B&N's Genius Café? Rumors of Apple's interest in buying Barnes & Noble may--or may not--be greatly exaggerated, depending upon which article, blog post or Twitter update you are reading at any given moment.
Yesterday, Investor Place suggested "there's a very good reason investors should be intrigued" by Boy Genius Report's post last Thursday, quoting an "unproven source" who said Apple "would purchase the company, incorporate its vast selection of electronic books into its own (struggling) e-book store for the iPhone and iPad, the iBookstore, and do away with Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader device. The company also would convert many of Barnes & Noble's 700-plus retail stores into Apple stores." The acquisition price tag mentioned was between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.
Investor Place cited several reasons why it might be a good move for Apple, including the fact that by "purchasing Barnes & Noble's Nook and online media distribution business, Apple would be able to match Amazon on every front. The company also would be able to diminish any momentum Amazon has with consumers later this year by applying its famous marketing savvy to the redefinition of Barnes & Noble." In addition, the deal would give Apple "direct access to the university bookstore business.... one of the most desirable consumer markets in the world."
But Time magazine's Techland blog offered an alternative view in a piece headlined "A Brief History of Apple Not Buying Other Companies," noting that the acquisition "would get Apple B&N's digital books and other publications (which it might conceivably want) and Nook hardware (which it surely doesn't), along with hundreds of retail outlets which it could either shutter or convert into Apple Stores. (Enormous Apple Stores! Usually located conveniently close to existing Apple Stores!)"
Techland's conclusion: "For years, Apple has confounded the rest of us by not buying things that it should clearly be buying. Not purchasing other well-known companies is so core to Apple's strategy that it must have a whole department devoted to non-mergers and un-acquisitions."
Half Price Books is encouraging former Borders employees to apply for bookseller jobs at the 113-store chain, which recently posted a notice on Help Ex-Borders Employees, a blog designed to assist unemployed Borders workers in their job hunt, Pegasus News reported.
Kristen Dickson, public relations specialist for Half Price Books, observed: "We would love to have anyone from Borders join our ranks."
"I think there is solidarity--real, good, warm, true solidarity--among people in the book business," said Chris Kubica, co-founder (with Colleen Lindsay) of Help Ex-Borders Employees.
Bill Getz of Publishers Group West has won the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association's 2011 Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year Award, which goes to the person who "best embodies the dedication, book knowledge and heart shown, by the late William Helmuth of BookTravelers fame." Getz receives the award at the NAIBA Awards Banquet, Tuesday, September 20, in Atlantic City, N.J.
Getz commented in part: "The Helmuth Award has special meaning because it comes from people I respect so much. After the down time between lists, the first sales call of the season is like a breath of fresh air; I can't imagine a better way to spend my time than in meeting with smart, knowledgeable book people and talking about what we love the most--books and the people who create them. With our strong community and a little luck, we should be able to keep doing this for many years to come. I thank you all so much for allowing me to be a part of this community and for thinking that I may have done a good job along the way."
Building strong community relationships is always mentioned by indie booksellers as a key ingredient to their success. In this spirit, we present--courtesy of Fast Company--"5 Things Lady Gaga Can Teach Marketers About Community Building," including:
- Target like-minded individuals.
- Be vulnerable.
- Treat the consumer like your boss.
- Create a collective experience.
- Become a better company through community.
Kids R E-books? The Boston Globe focused on "an emergent class of tech consumers that is being closely watched by the industry."
"This is a generation of kids that have learned to communicate, search and purchase on very small devices, like mobile phones," said analyst James McQuivey of Forrester Research. "This year is a guinea pig year, next year the move will be en masse." Forrester projects that 15.5 million e-readers will be sold this year, a 50% increase over 2010.
Seattle7Writers, the organizer of last year's six-day, 36-author writing marathon that resulted in the book Hotel Angeline, plans to break its own record. On Saturday, October 15, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 100 writers will gather in the Rainier Valley Cultural Center in Columbia City, Wash., to create a novel in just a single day. The event, called Write Here Write Now, will be followed by Up Late Reading, a performance art and author reading collaboration featuring actors and musicians. Admission price is one slightly used book or a monetary donation, which will be used to maintain Seattle7Writers' many "pocket libraries" in shelters for the homeless and abused. Erik Larson, Erica Bauermeister, Dave Boling, Nancy Rawles, Robert Dugoni, Maria Dahvana Headley and Laurie Frankel are among the confirmed contributors to this Guinness Records-worthy undertaking. More information at seattle7writers.org.
Indie businesses offer "a conversation, not just a click." Vidiots, a "scrappy" indie bricks-and-mortar video store company, is one of many surviving against all odds by "rethinking their business models. They are tapping into new revenue streams in ways that may seem quaint and old-fashioned, but that are proving to be culturally astute and financially viable," the New York Times reported.
"We felt that with Netflix and the Internet, what we should be focusing on was community and people talking to each other," said co-owner Patty Polinger. "We just wanted to go the other extreme and be more interpersonal." Thus far, the strategy has worked: "I felt like we were in freefall mode; I now feel we've stabilized."
Pollinger cited Facets Multi-Media in Chicago as an inspiration. Milos Stehlik, executive director of Facets, said consumers need "to have a choice, and the choice is in support of independent whatever--independent bookstore, independent grocery store, independent video store.... People make an effort to reach out to something real, so the one thing they appreciate here, is we are very knowledgeable. People who work in the video store are very knowledgeable about film. There's always a conversation, not just a click. Those kinds of real experiences, you can't really duplicate when you're getting a movie out of a vending machine."
Crime does pay in the Green Mountains. NPR's Morning Edition toured Brattleboro, Vt., with mystery author Archer Mayor, who has written two dozen novels featuring the town and police detective Joe Gunther.
Despite his "New England blue blood background, Mayor has had some grisly jobs. He works as a death examiner for the state's medical office and investigates child sex crimes for the local sheriff's department," NPR noted.
"I don't think I've met too many people like me," he said.
Book trailer of the day: Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder (St. Martin's Press).
The following changes have been made in the Simon & Schuster publicity department:
- Julia Prosser has been promoted to assistant director of publicity. She started at the company in 2003 as a publicity assistant and returns from maternity leave on October 3.
- Kelly Welsh has been promoted to senior publicity manager. She joined the department in 2004.
- Michelle Jasmine has been promoted to publicist. She was a marketing intern and joined the department in 2007 as an assistant.
- Margaret Kingsbury has been promoted to associate publicist. She joined the company as an assistant in 2009 and earlier was an assistant producer at Milwaukee Public Radio.