears next month.
Winter Institute Continued: Buy Local Campaigns
Three booksellers who are involved in somewhat different buy local
campaigns outlined their benefits and how they operate during a session
on the subject held last week at the ABA's Winter Institute.
Betsy Burton of the King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah,
emphasized that such programs can be a boon to individual stores,
"especially if you're at the heart of the campaign," as she has been
with last November's Buy Local First Utah week. The effect on business
was striking: in November, sales at the King's English rose 20%;
December was up the same amount. She attributed most of the increase to
the buy local events. "It's hard to imagine any combination of authors
or campaigns that would do that short of murdering a partner or blowing
up a B&N," she said.
A key benefit of the program was "lots of great publicity," she said.
Media interest kept on "for months." She stressed that "in 29 years in
existence, this was the single-most powerful thing we've done PR-wise."
(For more on the Week that was, see Shelf Awareness, December 13.)
Burton called Buy Local First Utah an "easy campaign" to launch. "The
ABA is collecting this material on its Web site so you don't need to
reinvent the wheel," she added.
Still, buy local programs "have to start and stay local," Burton
continued. "By their very nature, they are from the bottom up and
quirky," reflecting the community. "Keep Austin Weird would not fly in
Utah," she laughed. "Buy Local First Utah is perfect for conservative
Utah but probably wouldn't work in Austin."
Among key elements of the Buy Local First Utah campaign were press
conferences and the screening of the movie Independent America, which
she called more effective for the purposes of the campaign than, for
example, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.
"The climate is right" for buy local campaigns, Burton continued. "The
public is receptive. They're tired of strip malls and Wal-Marts." She
added that "hundreds" of such campaigns could be launched now, "and
bookstores across the country can be branded as the center of the
Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., has been involved in a local
organization called Sustainable Connections since its founding about
four years ago, according to co-owner Dee Robinson. Sustainable
Connections began with a focus on green building, food and farming and
only later added the "think-buy-be local" part that most interested
Village Books. Because Village Books has been an "early and sustaining"
member of Sustainable Connections, "our name is on everything they do,"
Robinson said, which has resulted in "wonderful publicity."
Although Sustainable Connections supports the buy local week in
November, it issues marketing material throughout the year. For
example, the organization has campaigns centering on Valentine's Day
("be a local lover"), St. Patrick's Day and other occasions. The
organization also publishes a coupon book, which Robinson called "our
bestselling book the last two years," which Village Books buys for $10
and sells for $10. "Members have coupons in it for free," Robinson
said. "It's a wonderful marketing and educational tool."
Robinson emphasized that it is important for booksellers "to put our
money where our mouth is" and buy from locally owned businesses. "Do we
buy from brand X or from the coffee roaster down the street?" she
asked. "Do we buy office supplies from Office Depot or Griggs, the
local stationery and printing store?"
Like Burton, Robinson said that "the public is receptive. The mindset
has changed over the years, and now they get it. They understand why
buying local is important."
Carla Jimenez of Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla., is part of the Tampa
Independent Business Alliance, which stages Shop Independents Week the
week of July Fourth and a November buy local event along the
model endorsed by America Unchained. The group is associated with the
American Independent Business Alliance, which includes the well-known
Boulder Independent Business Alliance.
"My message," Jimenez said, "is that you can [stage a buy local event] even
if it's simple and small. You can make an impact." When her group
started in 2000, it pooled gift certificates, asking each business to
contribute a minimum of $50 worth of them. "We would mix with
other stores' gift certificates and have drawings in stores," she said.
As a result, the campaign garnered "front page coverage" in the two
major Bay newspapers and on local TV.
The Tampa Independent Business Alliance now has more than 100 member
businesses--and "some growing pains," Jimenez said. Most important, it
has needed to find "experts to do things" such as design marketing
campaigns and handle the Web site. The group has also partnered with
other groups to hold fundraisers, including outdoor jazz concerts and
more gift certificate drawings.
Alliance activities have drawn the kind of exposure "we couldn't have
paid for in a million years," Jimenez said. "Having our name out there
over and over is so big." During the buy local weeks, there are live
broadcasts from independent businesses. And now business reporters
"refer to us in their columns generally." She noted, too, that Alliance
members sell to each other. Some restaurants, for example, give Book
Sense gift cards to staff for holiday bonuses.
