David Mandl on Fri, 26 May 2000 11:02:07 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] "Most titles they stock serve essentially as wallpaper"

NEW YORK (AP) -- The rise of superstores in the 1990s has helped
best-selling books at the expense of less commercial, more literary
works, according to a study commissioned by the Authors Guild.

In 1986, best-selling hardcover titles accounted for about 7 percent
of all hardcover sales, according to the 59-page report released
Thursday. By 1996, that figure had nearly doubled, to 13 percent.

``The dramatic advent of superstores and online booksellers has made
the book business more like the rest of consumer retailing: There is a
smaller number of bigger winners than there used to be,'' said author
Nicholas Lemann, chair of the guild's Midlist Study Group.

Superstores such as Borders and Barnes & Noble, which usually have
much more space than independent sellers, are credited with offering a
greater variety of ``midlist'' titles. They're also criticized for
favoring high-profile books and large publishers.

``A close look at superstore sales patterns suggests that most titles
they stock serve essentially as wallpaper,'' the study says. ``If
there is a single reason why midlist book sales are lagging, it is the
chains' merchandising policies.''

The report is at:


Dave Mandl

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