It's Book Business Friday. When one reads about the book business these days, it isn't long before the topic of Nielsen BookScan comes up. In a nutshell, it's a service which publishers and media outlets pay for so they can find out (approximately) how many books are being sold by other companies. There is a lot of discussion about how accurate the numbers are, what retail outlets are used to compile the figures, and how the numbers are used by editors to decide the sales potential of an author they are considering signing. Here is a clear discussion by Editorial Anonymous. And as a follow-up to last week's post about the movie, "Julie & Julia," here is an article from the NY Times about how the movie has affected book sales. Notice that they quote BookScan.
Now, for a completely different angle. I have been vaguely imagining the large scale book scanning that goes on to create digital libraries as being kind of like me standing at a copy machine at Staples. The scales have fallen from my eyes. Check out this video below.