Today in publishing and literature: Revisiting Barnes & Noble's decision not to carry Amazon Publishing titles in stores, new Debbie Reynolds memoir will correct the previous Debbie Reynolds memoir, and McGraw-Hill's textbook business may be up for sale.
Barnes & Noble's announcement yesterday that the company would not be stocking books from the new Amazon imprint in its 700 brick-and-mortar stores had the appearance of a legitimate shot across the bow, right up until the final paragraph of the company's statement, which noted that Amazon Publishing titles will still be available on the Barnes & Noble Web site. What's the difference between selling a hard copy in a store and selling it online? Plenty, it seems. By only selling Amazon's books online Barnes & Noble prevents their competitor from profiting off "the browsing effect," a nifty bit of publishing jargon we first heard in Sunday's New York Times profile of Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch, which holds that one-third of customers who walk out of a bookstore with a book did not walk in the door planning to buy something. These accidental customers have been one of the few advantages brick-and-mortar stores have enjoyed over Amazon over the last decade. In The Wall Street Journal, publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin predicts the policy-- which was revealed with lots of tough talk about how Amazon has "undermined the industry" -- wouldn't have "adverse consequences for Barnes & Noble" until Amazon Publishing bolsters its roster of authors. Meanwhile, in-store Barnes & Noble shoppers will just have to go elsewhere for their print copy of the upcoming books from Penny Marshall, Deepak Chopra, and James Franco. [The Wall Street Journal]
Speaking of bookstores: FlavorWire has put together a very nice slideshow of the world's twenty most beautiful bookstores, not one of which is a Barnes & Noble. What's a bit more surprising is that the Strand in New York City and Powell's in Portland also didn't make the cut, though that's always going to be a possibility when you're competing against converted Dominican churches, like the Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, Holland. [Flavor Wire]