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E-Readers Cheaper, But Not E-Books

In a front-page article on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that inexpensive e-readers are likely to be top gifts this holiday season, but e-books are more expensive than when the first e-readers were introduced. The price difference between print- and e-books has narrowed significantly, the paper said, and in some instances e-books are more expensive. However, Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm, puts the average price of a consumer digital book at $8.19 this year, down from $9.23 in 2009, and Hachette Book Group told the paper that 83 percent of its digital titles are priced at $9.99 or below.

The Journal pointed to agency model pricing as a contributing factor to e-books’ price climb, but said publishers believe that e-books are priced correctly.

ABA’s Oren Teicher Interviewed in Huffington Post

The last entry in Huffington Post’s How Will We Read series features ABA CEO Oren Teicher. In the Q&A interview “How Will We Read: On Main Street?,” Teicher talked to blogger and author C.M. Rubin on a range of topics, including how we’ll read in the future, e-book trends and ABA member participation in the digital market, the closing of Borders, and more.

Overall, Teicher said he believes all of the changes in the book industry will grow the number of readers.  “If you’re a reader, you don’t read one kind of book nor do you buy your book from only one retailer. The anxiety that exists in certain circles about the book business that the digital format is going to make print books obsolete is nonsense,” he said. “We think the formats are going to complement each other. In fact, we believe the formats will not only complement each other but will help each other grow and become stronger.”

New York Times Reports “Readers Return to the Stores”

The New York Times reported this week on “surprisingly strong sales for many bookstores” this holiday season. Booksellers told the newspaper that they are benefitting from a vibrant list, customers willing to buy more expensive titles, and the closing of Borders. The article, “E-Books, Shmee-Books: Readers Return to the Stores,” includes healthy sales figures from R. J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut, and Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, Wisconsin, along with quotes on favorite titles from booksellers including Peter Aaron of The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Cathy Langer of the Tattered Cover Book Store  in Denver, and Anne Holman of Salt Lake City’s The King’s English Bookshop.

Huffington Post Launches Book Club

The Huffington Post is launching the HuffPost Book Club as a way for readers to find books they might otherwise miss and “to be part of a larger community discussing their narratives and themes.” The club plans to team up with local book clubs and independent bookstores to host both online discussion and real-world events and will invite readers to submit blog posts as they read.

The Book Club will officially start on January 3, with its first selection The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (Random House). On February 7, the club will host a free event with Obreht at New York’s  St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York City.  Nine other “eclectic” picks are planned for the club’s first year.

November Retail Sales Rise 4.5 Percent

Promotions on holiday gifts helped create a strong start of the 2011 holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, November retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 0.09 percent from October and 4.5 percent over last year. November retail sales recently released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.2 percent from October, and 6.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

In light of stronger-than-expected November and previous months’ sales, NRF said that it will be reevaluating its holiday forecast of 2.8 percent growth. NRF estimates that 226 million shoppers visited retail stores and websites Black Friday weekend, spending a record $52 billion Thanksgiving Day through the following Sunday.

Ingram to Distribute Turner Publishing

Ingram Publisher Services has inked a deal to provide distribution services to Nashville, Tennessee’s Turner Publishing beginning January 1. Turner will maintain sales and marketing functions and will work with Ingram to expand the reach of its content to more readers worldwide.

Turner Publishing imprints include Turner,, Fieldstone Alliance, Iroquois Press, Trade Paper Press, and Ramsey & Todd.