Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Quotation of the Day
Bookselling Notes: Barbara's; Hastings; Ingram
The store will stock "a broad and diverse collection of books, fine literature, periodicals and children's books, with an emphasis on quality literature," as Marshall Field's put it.
Likely the most versatile bookseller in the country, Barbara's has traditional bookstores, airport and railroad station stores, a store in a teaching hospital, a store in a theater and a campus store. Most are in the Chicago area, but the company has Barbara's Bestsellers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Owner Don Barliant explained the approach to Shelf Awareness this way: "We need to bring books to where people are rather than bring people to books."
Bolstered "primarily" by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sales of books at Hastings Entertainment stores open at least a year rose 1.2% in the quarter ended July 31. While that was significantly less than video games (14.6%) and boutique, a category that includes body jewelry, novelty T-shirts and action figures (11.8%), books fared better than music and video rentals (down 10.2%).
Hastings's overall sales rose 0.3% to $122.7 million and net income rose 6.2% to $671,000. The sales increase resulted mainly from opening new superstores. In the past three months, the company has relocated its Ogden, Utah, store and expanded its Bryan, Tex., store.
Ingram Book Group has added two more field sales reps to its growing trade sales force, which represents the company's wholesaling business and its Ingram Publisher Services clients to accounts around the country.
Sanford Hernandez will cover Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. For five years he was a sales rep for Chronicle Books and earlier worked at Rizzoli Bookstores and Waldenbooks. "He has successfully managed bookstores and even has experience as a senior buyer," according to Janet McDonald, Ingram's v-p of sales.
Edward Brazas will cover North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. He was formerly Koen Book Distributors's southeast sales and marketing representative and earlier worked in sales and marketing at Random House for many years.
When college students buy textbooks online, 74% of the books are purchased from an online store, 31% are purchased from the college bookstore's Web site and 5% are from a student-created Web site, according to the NACS Foundation's latest study of students' purchasing behavior.
The StudentWatch Campus Market Research survey of students' attitudes about advertising and promotion, online shopping behavior and purchase decision influences also found:
- 91% of students living on campus go online every day.
- The price of products and recommendations from friends and family are most likely to get them to visit a store; e-mail ads and pop-ups were least likely.
- Students purchase about 16% of their textbooks online.
- Students spend about $410 a year on clothing without a college logo.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Buzz Bissinger at the Plate
Tomorrow Leonard Lopate sizes up Malcolm Gladwell, whose two books are the bestselling The Tipping Point (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624) and Blink (Little, Brown, $25.95, 0316172324)
Appropriately tomorrow morning--a day in August--Diane Rehm leads off with Buzz Bissinger, whose Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager (Houghton Mifflin, $25, 0618405445) follows a series between archrivals Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals from the point of view of Card manager Tony La Russa.
Tomorrow night the Daily Show with Jon Stewart ushers in former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, author of Herding Cats: A Life in Politics (Regan Books, $27.50, 0060599316), which comes out today.
Weighing in on Anderson, Breyer
The Times is in awe of the sheer size of Hunger's Brides: A Novel of the Baroque, the first novel by Paul Anderson (Carroll & Graf, $35, 0786715413) that walks down the aisle Sept. 14. At four pounds, nine ounces, this baby is "equivalent to two and a half copies of The Da Vinci Code, and it is thicker than Verizon's Manhattan telephone directory"--and near in weight to a six pack of beer, a chihuahua and a quarter of a watermelon. Eventually we learn, too, that after being published in Canada last year, Hunger's Brides won the Alberta Book Award for novel, has gone back to press, has been reviewed well here and is a September Book Sense pick.
The Journal gives no weight or page count for Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution by Stephen Breyer (Knopf, $21, 0307263134), but it does note that this is an unusual book: a sitting Supreme Court justice writes about his interpretation of the constitution. Knopf has moved publication up to Sept. 13 because of the nomination of John Roberts to the court but will not grant interviews "so as to avoid the possibility of influencing that process."
Read, See--and Hear--The Constant Gardener
Books & Authors
High-Stakes Launch in Las Vegas
Smith is also the author of Running Scared (Four Walls Eight Windows, $15, 1568581904), the much-litigated Steve Wynn biography whose paperback edition appeared only in 2001. Sharks in the Desert, was postponed, too, but for other reasons: partly because of the struggle of Smith's nine-year-old daughter against cancer.
The Review-Journal begins serializing the book in the next few weeks.
