Month: March 2008

Shel Horowitz’s Book Marketing Tip of the Month, March ’08, Is Posted for You

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Selling Books in Strange Places

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Jay Levinson, Up Close & Personal-French Riviera

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BEA 2008: Booksellers Find the 21st Century

BEA 2008: Booksellers Find the 21st Century The retail book industry is a notoriously slow adapter to new technologies; that seems to be changing. Trends that were bubbling under the surface through a few pioneers like Powell’s even just a few years ago are now becoming mainstream among at least the larger and/or more successful independent bookstores. 11 years ago, when I was part of an abortive attempt to create a web-based marketing channel to facilitate independent bookstores ordering from independent publishers, many bookstores didn’t even have a computer–and only a handful had e-mail or a website. While those days are long gone, bookstores—perhaps spurred by Amazon, which has always been an early adapter and comprehensive user of interactive technology (think reader reviews, Listmania lists, author blogs, and more)—are rapidly moving toward using Web 2.0 tools. Some of the ways bookstores are using these technologies: Authors blogging before an event. Staffers blogging on their favorite picks. Audio/video podcasts of events, available later and all over the world. Reaching out to sell autographed copies in places authors don’t frequent. Promoting specific books through in-store videos. John Wiley, for instance, gives booksellers DVDs with 30-minute films promoting a specific book (and this in itself is quite a bit more ambitious than the typical 3-minute book trailer). If I owned a bookstore, I’d probably add more, for example: In-store workstations focused on...

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Jeff Bezos Discusses the Kindle at Book Expo America 2008

Jeff Bezos Discusses the Kindle at Book Expo America 2008 Speech by Jeff Bezos as transcribed by Shel Horowitz, Editor, Down to Business Magazine, May 31, 2008 (parentheses are paraphrases, rather than his exact language) [square brackets are my comments]. The Long Tail refers to the concept that tiny niche markets that could not be supported by traditional physical bookstores can be well-served by online retailers that can access any book in print. One nice thing about e-books: they never go out of stock. We have one customer who has bought 1076 Kindle books so far. The essential element of the book is that the book disappears. You aren’t thinking about the glue, the paper. It’s hard to do that with electronic books. Gutenberg if reincarnated today would more-or-less recognize a physical book and know what to do with it. He would be astonished by the printing technology, but he’d recognize the book. Anything that lasts 500 years is not easily improved upon. The first step is to capture the essentialness, why has it been so useful and so loved for so many centuries. I think it’s the ability to disappear and get out of the way. Light weight:10.3 ounces. Eye strain: it is completely unlike any other kind of screen you’ve encountered. [editor’s note: While much improved over previous screen-reading experiences, I still found it taxing on my...

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