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Is Barnes & Noble’s up to date shopping for coverage good or dangerous for ebook discovery?

Aug 25, 2022

Barnes & Noble’s CEO James Daunt has defended a brand new shopping for coverage that some ebook trade insiders cost solely results in the chain stocking new releases of hardcovers from best-selling authors.

Mr. Daunt’s feedback got here in response to outrage expressed by quite a few authors and publishing homes over the past week on social media.

Notably affected by the brand new coverage is middle-grade fiction and to a lesser extent younger grownup and grownup fiction titles that always don’t land on best-seller lists. In-store shopping of hardcovers is seen by many as vital to establishing new authors.

Since becoming a member of as CEO in 2019, Mr. Daunt has helped revitalize B&N partially by empowering retailer managers to find out the place the books are positioned and order portions to higher align assortments with native tastes. The chain has additionally eradicated co-op title placement practices as a result of unpopular titles had been receiving distinguished placement and driving extreme return charges.

Requested concerning the new shopping for stance, Mr. Daunt mentioned up to 80 p.c of middle-grade hardcovers purchased by B&N have been routinely returned unsold to publishers, and the return charges for grownup fiction had been solely barely decrease.

He advised Publishers Weekly, “B&N for a few years abrogated this duty, filling its shops with something and every thing and sending again what didn’t promote.”

The brand new titles are being changed by common commerce paperbacks. B&N has been encouraging the discharge of sure titles to succeed in youthful audiences by way of paperbacks sooner and even with the primary launch. Mr. Daunt advised Publishers Marketplace, “On the lower cost level, and in a format friendlier to youngsters themselves, some titles which can wrestle to promote in additional than very small portions in hardcover can be higher served if printed in paperback.”

The discount in slow-selling hardcover inventory guarantees to depart extra shelf house for newer authors who might escape, based on Mr. Daunt, with the transfer to inventory fewer however extra in-demand titles driving total ebook gross sales.

The adjustments come as hardcover gross sales have slowed after studying took off throughout the pandemic lockdowns. Some additionally see the BookTok development encouraging managers to showcase associated older titles in shops.

Many trade insiders nonetheless query whether or not readers can uncover new and various voices with out the hardcover launches that always profit from amplified advertising and marketing.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you consider the strikes by Barnes & Noble to give attention to best-selling hardcovers and in any other case give attention to paperback gross sales? How necessary is the merchandising of hardcovers to the invention of latest authors?


“Barnes & Noble’s CEO is doing what’s vital to maneuver B&N ahead. Maybe the trade wants to take a look at new methods to market authors and hardcover books.”


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