Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pottermore Details Leaked; BN eBook Market Share; Indies Charging For Events, Again.


The Times UK claims they received an "official marketing memo" by mistake with details about JK Rowling's Pottermore website, which officially launches Thursday at 7 AM EDT at an event at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. According to the story, Pottermore is "a sophisticated online game that contains clues to prizes that are hidden in the real world. These are an unstated number of magic wands secreted in Britain and America, and possibly other countries." The Times notes it's still not clear whether the treasure hunt is Pottermore itself, or a marketing ploy, or if the "leak" is all a marketing stunt.
Times UK (behind paywall, via paidContent)

In a conference call with investors Tuesday Barnes & Noble ceo William Lynch said the company now has approximately 26-27 percent of the ebook market, and that ebooks outsell print books on by a 3-1 margin. But cfo Joseph Lombardi said BN is entering a period where more than 100 store leases are up for renewal, and they now prefer shorter-term leases to compensate for further digital growth. "We'll have the flexibility to close stores in a financially prudent way," he said.

Today's debate-igniting article comes by way of the NYT, which hops aboard the "independent bookstores charging for events" bandwagon that circles around every now and then. Aside from the Boulder Bookstore, which started charging $5 for events back in April, Kepler's has also started charging customers a $10 gift card, which admits two people to each author appearance, and when McNally Jackson's downstairs renovation to include a larger event space is ready, owner Sarah McNally says the store will start charging for events as well (though she's vague about timing and specifics.) And Roxanne Coady of RJ Julia claims ticketed events bring in about 10 percent of the store's annual revenue.

Ann Patchett (left), currently on tour and set to open a store of her own in Nashville later this year (which, curiously, the NYT failed to report) said she's concerned those who don't have money - namely, students and the elderly - may be left out. “I wouldn't want the people who have no idea who I am and have nothing else to do on a Wednesday night shut out," she said. "Those are your readers." And Bookstore West Portal owner Neal Sofman isn't charging for events - "We are retailers, we are selling a product, for sure, but, at the same time, we're a cultural center" -- but wouldn't rule it out in future. "You can never say never anymore."

Amazon will republish 47 books by Ed McBain, including 35 87th Precinct novels,  under its Thomas & Mercer imprint beginning in Fall 2011.

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