The Book Sense/PNBA List
The following are the bestselling titles at Pacific Northwest
Booksellers Association stores during the week ended Sunday, January
29, as reported to Book Sense:
1. Cell by Stephen King (Scribner, $26.95, 0743292332)
2. Memory in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153284)
3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Doubleday, $24.95, 0385504209)
4. The Lighthouse by P.D. James (Knopf, $25.95, 030726291X)
5. Arthur & George by Julian Barnes (Knopf, $24.95, 030726310X)
6. Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris (Morrow, $24.95, 0060559144)
7. The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun (Putnam, $23.95, 0399153071)
8. Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan (Putnam, $26.95, 0399153012)
9. Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Knopf, $20, 140004460X)
10. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (Spectra, $28, 0553801503)
11. Blindfold Game by Dana Stabenow (St. Martin's, $23.95, 031234323X)
12. All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153055)
13. Christ the Lord by Anne Rice (Knopf, $25.95, 0375412018)
14. Purity of Blood by Arturo Perez-Reverte (Putnam, $23.95, 0399153209)
15. The Sea by John Banville (Knopf, $23, 0307263118)
1. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089)
2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23.95, 140004314X)
3. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $27.50, 0374292884)
4. Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter (S&S, $25, 0743284577)
5. State of War by James Risen (Free Press, $26, 0743270665)
6. Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent (Viking, $24.95, 0670034665)
7. A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Seven Stories, $23.95, 158322713X)
8. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95, 0316172324)
9. You're Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen (Random House, $24.95, 1400062586)
10. The Elements of Style Illustrated by William Strunk et al. (Penguin Press, $24.95, 1594200696)
11. Dave Barry's Money Secrets by Dave Barry (Crown, $24.95, 1400047587)
12. My Friend Leonard by James Frey (Riverhead, $24.95, 1573223158)
13. Bad Childhood--Good Life by Dr. Laura Schlessinger (HarperCollins, $24.95, 006057786X)
14. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
15. The Silver Spoon (Phaidon, $39.95, 0714845310)
Trade Paperback Fiction
1. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14, 031242440X)
2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
3. Close Range by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $14, 0684852225)
4. Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (Grove, $13, 0802142109)
5. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (Ballantine, $14.95, 0449004139)
6. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $9.95, 0743271327)
7. The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad, $13.95, 0060557559)
8. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $14.95, 1400079276)
9. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (Back Bay, $13.95, 0316010707)
10. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin, $15, 0143034901)
11. Wicked by Gregory Maguire (Regan Books, $15, 0060987103)
12. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Harvest, $14, 015602943X)
13. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Vintage, $14.95, 0307275167)
14. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12.95, 1400032717)
15. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, $13.95, 081297235X)
Trade Paperback Nonfiction
1. Night by Elie Weisel (FSG, $9, 0374500010)
2. Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17, 0143036556)
3. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (Anchor, $14.95, 0307276902)
4. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (Plume, $15, 0452287081)
5. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
6. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (Random House, $14.95, 0812973011)
7. Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (Harvest, $15, 0156031442)
8. The End of Faith by Sam Harris (Norton, $13.95, 0393327655)
9. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (Norton, $16.95, 0393317552)
10. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Vintage, $14, 0679745580)
11. Bad Dog by R.D. Rosen et al. (Workman, $9.95, 0761139834)
12. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Amber-Allen, $12.95, 1878424319)
13. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Scribner, $14, 074324754X)
14. Bad Cat by Jim Edgar (Workman, $9.95, 0761136193)
15. The Great Influenza by John M. Barry (Penguin, $16, 0143036491)
1. Night by Elie Wiesel (Bantam, $5.99, 0553272535)
2. The Broker by John Grisham (Dell, $7.99, 0440241588)
3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Vintage, $7.99, 1400096898)
4. Edge of Evil by J.A. Jance (Avon, $7.99, 0060828412)
5. The Cat Who Went Bananas by Lilian Jackson Braun (Jove, $7.99, 0515139785)
6. State of Fear by Michael Crichton (Avon, $7.99, 0061015733)
7. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket, $7.99, 0671027360)
8. Chainfire by Terry Goodkind (Tor, $7.99, 0765344319)
9. By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin (Jove, $7.99, 0515139777)
10. The Motive by John Lescroart (Signet, $7.99, 0451215729)
Children's (Fiction and Illustrated)
1. Small Steps by Louis Sachar (Delacorte, $16.95, 0385733143)
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (children's movie tie-in edition) by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0060765461)
3. Ptolemy's Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 3) by Jonathan Stroud (Miramax Books, $17.95, 0786818611)
4. Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $21, 037582670X)
5. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $9.95, 0375826696)
6. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (Random House, $4.99, 0375822747)
7. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Chicken House, $7.99, 0439709105)
8. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0694003611)
9. The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) by Lemony
Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist (HarperCollins, $11.99,
10. Napoleon Dynamite by Roger Price and Leonard Stern (Price Stern Sloan, $3.99, 0843120118)
11. Dawn (Warriors: The New Prophecy #3) by Erin W. Hunter (HarperCollins, $15.99, 0060744553)
12. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (Knopf, $15.95, 0375831436)
13. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke (Chicken House, $19.99, 0439554004)
14. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (Putnam, $7.99, 0399230033)
15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $29.99, 0439784549)
[Many thanks to Book Sense and PNBA!]