A very interesting article on the New York Times ("Target Can Make Sleepy Titles Into Best Sellers") today about a retailer that is becoming an influential player in the book industry - Target. Yes, Target.
They're not selling maybe as much as Amazon and B&N do, but as Motoko Rich explains in the article "through its book club, as well as a program it calls Bookmarked Breakout, both started in 2005, the company has highlighted largely unknown writers, helping their books find their way into shopping carts filled with paper towels, cereal and shampoo."
Target's Book club picks are sold in 20% discount, which together with noticeable presentation of the books in the stores ("narrower shelves that stand at the front or end of aisles — with specially designed signs") and consistent good picks by the book club, are making these books very attractive choice for customers.
The results? Jacqueline Updike, director of adult sales at Random House says in the article that Target “can sell hundreds of thousands of copies of a book that is virtually unknown in the rest of the marketplace”.
What I like about Target's programs is that they choose many times unknown authors and makes their book a hit overnight, like Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay who sold 145,000 copies at Target in comparison with sales of couple of thousands of copies before that. For each book selected as a Bookmarked Club Pick, the publisher produces a special edition, and the author writes a letter addressed to Target readers.
This is really great news and kudos to Target for their efforts. I hope they will also expand their programs to include a new green book club program that will be solely dedicated to promote green books. With Target's innovative and green approach and proven success to make books bestsellers, I am positive they can help the book industry not only to sell more books, but also to become more sustainable.
Raz @ Eco-Libris
Eco-Libris: promoting green reading