Barnes & Noble’s next half-hearted attempt to revive its fortunes involves opening the type of store it was closing only a decade ago. Washington Business Journal reports that B&N will open a prototype store in Fairfax, VA, next year:
The Barnes & Noble, slated to open in June, will take up 8,630 square feet at 2921 District Ave., according to a contractor bid site. The book store will be significantly smaller than the traditional Barnes & Noble and even half the size of its recently opened One Loudoun concept, home to a quick-service restaurant.
Going small? That appears to be the Barnes & Noble plan.
Leonard Riggio, the founder and chairman, said in September on the company’s first quarter 2019 earnings call that “we’re prototyping stores maybe as little as 8,000 to 10,000” square feet. Most of its recent stores are in the 10,000 to 14,000-square-foot range.
Barnes & Noble representatives were not immediately available for comment to go into more detail about the Mosaic store. Edens only described the outpost in a release as a “new-concept format.”
The thing about this concept store is that B&N used to have a whole chain of bookstores this size. It was called B Dalton’s, and was originally owned by Target. B&N literally had hundreds of stores around 10k square feet in size, and they closed them all because B&N believed that the big box stores were the future.
One could look at this and conclude B&N screwed up when it closed those stores, but I’d disagree. This is just the one store, not fifty. It’s a tepid experiment, not a bold move forward.
No, this is just B&N flailing around in a confused panic at a time when only taking bold and risky chances can possibly save the company.
It’s 2018, and it is universally agreed that authors need to be business people if they want to be successful. (This includes traditionally published authors, who are expected to bring their own audience and do their own marketing). Yes, everyone says that, but have you thought it through?
The reason I ask is that I just realized I had overlooked one obvious implication of the idea that authors are business people, and I was wondering if I was the only one late to the party.
The thing about businesses is that they need to schedule their sales to take advantage of retail cycles. This includes the biggest retail event of the year, Black Friday. Readers will have their credit cards out on Black Friday, so authors should be planning how they will take advantage of the opportunity.
You’ve ordered business cards and other documents from printers before, right? Did you ever wonder why the colors sometimes looked muddy or muted compared to the digital source?
Then you are lucky. I just had to discard an order of business cards because the colors were too muted to really catch the eye (I don’t always use brightly colored business cards, but this time it was important). Luckily for me, Vistaprint has a very customer-friendly refund policy, or I would have had to either eat the cost or use the cards.
I’d like to share a trick I learned this week, and save you from running into the same problems I did. It all comes down to color, and how the colors on your screen are created using different shades from the ink colors used to print a document.
RGB vs CMYK
The most common standard for displaying color on screen involves shades of red, green, and blue light being emitted from the screen. This is commonly referred to by the acronym “RGB” or as the RGB color model. It can’t display all colors, but by combining two or more primary colors a screen can show you everything from white ( red plus green plus blue) to cyan (green plus blue), magenta (red plus blue), and yellow (red plus green). (Wikipedia)
Printer ink, on the other hand, uses a different standard set of colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK, or the CMYK color model), and depending on the sophistication of the printer, it may even have more inks. For example, white ink is a popular fifth color, due to the fact that CMYK can’t display white (it is assumed you are usually printing on white paper and if you want white then no ink will be deposited). (Wikipedia)
There are many technical differences between the two color models, but the important one here is that they don’t line up for easy conversion. There are some colors you can do in RGB that you can’t do in CMYK, and vice versa.
This usually isn’t a problem because designers are used to designing for both color gamuts, and printers are used to getting RGB images and will automatically convert them to CMYK. This is why you may never have heard of this issue until I brought it to your attention.
To give you an example, if you have POD books with Createspace or Ingram and they have never said anything to you about CMYK or RGB, that is because they fixed this for you behind the scenes.
But sometimes you choose a color that doesn’t covert well, and as a result the print product will have muddy colors compared to the digital original.
Again, you may never have to worry about this; I’ve been having stuff printed for 15 years, and I only had to learn about this issue this week because this one time the colors had to be perfect and they weren’t.
But I want to save you from learning this lesson the hard way with your next print project, so in the interest of helping you learn from my mistakes, here’s how you check to see if you have a color issue
If you have Photoshop or another professional image editing tool, you can change the color model in one of the settings menus, then save the image and see how the colors changed. Or, you can have your graphic designer take care of it.
I don’t have a sophisticated image editing tool; instead, I use free online tools (and when that doesn’t work, I hire an expert). So when I had to fix the colors on my business cards, I found a couple automated online tools that did the job.
Once you have run your images through the conversion tool, you should compare them to the original. Make sure the colors match; if they don’t then you may want to seek expert help in either matching the colors or finding alternatives that look okay.
When I set out to fix my color issues, I ended up choosing different colors that were brighter and that I knew would be compatible with CMYK, but that may not be an option for you.
