So what do people think about Nick Santora's novel SLIP AND FALL being published by Borders, and being available exclusively at Borders?

I get the Border's newsletter, and obviously they're really pushing the book as "the summer's hottest thriller" - why wouldn't they - they published it.

Seems a little off to me for a major bookseller to go into publishing, and then use their 'neutral' bookseller status to claim that the book they're publishing is the best thriller of the summer. (As well as deceptive to the reading public who won't necessarily realize what motivates the claim.)

Also, you can't buy this book at Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart, or any other outlet. Isn't that going to hurt sales?

I can see Borders going into publishing, but making themselves the sole sales point for their product seems unnecessarily limiting.


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Well, why would any other competing booksellers want to support Borders? I don't think Barnes & Noble minds not carrying the title. Booksellers, B&N in particular, have been engaged in proprietary publishing for some time, although it's generally classics and pd titles.
Do any other bookstores carry Poisoned Pen Press titles? Answer: Yes. It's no different, other than the fact this is new for Borders and they're choosing to be exclusive.
Well... I don't think there's any such thing as "neutral" bookseller status in the larger chains. Independents, sure, but not chains. We all know books end up in end caps and on display tables and with prominent feature because the store is paid for them to be there, or they know they'll make money. The publisher for Harry Potter could get away with not putting promo dollars into bookstores, for example.

There have been other 'exclusives' done in different capacities - I think it was Alanis who had a CD you could only buy at Starbucks. It may mean sales are lower for that item, but there are a lot of potential advantages. The bookseller can cut out the middle men for distribution entirely. They don't need to send around a publicist to persuade the stores to carry the books. And they also don't need to pay for those prominent displays. While the author may not sell as much as someone with a pushed book available everywhere, the author is going to sell more than someone with a smaller publisher unable to do much in marketing.

I suspect Borders is hoping to build a buzz around the book to draw people to their store to get it. That may not work for some (as Margot is point out) but in general there's a certain marketing logic to exclusivity.

Objectivity is something that can be called into question on every level of this business. This one doesn't phase me at all. I actually consider it less concerning than most other issues. Think about magazines getting advertisements from publishers. They rely on those advertisements to stay in business. Will they be more inclined to review books from the publishers supporting them through advertising? Will they be more inclined to soften a review for said books?

Every step of the way there are ethical questions. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if more publishers got in the bookselling game - I think we'll see more and more publishers offering the books for direct purchase from their website, and damned if I can think of it but one of the UK publishers (if I'm not mistaken) recently stepped in to save a bookstore from closure.
Yeah, what they might lose in sales by being exclusive to Borders is probably more than made up for by not having to pay distributor fees + the discount that a bookseller usually takes as an incentive to order in the books to begin with. I would certainly take "the summer's hottest thriller" with a grain of salt, though.
Evil Kev has a philosophy, and it's one I share as well. The farther praise is away from the object of praise, the more valid.

That's one of the things that extreme bsp-ers don't get (and I'm not dissing general marketing, I'm talking about people who talk about themselves and their books constantly, every single thread on a forum can be tenuously tied to their stuff). It's all just hollow talk.

Every degree of separation between the subject and the endorsement adds to its validity. Do I take it seriously when the ITW says there are hot new thrillers out (coincidentally all members of their organization)? Not at all. Buying a membership is essentially paying for them to say that. I was pondering this last night. MWA publishes anthologies. MWA runs the Edgars. Can short stories in MWA anthologies be eligible for an Edgar? (I actually don't know, but you see where I'm going with that.) Part of the reason I got wondering about it all was because of the Macavity nominations. One person nominated told me they had no idea how the nominations worked. Me either.

But I digress. The point simply is, an endorsement has more merit when there's distance. That's why I personally don't believe in joining organizations as a reviewer. The minute I join anything under reviewer status in my opinion it taints any review I write of an author who's a member of that organization. I'm not telling anyone else what to do, but it's not even up for discussion with me. I strongly believe reviewers should actually try to maintain some distance and objectivity, the same way journalists should, especially if they're paid reviewers.

So the label doesn't mean much to me. Then again, those of us in the business know a fair bit about how things work. The average person walking into a bookstore doesn't. They don't know about distribution, about paying for display space. They actually think books being prominently featured must be amazing, best-sellers. (I tested this out recently.) Most don't even consider that publishers are paying for the prominent space. I suspect the book will do well at Borders, because they can push it and will hand sell it. And (of course) they'll have the exclusive on author signings if they want them. If I was offered a deal like that I'd seriously consider it. There are a lot of advantages, and besides, Borders could always take the exclusive on the book for several months and then make it available to other stores/book clubs etc. They're keeping the exclusive because they think there's a marketing advantage, but there's nothing to stop them from making the book available everywhere... they can just make sure they always have the best price on it.
Didn't Dave Eggers do the same thing a few years ago, except that his book was available only at independent stores?


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