Books a Million
Are Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, and Indigo making a wise move by not carrying the books from Amazon’s publishing arm, or are they cutting off their noses to spite their faces? This is the question that Mike Shatzkin addresses in his latest column. He notes that a reporter contacted him, undoubtedly expecting the same sort of attacks on the move posted by some major media outlets, and was rather surprised when Shatzkin said that, from a self-interested point of view, the decision made perfect sense.
If distribution means getting books into the hands of sellers, circulators or readers, then a true profile of the distribution business would cast a wide net, beginning at the binding line and continuing through to the ‘long tail’ of online portals, used bookstores and curbside pushcarts. However, if distribution, from the publisher’s view, means getting books to generate sales revenue, we can overlook all of the aftermarket, recirculation and reselling channels and focus solely on reaching stores, libraries, online and catalog warehouses and—increasingly, thanks to the Internet—direct marketing from the publisher to the consumer. In the article “Deconstructing Distribution,” in Book Business’