January 11, 2013

"Mostly dead is slightly alive" or How Faith Beats Math

by Alan Beatts

A recent spate of articles make much of reports from Nielson Bookscan about last years print book sales.  It seems that the rate of decline has seemingly leveled out.  At a paltry 9% per year.  Hooray!  According to Nielson, sales of all categories of books have dropped by that amount each year since 2009.

Ann Betts, who is Nielson's commercial director was quoted as saying, "In the context of a stagnant economy, challenging retail conditions and the growing adoption of ebooks [it] shows an underlying resilience in the market,"

The same news, combined with a Pew Research Center survey, was heralded by the Wall Street Journal in an article titled "Don't Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay".  That article goes on to say that "The initial e-book explosion is starting to look like an aberration."  The author notes just one paragraph earlier that the annual growth rate for e-book sales fell  down to the abysmal pit of _only_ 34%.  Wow.  I wish my business could get some of that aberration action.

The Christian Science Monitor is less enthusiastic in an article titled "Print book sales fell in 2012 – but no faster than they did in 2011, says Nielsen" though they do close with, "Only time will tell exactly what roles print and e-books will play in the lives of readers."

You know, the last time I fell out of an airplane, I was deeply relived when the speed that I fell the second 1000 feet was no faster than the first 1000 feet.  And I thought to myself, "So far, so good.  Only time will tell how this will end."

December Bestsellers

1. Cold Days by Jim Butcher
2. Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
3. The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
4. I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus by S.G. Browne
5. Outer Space, Inner Lands Vols. 1 & 2 by Ursula K. LeGuin
6. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
7. Blood and Bone by Ian Cameron Esslemont
8. Hobbit 75th Anniversary Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien
9. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
10. Velveteen vs. the Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Snuff by Terry Pratchett
3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
5. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
6. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
7. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
8. Earthbound by Joe Haldeman
9. Feed by Mira Grant
10. Timeless by Gail Carriger

Trade Paperbacks
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
2. World War Z by Max Brooks
3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
4. Hobbit 75th Anniversary Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

December News Roundup

* Borderlands Cafe is hosting a class through University of the Commons on SF Short Stories starting January 7th.  For more details see http://www.meetup.com/uotcsf/events/92794082/ .

* Saturday, January 26th at 9:00 pm, you can watch the 1922 silent movie "Nosferatu" at stunning Grace Cathedral, accompanied by Dorothy Papadakos on the great Aeolian-Skinner organ.  Tickets are $20, $10 for students and seniors. http://www.cityboxoffice.com/orderticketsarea.asp?p=6175&a=5452&backurl=%2Feventperformances.asp%3Fevt%3D1771%26SearchMonth%3D%26monthsubmit%3D%26SearchText%3D%26Go.x%3D%26Go.y%3D%26pg%3D%26spg%3D1%26c%3D

* Watch A MEMORY OF LIGHT being printed step by step! Thanks, Irene Gallo and Tor.com for bringing this to our attention. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/12/a-memory-of-light-being-printed-step-by-step

* The NY Times' Bestseller List has Max Brooks' ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE listed under "Paperback Nonfiction".  (It is currently #9 on the list.) Worried yet? http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2013-01-13/paperback-nonfiction/list.html

* 27 Science Fictions That Became Science Fact last year: http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/27-science-fictions-that-became-science-facts-in-2

* We have an unusual job opening at Borderlands Cafe.  It's not glamorous, but it would be great for a local high schooler or a nearby person with a flexible schedule.  The hours would be 7 pm - 9 pm, Monday - Friday, and the job would include cleaning, busing tables, and doing the closedown work at the Cafe.  Considering how short the hours are, the person really should live quite close to the cafe.  Pay is SF minimum wage, but you get to work with a great group of people and you get a discount at the bookstore!  Email jfeldman@borderlands-books.com for more information before sending a resume.

January Upcoming Events

Ramez Naam, NEXUS (Angry Robot, Trade Paperback, $14.99) Saturday, January 12th at 1:00 pm

Rudy Rucker, TURING & BURROUGHS (Transreal Books, Trade Paperback, $16.00) and COMPLETE STORIES VOLS. 1 & 2 (Transreal Books, Trade Paperbacks, $20.00 each volume) Saturday, January 12th at 3:00 pm

John R. Fultz, SEVEN KINGS (Orbit, Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, January 19th at 1:00 pm

SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street) with authors Steven Gould and Laura Mixon, Saturday January 19th at 7:00 pm

Cory Doctorow, HOMELAND (Tor, Hardcover, $17.99) Friday, February 8th at 7:00 pm

Brandon Sanderson, MEMORY OF LIGHT (Tor, Hardcover, $34.99) Saturday, February 9th at 3:00 pm

Marie Brennan. A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS: A MEMOIR BY LADY TRENT (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday, February 10th at 3:00 pm

Peter Brett, THE DAYLIGHT WAR (Del Rey, Hardcover, $28.00) Sunday, February 17th at 3:00 pm

Editor John Joseph Adams with special guest Seanan McGuire, THE MAD SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99 and Trade Paperback, $14.99) Saturday, February 23rd at 3:00 pm

Full details after the break