Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Amazing Smell

Yesterday I did something that only happens a few times in a month--I stopped by my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. Just walking into a bookstore, the scent of new books struck me. It's as though the ink was barely dry on those pages. I love to spend time looking around the bookstore--and I try and gather much more information than your average bookstore browser.

I'm always interested to see which books are close to the front door of the store and in particular near the cash register. I took a look at the bestsellers and in particular several new books I knew released last week. My wife and I noticed a floor display for the One Year Bible. Also I looked at Witness, the new book by Amber Frey. I was drawn to see this book after watching the interview on Dateline last week. This interview was followed with a blitz of publicity like appearance on Oprah and other programs. Did the publicity cause this book to get on the bestseller list next week? I will be watching. I noticed Regan Books was the publisher of this book and I carefully looked to see who wrote it--and noticed it was a ghost written project with the writer receiving his thanks in the acknowledgement (and he wasn't called a writer).

I noticed Barnes and Noble has a large display of classic novels like Jane Eyre or the Count of Monte Cristo. There were several different racks of them in the store. On one level they are full-size hardcovers while in a different place, they are small hardcovers with small print. And the publisher? Barnes and Nobles. They didn't make a random plunge into this market but understand the power of the classics and their continue value to sell year after year.

I'm always interested in what's marked as "bargain" or "reduced" because in the publishing business, these books have been remaindered. It means the price has been lowered intentionally to get rid of the back stock of the book, then put the book out of print. One Christian title I noticed was Babylon Rising by Tim LaHaye with Greg Dinallo (released October 21, 2003 from Bantam Books). In a little over a year, it is interesting to find it in this section.

You may be wondering if I purchased anything during my excursion into the bookstore. Yes, music. My wife and I wanted to get a album from Josh Groban. Walking back to the music section of the bookstore, I was surprised to see headphones and a stand that read "Preview Before You Buy" (or something like that). Curious, I picked up the album and put it in the holder. Immediately samples of the music began to play. Some way the gizmo reads the tracks right through the packing for a sample for a remarkable bit of savvy marketing. After a bit of sampling, we purchased Groban's album, Closer. My wife has been enjoying his remarkable music.

Bookstores are great places for writers and editors to collect information about the market, study people's buying habits and learn about books. In this world of Internet bookstores, there are many choices where to select and purchase books. It's always good to maintain a pattern of going in the bookstore, holding the books and looking at them first-hand. From my years in this business I know that writers are readers. It was a good Saturday afternoon outing to get to the bookstore. If nothing else, I will be returning for that amazing smell.

1 Comment:

At 3:13 AM, Blogger relevantgirl Left a note...

Oh how I miss bookstores! It's just not the same in France. So, all you who read Terry's blog, go smell a bookstore on my behalf today.

Terry's correct--you can learn a lot about the market and what is new by frequenting a bookstore.


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