Apple is now promoting their word processing app with the pitch that you can use it to publish a book to Apple Books:
Publish your book directly to Apple Books from Pages on your iPad, iPhone, Mac, or online at iCloud.com. With Pages, you can create a book, then publish it directly to the store in Apple Books. You can customize your book during the publishing process: add a cover, set your price or offer it for free, add tags to specify age groups or subjects, set up a pre-order, customize availability by date and country, and more. You can also update an already submitted book.
This is going to be a great option for those whose books don’t need a lot of professional editing and/or formatting. (That isn’t snark; my workbooks need a lot of formatting, so this option is no good for me.)
This update doesn’t bode well for the long-neglected iBooks Author. That app has only bee updated an average of once a year since 2014, and Apple cares so little about it that Apple hasn’t even changed the app’s name yet.
Now the WSJ is reporting that the mystery retailer was WHSmith,
For months, people in the publishing industry wondered about the identity of the mystery would-be buyer.
People familiar with the situation say it was WH Smith PLC, a U.K. retailer that sells books, stationery and other products.
A spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble declined to comment. The company said last month that it is evaluating a possible sale and noted it had received interest from multiple parties, including executive chairman, Leonard Riggio.
Representatives for W.H. Smith didn’t respond to requests for comment.
I don’t think WHSmith was really that interested – not after it got a look at B&N’s books, anyway – but this story is quite plausible. After walking away from the B&N deal, WHSmith announced it was paying $148 million for InMotion, an airport retailer with 114 stores in 43 airports.
With annual revenues around $1.6 billion, it’s not hard to guess why WHSmith passed on buying B&N. Not only is B&N significantly larger, it is also financially unhealthy and is run by a management team that is given to turning what should be well-kept secrets into embarrassing public spectacles.
If B&N interacted with WHSmith with the same nasty infighting as B&N is now conducting itself in public, no wonder WHSmith backed out of the deal.
Whether you’re a writer of nonfiction — blogs, articles, technical and nonfiction writing — or an author of books and fiction, you know how important it is to be active and engaged on social media. It might seem like a headache or a chore to keep up with so much when you’d rather be spending your time working on your writing, but there are some easy ways to make your social media efforts both efficient and even fun. Here are some tips for a successful social media strategy.
Don’t Just Post—Engage!
Spreading the word about your latest articles or new book release is the primary reason you’re on social media as a writer. But in a sea of other writers promoting their own publications, you need to stand apart from the crowd. Show yourself as not just a marketer of your own work, but a curious and approachable person who’s using social media the right way—to be social. Take the time to respond to followers comments and likes whenever possible. Ask questions in your posts to start conversations. Seek out other writers in your industry or genre, and introduce yourself before connecting as friends or followers. Above all, be genuine in your responses and be willing to go the extra mile for your readers. Take, for example, the case of John Green, prolific and adored writer of YA novels. As a vlogger with his own Youtube channel, he does unboxing videos and mentions how he’ll be signing 200,000 copies of his latest book. Now, while that’s not feasible for most writers, it’s his passion and willingness to go the extra mile that wins him such adoring fans. Consider doing 20 or 200 After all, he has more than 5 million Twitter fans, and 2 million Instagram followers, so it’s safe to say he’s doing something very right.
If all your followers see from you is nothing but your own accomplishments, they’re going to either become very bored and/or b) be turned off by your selfishness. Make sure to praise other writers, both in your industry or genre and outside of it. Encourage your followers to read the publications of these writers, and be specific about why, and what you liked about a particular work. This will show you to be more than just a self-advertising machine and will encourage more people to interact with you in return. For a healthy balance, Livehacked suggests posting about your own work only 20% of the time, while the remaining 80% should be dedicated to engaging with your audience and/or promoting the work of others.
There’s more to social media than posting, retweeting, and liking. To gain new followers and attract loyalty from those who are already in your network, try hosting giveaways or posting reader-submitted photos, or launching a hashtag campaign for your latest project.
Because writing is such a solitary endeavor that the creative writing process is often a mystery, so offer your followers a view into your world as much as is possible within your comfort level. For example, post photos of yourself on your book tour or at home at your writing desk or even during the interviews for your research. These snapshots into your writing life are sure to lure followers who are curious to see the background of how your book or articles came to light.
Use it for Research Purposes
What better way to engage an audience and be productive than to ask the very people who are already invested in your work? Crowdsource ideas from your followers on anything from your newest title or subject matter to book cover design. You’ll get real-time and authentic feedback from those who have your best interests at heart. You can also use social media as a research tool by asking for interviews or finding subject matter experts for further information to fuel your writing.
Just like your writing, social media works best when your heart is in it. People can smell it when you’re only out for self-promotion or when you’re not being authentic. Avoiding business speak and maintaining a friendly and casual tone is the best way to gain genuine partnerships and/or loyal followers online.