Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

Three days since a blog entry…I’m sorry about that. Your friendly neighborhood bookseller is having some sort of problem with his foot, a sprain, maybe, hopefully nothing worse, but it limits his hobbling about and everything seems to take more time.

Yeah, I know. Excuses are like…

*** Barnes & Noble is expected to report lower holiday sales, no doubt blaming the downturn on the economy, the catch-all excuse used by such under-performers as ebay. Well, I say posh! That’s right, you read correctly: posh!

I’m sorry to use such harsh language, but it can’t be helped. I am on just about every email and snail mail list in existence and I can tell you that B&N’s marketing efforts over Christmas were dreadful, just awful. And their post-Christmas marketing did not exist. Let’s contrast them and Borders, shall we?

Just before Christmas, BBG decided that he would get Mrs. BBG an audiobook, although he didn’t know which one. There was no time left for online shopping, he wanted it in his hand. Well, B&N had sent out specific coupons for specific items, but not something BBG wanted. Border’s, on the other hand, sent out a 40% off, your choice coupon. So that’s where he wound up, even though Border’s is 10 miles from his house and B&N less than 2. While there, he bought two additional items.

Marketing. B&N tells you what they want you to buy, Border’s gives you the choice. There might even be a political message there but we’ll leave that for another blog.

After Christmas, BBG had two nice B&N gift certificates to spend online. He was hoping for a nifty after Christmas coupon and browsed their site, settling on 8 books that were over his certificate levels, meaning he would have to spend some of his own money. But with a nice discount, he would have done this. Except B&N never sent an after-Christmas coupon, so that extra money stayed in BBG’s pocket and all B&N got was his certificates, for no additional revenue. Stupid.

So don’t listen to that nonsense about the economy being responsible for some of the lack of business out there. Yes, perhaps in some cases it’s true, but at least two companies have brought this on themselves through bad marketing and/or management: ebay & B&N.

Barnes & Noble chokes at Christmas

*** Although dead for nearly 40 years, Professor John Robert Tuell Tolkien continues publishing books, and I’m damned glad of it. Coming in May is The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, written long before The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings and having nothing to do with Middle Earth. Mark this one down as being a must read for anyone who loves ME, because whether or not its part of the canon, it is surely part of the influence.

Tolkien’s newest old work

*** In the ‘please don’t insult my intelligence’ category, the author of the popular Conversations With God series, Neal Donald Walsch, admits now that an essay he wrote wasn’t actually his, that he plagarized it from Candy Chand who published it 10 years ago in a small magazine named Clarity. His excuse? “Mr. Walsch now says he made a mistake in believing the story was something that had actually come from his personal experience.”

Huh? He thought it was his memory but it was really something that he read? And even if that’s true, how could his memory then match an essay almost word for word?

Rubbish. Although one must sense a certain bit of irony in the New York Times reporting a story about plagarism, given their nickname ‘All the News That’s Fit to Invent”.

Godly writers goes unGodly