Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Short Post--On the new French Blue Bags, Wrapping Up the Sad JFK Anniversary with Not Such Happy Sales.

I came back to Boswell today to see that we had an auspicious occasion--the changing over of the medium sized paper bag from brown to French blue ink. I feel like I should have some sort of ceremony going on.

We flipped a few displays this week, so with Hanukkah over, we had a space for the ten best of the year from The New York Times. It probably eventually needs to go in the front of the store, but interestingly enough, that back table perfectly displays ten books. I should remember that for the future.

It's about time to take down our memorial table for JFK's assassination. We of course don't have final numbers on how these books did, but it's pretty clear that the category was over-published for the anniversary. It doesn't really look like anything broke out at all at Boswell and there were some publishers that really aggressively reprinted old titles as well. I almost think it's better in many cases to keep away from these marketing opportunities.

Here were the top five titles by demand from Ingram:
1. A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, by Philip Shenon
2. Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, by Bill O'Reilly
3. Five Days in November, by Clint Hill
4. Those Few Precious Days: The Final Year with Jackie, by Christopher Anderson
5. Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House, by Robert Dallek

The most we sold of any of these titles since July was three. We are clearly just one tiny store in the mix, but if a book had broken out nationally to the general market, I think we would have felt the enthusiasm a bit. But I actually went on Above the Treeline a bit and saw much better sales at other stores. In the case of A Cruel and Shocking Act, dramatically better sales, so I'm not sure why our customers reacted differently. I will note that several books did have poor sell through, so I still stand by my original thesis,  amending it to say that the Philip Shenon book did seem to be the breakout success. I don't count O'Reilly as it was not published into the anniversary but came out last year.

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