Have you ever written a book review?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

U.S. Book Sales Up in 2010. Sort of.

An interesting article on book sales for December 2010 vs. December 2009, with a brief discussion of e-trends. Worth a look: U.S. Book Sales Up in 2010.

The photo I used (with the  blue sky) demonstrates our positive outlook. Growth through innovation, marketing, and cutting-edge technologies (with the same high quality titles you have come to expect from Savas Beatie) gives us a comfortable feeling of optimism.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Live from Military History Fest, Illinois, February 19, 2011

David Farnsworth of Casemate Publishing, which distributes our titles, shot over this great photo of author Dan van Haffen "hard at work promoting his newly released book" (with co-author David Hirsch) entitled Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason (Savas Beatie, 2010).

Other than what can only be characterized as a gratuitously harsh "hit review" (wonder who arranged that?) in an online Civil War publication, every review has been uniformly positive and excited about what these two authors have accomplished. Some clicks don't like outsiders treading around their manure pile . . .

A few select observations:

" . . . a book for Lincoln enthusiasts." --The Daily Herald

"The Hirsch-Van Haften book is an impressive contribution to Lincoln scholarship. It helps us understand how Lincoln developed and applied his magnificent analytical and persuasive talents in his more famous speeches and writings." -- The Iowa Lawyer, February 2011

"Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason is an excellent addition to any philosophy or historical studies collection -- highly recommended." -- The Midwest Book Review

"All students of Abraham Lincoln and our democracy are indebted to David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften. This is a brilliant study and this book should be added to the library of every serious scholar of American Civil War history."  -- The Lone Star Book Review

"This is a serious and complex book . . . and will appeal to Lincoln scholars and mathematicians, but is an informative read for our Civil War community." -- Suncoast Civil War Roundtable

"No one has examined Euclidian logic alongside Lincoln's rhetorical and written construction as thoroughly as Mssrs. Hirsch and Van Haften, and the results are startling. We continue to shed our shopworn image of Lincoln as a low-gear country lawyer as we learn more about his cases, and now with this study we see a wholly new angle of his brilliance -- which nevertheless must keep us wondering, How did Lincoln do it? Picking apart his Cooper Institute speech for its inner structure, for example, they reveal how deeply Lincoln had imbibed the classical principles of organization, and how it made him the lawyer and politician he was. Hirsch and Van Haften also offer a guidebook not just for attorneys bent on the same self-improvement, but the simple tools for anyone to do as Lincoln did: learn how to learn, and then demonstrate the rightness of your position."

-- James M. Cornelius, Curator, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Friday, February 18, 2011

Borders Bankruptcy Now a Reality

The collapse of the book retail empire Borders, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday, is weighing heavily on the minds of many business leaders and observers. Though it came as a surprise to no one following the issue, the company’s stated plan to close 200 stores nationwide over the next few weeks kick-started a discussion of what went wrong and what it means for the publishing industry and business in general.

There has been something systemically wrong with Borders for a long, long time. I am tired of the pundit-experts telling us this company collapsed financially because Borders "was behind the digital book curve." Sure, that was part of the problem. However . . . we routinely experienced fundamental Bookselling 101 issues with this chain that we never experienced with Barnes and Noble. Here are a few examples:

1) Authors showing up for scheduled signings only to be asked by the manager, "Is that tonight?"

2) Authors going into a store to sign copies of their book, a sales clerk discovering several in-store per the computer system, and then waiting an hour as the clerk ran around unable to find them. "They are here somewhere . . ." was the constant refrain. "They are in the system." The books were never found.

3) Authors showing up for a scheduled signing only to discover that Borders had not ordered books for the signing even though they informed our staff they had done so.

4) Authors showing up for a scheduled signing only to discover that Borders ordered books for the event, had not put them out in advance, and then could not find them!

The list is longer, but you get the point. We had 3-4 authors who had these issues over and over and over in stores spread across the country. What are the odds this happened only with these few titles? Now, how many people looking for how many books over how many years have been unable to purchase them because of something rotten inside this chain?

Now, can you guess how this company is doing financially?

Stay tuned for more updates. And no, this is not good news for publishers or book readers.