Attainment: New Title Next Week
Frugal Frigate: Children's Store Steams Ahead
The party will be held a half block from the store, in the Farm, an artisan restaurant, where four kinds of wine will be poured and described, and various hors d'oeuvres, including pastas and cheeses, will be served. Some 140 people are expected.
The three authors will circulate and talk with attendees. Eventually Grimes, Adams and Frazee will sign books, which several store staff members will sell in a discreet place in the restaurant.
Attendees aren't paying to attend the party, and there is no requirement to buy a book. Brad Hundman laughed when asked about this, explaining, "You invest in clientele and have to have faith and trust that it will be returned to you. If you do it well and in the right form, it will come back."
The attendees are adults who Hundman has picked from "circles of people" in the area. Of course, some are customers, but there are also representatives "from the city, the city manager, the city treasurer," and mainly "people who would appreciate an event like this. They have a love of literature and will have an opportunity to pass that love along." He picked no more than two or three from each circle.
The store will be open during and after the party for people to visit. Hundman wants to show off some changes, including a "new coat of paint outside, new graphics, a new awning and better lighting." In addition, the store has been closed on Sundays during the summer, so that the party marks "sort of a reopening" for Sundays. Besides, as Hundman put it, "we want to highlight all our books."
Frugal Frigate will be "one of the first stores" to receive copies of Grimes's Dark Sons (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, $15.99, 0786818883) because of the party. Her other recent titles are Danitra Brown Leaves Town (Amistad Press, $6.99, 006075311) and Danitra Brown, Class Clown (Amistad Press, $15.99, 0688172903). Adams's recent book is Zoom! (Peachtree, $15.95, 1561453323). Frazee's Santa Claus: The World's Number One Toy Expert (Harcourt Children's, $16, 0152049703) is appearing in October.
Hundman said the store will put on three of these kinds of events a year and is already planning the next multi-author offsite party for January.
The party is just one example of what Hundman calls "thinking outside the box," something that probably comes naturally because he and his wife both hold fulltime jobs in other businesses and work in the store parttime. A Coldwell Banker real estate agent, Hundman is in the store only about an hour each weekday although "I put in my hours on the weekend."
Among other changes: the Frugal Frigate has done more events in the store, too, as well as story hour parties--or book parties, as Hundman called them--for children. Frugal Frigate employees put on many of these parties in local schools.
Of course, the store had a Harry Potter party, but it was not the blowout it was for some stores. Hundman did not order lavishly, explaining that "when grocery stories were selling the book for less than what I paid for it," he needed to be careful. "It's silly to put all your eggs in one basket." Switching metaphors, he added, "I'm looking for a lot of base hits, not to hit one out of the park.
"It's all marketing, and it's all repeatable," Hundman continued. "The way we do parties and events, we can do them over and over again. A lot of stores reinvent the wheel every day. That wears you out."
The store also has taken a different approach to bookselling in the summer, which traditionally had been slow. "We brought in so many books, buying sevens, eights and tens, that the staff had to search for places to put them," Hundman said with a laugh. "In the past, some titles sold out during the week because we didn't have sufficient inventory." The store's "clientele was happy," he continued. "We have Christmas books now and they're selling. We're not forcing them. In fact, it's silly to wait until after Thanksgiving for Christmas. Many people will travel and want to get their gifts lined up early." Hundman estimated that summer sales have doubled this year.
Hundman has also done "value" merchandising, combining toys with books as packages or just displaying them together. For example, he moved some garbage truck toys "from one side of the room" to go with the book I Stink! by Kate McMullan (HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, $15.99, 0060298480). "All of a sudden, we sold out of the books and trucks we had for two years."
The store gave up its adult section, which accounted for "45% of the floor space and 18% of profit," because Hundman said, "It's hard to compete with the mass merchandisers on adult selections." Frugal Frigate used some of that space to put in a science room, which mixes together science books with volcano kits, fiber optics and magnetism, among other things.
Hundman praised the staff of five as the "best team in the world." He encourages them to sell and wants them to "know the inventory, writers and illustrators." Hundman relies on them for suggestions about what to buy, although ordering is "my decision in the end."
As he does about real estate and the Frugal Frigate, Hundman has an optimistic attitude about bookselling in general. "It's horrible to hear people complain about the book business when the book business is so wonderful. We can compete in the children's book world. We can handsell and tell people about a book. We don't need to discount. The mass merchandisers can never do what we do. We are a cultural event."
The Frugal Frigate is moored permanently at 9 North 6th St., Redlands, Calif. 92373; 909-793-0740; www.frugalfrigate.com.