I haven’t blogged about the state of the book industry (my catch-all term for the business of writing, publishing, and selling books in physical and electronic media) recently, so here are a few interesting recent updates.
First, we have some small movement in the growing effort to recognize that, yes, Virginia, eBook sales are real. They really do happen. Even for self-published authors. Joe Konrath has written about the silliness of the New York Times‘ addition of eBook sales to their bestseller lists, and how wildly accurate those are. The otherwise respectable Wall Street Journal will now start posting eBook sales on their bestseller lists. They claim they have the cooperation of Amazon, B&N, Google, and Apple and will have exclusive content. Should be interesting to see how the WSJ lists pan out.
Second, back in August, I last posted about Books-A-Million (BAM), and wondered if they would be able to succeed where Borders had failed. There, I mentioned that they were planning to expand into some of the old Borders locations, mainly in the Northeast. That expansion has and is continuing to happen. Next month, BAM will open a total of 41 new locations. Wow. Good for them. Should be interesting to see how BAM fares in the long run, especially in these new locations.
And third, it appears that Barnes and Noble (B&N) may be beginning a quiet drawdown of its store locations (read about it here and here). I don’t want to make too much of this, as it’s just a handful of stores so far, and reportedly B&N engages in long-term (10-15 year) leases, many of which are now, or soon will be, up for renewal. It’s simply a sound business practice to close unprofitable locations. But this is something we’ll have to keep our eyes on. If we see dozens of B&N stores closing in the next year, despite the demise of its biggest brick-and-mortar rival, we might reasonably start wondering how long B&N has left.