aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Buying Blind

Did you know that booksellers are sometimes offered a "blind" buy? They are simply told the book will be a blockbuster, and asked how many copies they want to buy - with no other information. This used to happen with Oprah picks. Those were a sure seller, and bookstores went along. Lately, there's been more of a backlash, especially since the latest blind buy was If I Did It, O.J. Simpson's supposed tell-all about how he murdered his estranged wife and her friend. Booksellers are angry, saying whether it is the latest book from someone in Princess Di's circle, or an Oprah book, or morning show book club pick, they need information to make an intelligent buy.

Another HarperCollins imprint, Morrow, had a blind book in September, which turned out to be a book about Princess Diana, The Way We Were, which has not sold well. Sales reps were instructed not to reveal the author or the contents of book. In Publishers Weekly, one bookseller said, "I was going to be really ticked if I'd ordered [Simpson's] book blind. I told myself I never was going to order an embargoed book again."

As another bookseller says, "Publishers, can you tell me if the book is paperback or hardcover? Is the book political in nature? Is it about the war? Terrorism? Is it biographical? About a musician, actor, an exposé? Is it a 'Hollywood' book or 'East Coast' book? Is it scandalous, shocking, controversial, or cutting-edge? Is it for those making the dating scene? More for twenty-somethings or for baby boomers? America's aging population? Is it about immigration? Native Americans? Global warming?"

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