Monday, December 04, 2006

Which books are we selling, exactly?

This smacks of a CYA move on the part of the publishers (particularly those who thought O.J.'s kinda-sorta confession was a great idea), but it's still an interesting look at how the business side of this whole writing thing operates.
Blind sales are increasingly common in the publishing industry. Many booksellers pointed to Oprah Winfrey for popularizing the trend, as bookstores must order boxes of each unknown “Oprah Title” before she announces the book club selection on her show. The blind sale of the Simpson book was initially reported by Publishers Weekly.

“A number of these books are flash in the pan, and you need to get it right away,” Leslie Ryan, an independent bookseller in Colorado, said in discussing why many dealers felt obligated to order books blind.

However, most booksellers said that the complete lack of information surrounding Mr. Simpson’s book was unusual even for a blind sale. Publishing companies often use blind sales for a new John Grisham or Oprah Title 48, said Kelly Justice, the manager of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Va., “and you have a pretty clear idea of what an Oprah title is.” But, she added, “this was totally blind, with no information provided other than publisher and price.”

No comments: