3. Is anyone else having problems with New Blogger? Not only am I getting more spam, but…yeah: comments, spam, loading weirdness, and I’m really not lovin’ the fact that Word to Blogger program doesn’t work anymore. Anyone else having these problems/complaints?
So I’ve been sitting here thinking about numbers, specifically sales numbers of books vs. viewer numbers for TV shows. Why is it that Grey’s Anatomy can routinely pull in twenty-five million viewers, but very few books will ever experience those kinds of numbers? What is it about television that has made it a more appealing medium than the written word?
Now, let me make it clear that I don’t expect a single title (that is not Harry Potter) to have the same mass appeal of G.A. You can’t expect that many people to turn to one novel when they have thousands upon thousands a year to pick from when compared to less than the hundred shows on at any hour. Add to that that television feeds into our short attention spans, allowing us to limit our time devoted to any one thing. With a smaller selection to choose from it makes sense that shows can command larger audiences. Even shows considered to be failing (250,000 viewers or less) command a larger audience than most print runs.
But this reduced selection driving higher numbers can be seen in the book world as well, take the success of Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, for example. As the book club pick of the Starbucks company, A Long Way Gone benefits from not having any direct competition within the Starbucks stores. As the only title present in a store otherwise devoted to coffee and coffee products, the title has a chance to attract both regular readers and those who might never step into a bookstore on their own. This larger audience brings in more sales not only via Starbucks, but by the people who see the book at Starbucks and choose to pick it up at a more traditional outlet. My store had many people who chose to buy the former Starbucks’ title (Mitch Albom’s For One More Day) from us because of our discount card. How do I know this? Well, they’d come right out and tell us.
Is this happening with Beah’s book? I can only assume so when 9,000 copies were sold during the first week in bookstores alone (17,000 were attributed to “other”—read: Starbucks, etc—outlets), which is amazing (at least in my mind) for a debut nonfiction title on heavy subject matter.
So is Starbucks acting like ABC with A Long Way Gone taking the place of Grey’s Anatomy? Is that even possible?
I’ll let those of you not suffering the loopiness of allergy meds figure it out. Let me know your thoughts.