Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is Book Recession Ending?

Black Friday showed there were more shoppers each spending more money than last year, hitting record sums. Cyber Monday did the same.  Are we out of a sluggish economy?  Probably not, but it’s nice to see things improving.  PW reported today that Barnes and Noble is losing less money than it had been, so that is a step in the right direction. But PW also reported that an AAP study shows e-book sales doubled in September from a year ago while hardcover sales fell  18 percent; trade paper was flat and mass market paperback sales got cut in half. Hopefully Santa will deliver plenty of books this holiday season.

Happy New Year?  Cost Of Marketing To Rise

The U.S. Postal Service, always a money drain, is raising its rates soon. Whatever mailings you plan to do, do them now.  The post office used to deliver 212 billion pieces of mail, back in 2007.  Now, due to the recession, postal hikes, and online marketing, only 168 billion pieces of mail will be delivered in 2011.  That’s more than a 20% decline in just four years. To mail a first class letter will rise from 44 cents to 45 cents.  But the price to ship packages, overnight letters, etc. is also going up.  Before you run elsewhere look for increases elsewhere.  UPS announced a 4.9% net increase on UPS ground, air and international shipments originating from the U.S.  This means the cost to ship a book is rising as well.

Interview With Huffington Post Book Reviewer Dave Hollander

1.      Dave, what type of books do you like to review for the Huffington Post? Sports books are pretty much my bread and butter, though I did write a review about a Clint Eastwood coffee table book.  I can also venture out in other areas of education, social issues and New York City.

2.      What do you love about reviewing books? I live reviewing books because I love books. I am more of a “reviewer’ and less of a “critic.” Being an author, I know how hard it is to write.  So take kind of a Fox New “We report. You decide” approach.

3.      How did you get involved with reviewing books? I was making a little living out of interviewing famous sports and entertainment figures.  Often interview opportunities became available in connection with book releases.

4.      Where do you see book publishing is heading? Into the wild blue yonder.  Seriously, I don’t think anyone has a clue.  I guess the predicate question to your question is, “Where is reading headed?”

5.      How important is it for an author to receive a lot of reviews? Reviews beget reviews.  And reviews equal sales and the development of film and television rights. Nothing is more important than a positive, objective, substantive third-party review.

Book Review

I recently received a copy of Balloons Over Broadway:  The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Caldecott Honor Winner Melissa Sweet. It is a beautiful children’s book that my almost-seven-year-old son loves. It’s all about the man who was a key part in the development of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which just celebrated 85 years. Readers learn about the man who created the larger-than-life balloons, which are as much a part of Thanksgiving as family, turkey, and football!

More than 50 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television each year, with an additional three and a half million lining the route in New York City.  All of them cheer for the enormous, glorious balloons of beloved characters that float down the avenues.  Balloons over Broadway (Houghton Mifflin Books) by renowned illustrator Melissa Sweet, tells the inspirational story of Tony Sarg, the marionette master and puppeteer whose imagination and ingenuity gave birth to everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving Day tradition.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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