Tag Archive: Current Events


As we continue to see the effects of the economy, 2009 is staying consistent with the lack of spending. What once was in the New York publishing world, has come to a halt and is seeing a new makeover (and not for the better). Publishers once lived in a world where champagne was plenty, limousines were the norm, and places hard to pronounce was the native tongue. Yet with the recession, layoffs and a decrease in publishing is setting the stage for cutbacks in the way publishers celebrate.

The numbers explain why parties once plentiful are now small in number:

“Book sales have deteriorated since the beginning of October, falling about 7 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of sales. That slide is driving much of the immediate cutbacks, but the publishing industry is also being convulsed by longer-term trends, including a shift toward digital reading and competition from an array of entertainment options like video games and online social networking.”

With these numbers and with more people turning towards newer (and less-expensive) means of reading, the publishing world is trying to keep up. However, with the economy the way that it is, the best way to keep up is simply to cut back. Many have considered publishers and the likes to have expensive taste- eating that is. Fancy restaurants are now less visited and what is becoming normal are telephone meetings or meeting over pizza and beer.

Aside from fancy parties and places, other aspects in the publishing world are being reviewed. Cash advances for authors (which for a while were increasing) are now being reconsidered. David Rosenthal, publisher of Simon & Schuster, states that:

“You used to buy some books and you paid X because you figured it would sell 100,000 copies. Now you have to do the math saying this book may sell only 50,000 copies.”

Some say there is a silver lining here though: since there are fewer books being sold, maybe less books should be published to help make up for lost profits. This is especially true when it comes to booksellers. “They need to have some sense of what is going on in the country and what the readers are really looking for,” stated Vivien Jennings, owner of Rainy Day Books, an independent. bookstore in Fairway, Kan. Booksellers won’t want to be overstocked with merchandise that is not going to sell. If more books are published and sent to a store, then the store is left with the item. To do what with them?

The store is left with no choice but to return the books to the publishers, which in turn, decreases profit even more. Reducing the price on  books (even more) that are returned might seem like a good idea to help boost sales, but many publishers argue that in a time where the economy is the way that it is, this may not have the outcome we would hope for. Returned merchandise, for the most part, is already slashed or offered at a great discount. All this brings back memories of the great depression, in which practices were created in order to promote bookstores to take in more copies of books.

Just like the phrase, “History always repeats itself”, many see this trend as simply that. Michael Korda, former editor in chief of Simon & Schuster, saw this in the 70’s and even cutback on his habits. In the end, “everybody went back to doing what they were doing before.” Will that statement hold true for 2009?

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As the economy has taken a downward spiral, what impact has it had on book sales? The economy, as we all know, as bad. Many experts say that it will get worse before it gets better and many agree that it will be a while before change for the better occurs. Since the decline of the economy, prices have dropped, gas has gone down, and everyone is wondering what will happen next. When “Black Friday” came around, consumer found deals that made their eyes pop out.  Despite the downfall of the economy, people are still shopping.

Net sales of books in April fell 3.5 percent to $472.7 million, based on data from 79 publishers as reported to the Association of American Publishers.

We probably should have expected this as many other products have been on the decline since the economic crisis. surprising though is that digital-based copies of books have not declined. sales in April rose almost 20%. This may be due to the fact that Kindle has increased in popularity. It may also be due to the fact that people are looking to spend their money in the best way possible- treading away from traditional media and venturing into the digital realm. Maybe there is some sense in buying the digital copy of Sonia Rivera-Valdès’ Stories of Little Women and Grown-Up Girls

Due to the decrease in book sales, many bookstores may start to sell books at lower prices to try and attract customers. Since the stores and retailers usually buy books at a fraction of the price for what they sell them, it may be in their best interest to slash prices if they are to stay in business, especially if the economy continues its trend.

“Most bookstores buy stock for 20 to 40 percent off suggested retail,” May said. “But they can buy remainders and other bargain books for as much as 90 percent off retail price. That means they can sell the books for less in a time when consumers are spending fewer dollars on books, and still make a higher profit margin.

As we get closer and closer to the end of 2008 and move into 2009, we can only hope that book sales will increase. Even if digital book sales continue to increase, traditional books also need to make a comeback. Hopefully, by slashing prices books will become more and more attractive, even in this digitally run world.

Read the full article quoted: Book sales in decline as U.S. economy contracts

According to a article in the online version of the New York Times, Microsoft will be ending it’s efforts to provide a book-based search engine. Unable to compete with Google, Microsoft stated on Friday that they will be “ending a project to scan millions of books and scholarly articles and make them available on the Web.” The project so far, according the article, has digitized over 700,000 books and indexed roughly 80 million journal articles.  

The decision to end this project was based on the following:

“Given the evolution of the Web and our strategy, we believe the next generation of search is about the development of an underlying, sustainable business model for the search engine, consumer and content partner,” Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s senior vice president for search, portal and advertising, wrote on the blog.”

This statement may throw people off since Google continues to maintain and improve its book search engine. In fact, Adam smith (product management director at Google) stated that, “[we] are extremely committed to Google Book Search, Google Scholar and other initiatives to bring more content online.” As you may know from reading a previous entry , all of Editorial Campan’s titles are searchable and to some extent viewable though the book search program. So it looks as though users who once used Microsoft’s program will click to Google in order to continue their book searches. Is this a smart move on behalf of Microsoft? According to one individual, although this program was used on a small scale, it was still used, especially by libriarians.

“Mr. Sullivan said that the number of people using book search services from Microsoft and Google was relatively small, but it included librarians, researchers and other so-called early adopters who often influence others. These users are now likely to turn to Google with increasing frequency, he said.”

 Microsoft will slowly faze out their book search engine. Eventually funding for this project will have to come from else where. Is this proof that Google will forever be known as the ultimate search engine and how will this affect how people search for books?

A recent article in the New York Times is raising the question as to whether or not online stores such as Amazon must make sure that their vendors collect taxes on behalf of the state to which they are affiliated with. Whether we know it or not, we do pay taxes when we buy products from online sources, they are just hidden or nicely worded (such as use taxes). Aren’t taxes good for the state though? For example this new law that was signed by Gov. David Patterson, is expected to raise about $50 million. Yet on the flip side ( and there is more than one), online stores may start to increase their prices if they have to start dealing with more taxes. Vendors as well may hurt from this new law if they need to shell out extra money. 

So the reason we’re so concerned about this? Editorial Campana sells its books in different ways, both physically and digitally. Many of the books though can be bought through the website or through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This new law put into affect, as suggested by Amazon:

“violate[s] the equal-protection clause of the Constitution because they specifically took aim at Amazon. “It was carefully crafted to increase state tax revenues by forcing Amazon to collect sales and use taxes,” the complaint says, noting that “state officials have described the statute as the ‘Amazon Tax.’”

From this it would seem as though the law targets Amazon. As online stores become more and more popular and as more small businesses start to move away from traditional physical shops and venture into the “digital store” realm, what will they have to face? It would seem more like this law is taxation due to representation. What impact will this new law have and what will be done with the money that law collects?