March 12th, 2008


Facing Out: Publisher's Lunch

From Publisher's Lunch:

Borders Faces Up to More Face Out
At the recent AAP meeting Borders CEO George Jones reported that in the first few weeks at their new concept store in Ann Arbor, more face-out and a smaller title selection than a typical superstore were producing a "dramatic" increase in sales. Now the chain is quickly spreading those changes throughout their stores. The WSJ says "customers throughout the country should be able to see the difference in displays within six weeks. While books shown face-out will still be in the overall minority, as many as three times the titles as in the past will be shelved with covers showing."

SVP Anne Kubek tells the paper, "We always had face-out titles on the shelves and on tables, but they were used as punctuation and tended to focus on popular titles. Today we're showing the front of books even when we only have two or three copies."

The Journal says the standard Borders superstore will now stock about 85,000 to 90,000 titles. Despite the reduced count, "Borders says customers visiting its prototype store said their impression was that more books were available."

I was really excited about this-- until I got to the part about the "reduced count".... I have no idea how many titles they ordinarily carry, but I know that distribution is the single most important factor in your book's success. No one will be a book if its not available for purchase. You can  market the hell out of it and not get enough copies sold if its not carried in the big chains. This is a little scary to me. 

I like the idea of facing out more-- covers can be a huge draw for readers over those tiny 1" spines, but I'm not sure if the "expense" is worth it.  

Whats your take on this?