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Old 01-28-2012, 09:12 PM   #1
jgaiser
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NY Times - The Bookstore's Last Stand

Barnes & Noble Taking On Amazon in the Fight for it's Life. I particularly like this paragraph:

Quote:
Like many struggling businesses, book publishers are cutting costs and trimming work forces. Yes, electronic books are booming, sometimes profitably, but not many publishers want e-books to dominate print books. Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, wants to cut out the middleman — that is, traditional publishers — by publishing e-books directly.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/bu...-its-life.html
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
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I'm intrigued by this new e-reader they mention.

"Barnes & Noble is trying to strike at Amazon with another device. At its labs in Silicon Valley last week, engineers were putting final touches on their fifth e-reading device, a product that executives said would be released sometime this spring. (A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to elaborate.)"

Could it be something to compete with the Kindle 4/non-Touch? Will there be another price war?
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:31 PM   #3
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My bet is a 10" Nook Tablet. You have to remember that Amazon announced that they would be releasing a 10" Fire later in the spring and I think B&N has to have something in that category as well.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:31 AM   #4
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Interesting to see how representatives from the publishing houses cling on to status quo ca 2005. They really have a hard time embracing change. Makes me wonder, "Is the publishing industry dominated by people that are close to retirement?"
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:04 AM   #5
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IMO the world is dominated by people who are close to retirement. The government is dominated by people close to retirement. (and I mean most governments in the EU and North American sectors and quite a few others as well)

I don't see this as skewing the decision making process. If you dominate the publishing industry you should alreadyhave a pretty good personal wealth and retirement package.

Rightly or wrongly, the majority are making their decisions based on the company's bottom line and what it will do for the company, not for the additional dollars it will add to their pension, buyout package or similiar.

So the company makes an additional 10 million, the president, vice-president and other senior partners would not see much of this personally except perhaps for rising prices on stock that they owned which has nothing to do with retirement.

Helen
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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What I saw most interesting is the open assertion that Amazon has *over* 60% market share. Add in B&N's 27% and that leaves precious little for Kobo (allegedly 7-8%), Apple, and the Adobe client states like Sony.

Less interesting but more amusing was the basic premise that "as B&N goes, so goes US Publishing" and that a B&N failure would wreck backlist sales and leave Publishers pushing grocery carts in the streets.
Riiigghhttt! No golden parachutes for that crowd?

Spin me a new one, NYT...
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgaiser View Post
Barnes & Noble Taking On Amazon in the Fight for it's Life.[/url]
I sincerely hope that the New York Times didn't really say that?
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I sincerely hope that the New York Times didn't really say that?
More or less:
Quote:
Running this sprint was, of all companies, Barnes & Noble, the giant that helped put so many independent booksellers out of business and that now finds itself locked in the fight of its life. What its engineers dreamed up was the Nook, a relative e-reader latecomer that has nonetheless become the great e-hope of Barnes & Noble and, in fact, of many in the book business.
There is a lot of NY Glass-house Publisher spin in the article, but that is only expected given the source. What is striking is just how downbeat it reads, even *after* all the spin.

For example:
B&N has 27% market share? Great news, right?
Except they quoted that same number last June.
So they are simply growing with the market, not "taking market share from Amazon" right now. It's not bad but not great, either. Add in the STR shortfall and B&N does seem to be in the "fight of its life".

And over at TechCrunch they took notice of this:
http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/28/kindle-vs-nook-sales/
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
Interesting to see how representatives from the publishing houses cling on to status quo ca 2005. They really have a hard time embracing change.
If your boss fired you and recommended you "embrace change," would you be happy about it?

If you read that the publishers fired 1/3 of their employees, dropped 1/2 of their authors from their rolls, and slashed advances by 25%, would you laud their business acumen or call them a bunch of cutthroats?**

Are you glad that so many people want to work with publishers, that they are swamped by unsolicited manuscripts, and won't look at a book unless it's brought to them by an agent?

Are you looking forward to the day when Amazon is the most influential paper book retailer, ebook retailer, self-publishing outlet and publisher?


** Publishers are already cutting midlist authors, which posters to MR generally regarded as the kind of mistake that is putting them out of business....

Last edited by Kali Yuga; 01-29-2012 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
More or less:
No - you misunderstand me. I meant that I hoped that the NYT didn't really say "for it's life", as opposed to the correct "for its life".
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
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No - you misunderstand me. I meant that I hoped that the NYT didn't really say "for it's life", as opposed to the correct "for its life".
Oh, grammar policing.
Sorry.
I'm as big a culprit as any so that stuff just flies by me.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:04 AM   #12
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NY Times got it correct. OP mistyped the lead.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
They really have a hard time embracing change.
They don't have much trouble embracing fear and using it as a weapon.

Apparently they aren't in the business-management camp that believes it is better to obsolete your own product than to wait for a competitor to do it to you.

The thing about the Glass House Publishers war on ebooks is that they themselves set the ball rolling. If they had never supported ebooks in the first place, they wouldn't be running scared now.
They seemed to think that ebooks would forever be a hobbyist/techie preserve and that ebooks would never appeal to print book readers. Once they created the "monster" they have spent their time trying to keep it away from their "cash cow" instead of realizing ebooks are a bigger cash cow than print ever was. And every move they make, only makes things worse for themselves and better for their competitors.

The main thing the NYT articles glosses over is that the NY Glass Tower publishers are *not* all there is to the US publishing business and that the more they drag their feet and try to marginalize ebooks, the more their competitors will prosper at their expense. Even if the Glass Tower gang does end up living on the streets (Yeah, riiigghhht!) the overall publishing industry will survive and prosper.

The real issue, btw, isn't the viability of the publishers; it is that they've lost their oh-so-cherished gatekeeper power. They are no longer seen as kingmakers because there are plenty of kings and queens that are in no way beholden to them. Note the whining in the article about how they would have to actually figure out how to *market* books themselves instead of just flipping them over the wall and letting retailers market them.

The sky isn't falling.
But a lot of golden parachutes will be deployed in the next few years.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:09 AM   #14
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(giggles)

I love that somehow or another, Goliath has suddenly become David. Maybe the Publishers would be in a better position today if they had done more to support independent bookstores when Barnes and Nobles and Borders were happily taking out the independent bookstores.

So now we are all suppose to love and support Barnes and Noble in order to protect the Publishers who fear Amazon. Amazon who is doing exactly what Barnes and Noble did not too long ago. Barnes and Nobles was able to undermine independent bookstores by lowering the cost of the paper book in a way that the independent bookstore could not afford to do. It was ok for Barnes and Noble, and Borders, to do this in the mind of the Publisher because more people were buying books and the Publishers were getting paid based on the full price of the book.

Amazon does the same thing with E-Books and it is a big, bad evil company that threatens the livelihood of publishers.

Bullpucky.

The Publishers need to learn a lesson from the music industry and the movie industry. There is a way to make all of this work. They just have to suck it up and change their out dated business practices.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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You can never win by playing defense. The absolute best you can manage is a tie, and when you are already down three nil (21 - 0 in American footbal terms) you need your absolutely best offense lineup. To me that would be if people like King, Grisham, Steele, Rowling, Koontz or Roberts stood up and spoke on their behalf. Not that I read everything written about books publishing, but at the top of my head I can't recall them playing offense.
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