Friday, May 8, 2009

Poor Sales of Arthas

Thought you'd be interested to know how Arthas is selling in the United States. A couple of readers of the blog who happen to work in publishing have access to the Nielsen BookScan numbers and emailed me some interesting information.

Nielsen BookScan has reporting of actual "cash register" sales of most of the majors, independents, and other retail outlets in the U.S. where books are sold (B&N, Borders, Amazon, Books-A-Million, Follett, etc., even to places like Target and Starbucks, just about everything there is I think except for Wal-Mart). While they've asked me not to post actual numbers, I can say the sales (as reported by retailers and other outlets) have been relatively poor and are not even close to exceeding 20,000 copies sold. This doesn't mean the publisher hasn't advanced/sold many thousands more copies of the book to its customers; it means people aren't buying it even though it's out there in number. At this rate they said the book may well end up as a bargain "remainder," which apparently is what they call books that have been severely overprinted. These books, I've been told, usually end up in stacks in a bargain section with drastically reduced prices.

The consensus I'm hearing is that the book has obviously been typeset to hit 300 pages in order to justify a $25 pricepoint, when the book, especially with the inexpensive/poor-quality paper stock used, should only be about 180-200 pages and $17.95 or so.

Some more odd facts - the book has sold the most copies in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, with Miami, FL second, Columbus, OH, and Richmond, VA rounding out the top four before the largest market NYC finally comes in fifth.

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