Placement costs rise, number of browsers drops

Close on the heels of last week’s post about small press books that the major booksellers won’t stock, The New York Times Book Review and the Denver Post reveal the going rates and procedures for getting your book on Barnes & Noble’s front tables and displays. Says Randy Kennedy:

Numbers are very hard to come by, but some publishers said that the price for placement on front-of-store promotional tables for only a few weeks or a month — in some cases, even, just one week — at Barnes & Noble stores can be between $10,000 and $20,000 per book, depending on the time of year. Placement on eye-catching cardboard displays can cost much more than $20,000.

David Milofsky recalls a comment from the past editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster: “Others sell shoes, we sell books. What’s the difference?”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press wonders if the bookstore browser is a dying breed:

Booksellers and publishers agree that an accelerated society can’t help affecting an industry known for taking its time.

They speak of a more “focused” consumer who knows what he or she wants, which is often the same as what others want — what Simon & Schuster CEO Jack Romanos calls “the herding mentality.”

Here’s a thought: maybe customers browse less because of the what’s laid out on the front tables. Or, as I said last year: “100 shitty books on the front table do not a classic make.”


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.