[LMB] M/F LMB Readership

Paula Lieberman paal at filker.org
Sat Sep 26 00:26:26 BST 2015

The three Market Baskets in the town I live in * went from several 
bookcases, each with five or six shelves, to two rotating racks of 
paperbacks, to one rotating rack,  to a single checkout counter endcap of 
paperbacks, over the past several years. The stores do NOT seem to make the 
decision about what goes on the endcap, instead a disributor lists 
"bestsellers" according to I presume pre-ordering done by the book 
distributor, and fills the slots of the pitfual endcap (something like five 
to seven tiers, five more or less wire pockets for paperbacks per tier, and 
three or four depending on book thickness, copies of a paperback per pocket. 
There's a list of bestsellers according to the distributor and the books 
present are from  the list.  Not every book on the list is present on each 
endcapt in each store.

Recent books which I remember seeing the past few months on endcaps include 
Siren by Jayne Ann Krentz writing at Jayne Ann Castle, some Regency or 
Victorian historical romance, Clive Cussler "prestige" format "tal" 
paperbacks, some contemporary non-Harlequin romances, and sundry other 
books, such as similiar to Cussler of being action-adventure or thrillers. 
None of them seem to sell all that well, it's a case not of what the 
supermarket does, of keeping close track of what is and isn;t selling in 
each store...

Market Basket's estimated profit margins are 8% --yes, if you know what 
typical margins are in supermarkets, you're probably goggling and going 
"that's GOT to be wrong" to which the response is -"Uh-uh, that's the 
estimate, Market Basket is perhaps the best-run supermarket chain in the 
USA.  It bucks all the conglomerate run-by-MBA-CEOs dogma, the CEO started 
off working as a teenaged bagger at the bottom of the hierarchy, even though 
he was a member of the famiy which founded and owned the chain The managers 
all started at the bottom and worked their way up.  Managers are hand-on, 
and do display set-up.  Restocking is live in the middle of the day, and 
store associates have responsibilities for particular aisles and sections of 
stores, and interact with the customers.   There are no loyalty cards. 
Price checkers recently went into the stores, one at the ends of aisles very 
few aisles.  Lots of items are individually price-marked, with the labels 
applied manually with labelling guns.

Different stores carry different items, base on what's selling in the 
particular stores.

The books appear to be a concession sort of thing, it's not what's selling 
in the store which detemines what goes on the endcap rack, it's what the 
distributor delivers to the store as "bestseller" lists... the store 
employees might put the books out, but they're not monitoring the sales they 
way they are clearly visible during store hours with handheld scanners for 
inventory control in the groceries etc. aisles, restocking the shelves, 
moving items from the back of the shelves forward as customers take items 
off the shelves, etc.

Anyway, this is  very long digression--the merchandise on store shelves 
comes in different varieties, of what the individual store managers and 
associates are keeping track of an -know- and know their customers' buying 
patterns, and then there's what the suppliers pay to place... placement of 
stuff on supermarket shelves and aisles, often involves deals from 
distributors and manufacturers and other suppliers.... the bottom line for 
profit, though, is if an item does not -sell-, the store is not getting as 
much profit as it would if the item were -selling-, even if a distributor or 
supplier is paying a display fee!

The faster merchandise turns pver, the more profit the store makes per 
square foot of selling space  If there merchandise sits there, the only 
"profit" is what the store is being paid, if anything, for a 
supplier/distributor paying for space to promote the product... but then the 
distributor/supplier is -losing- money if the product fails to sell, or gets 
marked down by the store to be gotten rid of before the expiration date (for 

* there are three Market Baskets, and no -other- supermarkets... when Purity 
pulled out of the north end of town to move into a stripmall created in the 
center of town, Market Basket, which is headquartered less than ten miles 
away, announced it would put a supermarket in replacing the hole opened 
up--the townfolk in the north part of town had been upset that they were 
losing a supermarket (yes, there are more than a million reasons why the 
Market Basket crisis last year played out the way it played out, the public 
turned activist/participatory) and were very happy that Market Basket 
stepped in to fill the hole  Meanwhile, Puritey decided to sell itself to a 
conglomerate and to shut down the in-town warehouse. Between that, and 
people in town being ticked off at the "Berlin Mall" replacing a house and 
barn which had turned out to be on the historic register which no one had 
happened to notice/pay attention to, the townsfolk stopped patroning the 
Purity.. so it closed, and what replaced the empty big footpring foodstore, 
was a local hardware store which got to massively expands its space.  That 
left the town with three Market Basket supermarkets, and thtat's where the 
situaiton has sat for something like 15+ years now!) hundreds of thousands 
of res

--Paula Lieberman
-----Original Message----- 
From: Sylvia McIvers
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2015 12:50 PM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: Re: [LMB] M/F LMB Readership

On Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 7:18 AM, Paula Lieberman <paal at filker.org> wrote:

> <snip very interesting information>
> One of the things ebooks have to offer, is that the covers are not on
> display in bookstores or where there have generally been  misogynistic 
> male
> (or misogynistic women..) gatekeepers playing de facto rejection
> filters--years ago truck drivers who delivered books to bookracks in
> supermarkets and other stores, made the decisions about what books got on
> racks in stores.  Covers which -they- liked, went on the shelves--and
> people can't buy on a whim, books which aren't present on shevles.

Really? If the store manager orders something, the truck driver can decide
not to deliver? Or they can unpack and shelve one box (if the union allows
it) and not shelve another with an icky cover - but the manager would
certainly readjust shelivng as needed.

Now, if you're going to tell me that the -manager- won't buy icky covers,
I'd be more likely to believe you.

Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to paal at filker.org
Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list