The national book store chain Borders folded in 2011, leaving Barnes & Noble as the undisputed king of Big Huge Chain Bookstores. In that specific industry, B&N has had no competition for the past year and a half. Yet they are preparing to downsize anyhow. The Big Huge Chain Bookstore golden era has passed.
Borders, America's second biggest book store chain, died this summer, its red-trimmed outlets sinking inexorably into a savage sea of red ink. (Beat that lede, Wall Street Journal!) For Barnes & Noble, the most popular book chain, this could be interpreted as good news: its biggest competitor was gone. Or, bad news: book stores are a dying industry.
• Comcast is "leaning toward" keeping Jeff Zucker as NBC Universal's CEO if it goes ahead with a deal to buy take control of the company. [Bloomberg]
• The Fine Living Network will be rebranded as the Cooking Channel—and positioned as a Food Network competitor—in the second half of 2010. [AdAge]
• Some laid-off staffers at Condé Nast are furious about the severance they've received; chances are ex-Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl isn't one of them. [NYP]
• Does NBC's decision to cancel Southland "signal an abandonment of a decades-long commitment to drama"? Some seem to think so. Meanwhile, the show's producers are looking for a new home for the cop drama. [NPR, LAT]
• Let the hair battle begin: Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be a contestant on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice next season. [CT]
• Two years after he was booted from MSNBC and CBS Radio for making racist comments, Fox Business is now in talks to team up with Don Imus. [LAT]
• Is Hachette selling Elle? The company seems to be hedging. [AdAge]
• Magazine publishers are allowing advertisers to slap their ads just about any place they want these days. They're also planning to keep printing those annoying subscription cards until the end of time. [NYT, AdAge]
• ABC is planning a big programming push for the fall with seven new series set to debut, which is roughly double what NBC and CBS have planned. [USAT]
• CNBC's ratings are down big, in case you haven't heard. [Guardian]
• G.I. Joe was No. 1 at the box office this weekend, grossing an estimated $56 million. Julie and Julia came in second place with $20.1 million. [Variety]
• Janice Min isn't renewing her contract as editor-in-chief of Jann Wenner's Us Weekly. Her No. 2, Michael Steele, will become acting editor in chief. [NYT]
• Condé Nast announced yesterday that it had retained the management consulting firm McKinsey to "develop new perspectives." They sure have their work cut out for them. Condé revealed today that its monthly mags witnessed a 37 percent drop in advertising in September. [Gawker, AdAge, NYO]
• More pain at Condé may be on the way: "Significant cost cuts, including more layoffs and the closing of more magazines" are coming, says Keith Kelly. [NYP]
• Yet more Condé news: The company is closing down Men.Style.com so it can focus on the soon-to-be relaunched websites of GQ and Details. [AdAge]
• The Boston Globe's largest union voted yesterday to approve the new contract that had been proposed by the New York Times Co. [NYT, E&P]
• This can't be a good sign about the state of affairs at CNN: Time Warner Cable is moving it from channel 10 to 78 and replacing it with FX. [MCN]
• Paramount chief Brad Grey has renewed his contract for 5 more years. [NYT]
• Meredith Corp. is shutting down Country Home magazine. [MW]
• The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet is ending this summer. [NYT]
• Barnes & Noble reports sales dropped off in 2008, not surprisingly. [WSJ]
• CBS slashed its Tel Aviv bureau just before war erupted in Gaza. [NYO]
• Oprah's weight-gain confessional scored big ratings for Monday's show. [NYP]
After Amazon announced an exclusive deal with the publisher of American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner's new book, Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency—in which they will be the book's only seller for its first two weeks—Barnes & Noble cut their order of the title. "A spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble later said she couldn't recall another example where a major title wasn't available to all booksellers at the same time." [WSJ]
Brand-new author with a book coming out? Turns out your literary star may burn brighter than you think! Publishing houses have long been known to pay bookstore giants for prime sales floor positions for the titles they're putting their weight behind-that's nothing new. But it turns out chains like Barnes and Noble also employ some sort of secret algorithm based on an author's previous B&N sales to determine where a book gets stashed in the store. First-time authors aren't penalized for their blank track records-good news for all you eager beaver up-and-comers! But if your last book blew (we're looking at you, James Lipton) or if it happened to catch Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani on one of her many many cranky days, head back to the Self-Help section where you might find your Great American Novel wedged spine-in under Astrology. If you have knowledge of the secret code, let us know.
Last week I
bitched wrote about a delayed order for the new Fake Steve Jobs book, Options, from Amazon.com. An email from the online store told me that the book, out today at a Borders near you, had been rescheduled for a December shipment. I emailed CEO Jeff Bezos with my sob story and got a very apologetic email from Executive Customer Relations. I now know that my "experience with this order has been unordinary and not truly representative of the quality of service we offer." Well, that's a relief. Maybe I'll get free overnight shipping. Until then, I'll have to be happy with excerpts. The full email after the jump.