Book Industry Updates

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.

Halloween Reading

I have been woefully remiss in updating my blog of late. And that is doubly annoying to me this month because October is probably my favorite month. It’s always had a special place in my heart. I love the change of seasons and the chill in the air, and it contains two of my favorite holidays: my birthday and Halloween. Last year on the blog — in celebration of Halloween — I did a book review a day on horror-themed books. That was a lot of fun to do, but also a lot of work, and I just haven’t had time this year. (I am finishing my dissertation, teaching a college course I didn’t know I would be teaching, and am undergoing the ritual hazing of the academic job market right now.) Well, apologizing for not updating more regularly doesn’t do any of us any good, but I do have some useful, interesting material for you until I can resume my normal posting schedule (whenever that might be).

Here we go:

First up, Subterranean Press has a new iteration of their fabulous pre-order sale. Order five or more pre-orders and you get 50% off. What a deal. I’ve done this myself previously, and it’s turned out great. I’m not sure if I’ll do it this go around, but I certainly want a copy of the new Glen Cook anthology at a minimum.

Second, if you’re interested in “weird fiction,” especially the classic stuff, you should know about a new weekly reading group on LibraryThing (“The Deep Ones”!) that reads one weird tale each week and discusses the story. I’m a lurker in the group, but I’ve been following along with the reading and the discussions thus far. It’s been a great introduction for me to some classic tales I had never read and an excuse to reread some old favorites. So far we have read “Shambleau” by C.L. Moore; “The Sword of Welleran” by Lord Dunsany; “Dreams in the Witch House” by H.P. Lovecraft ; “The Great God Pan” by Arthur Machen; and “The Yellow Sign” by Robert Chambers. You don’t have to be a member of the group to read the postings (someone correct me if I’m wrong about that), and if you’re at all interested in the topic, you’ll enjoy the discussions and the links to where you can locate copies of these stories in-print and online. If I had more time, I’d love to review each of these stories in detail here. Alas.

Last, but certainly not least, let me provide you with some additional reading suggestions, courtesy of Michael R. Collings, a gentleman and a scholar, who happens to have written quite a few horror novels you may not be familiar with. I will be reviewing one of his works here very soon. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading these, but I hope to soon. I don’t want to simply replicate his blog post that describes them in detail, so I will simply point you to that link. They all appear to be available for extremely reasonable prices on Amazon, particularly if you’re interested in eBook editions, and I can certainly vouch for Collings: he has a real way with words.

I promise to be back with some more posts by the end of the month, so until then, Happy Halloween!