Why do books come out after the holidays?

As James pointed out in our earlier Scoundrels post, it seems like every year lately there’s been a Star Wars book that comes out almost directly after the holiday. Many of us has been wondering about that in light of Scoundrels, but there is a solid reason, according to LFL’s Jennifer Heddle:

Makes sense! And hey, it’s good for those of us who only want gift cards anyway…

9 Replies to “Why do books come out after the holidays?”

  1. A very convincing retcon statement. Excellent marketing spin.

    As someone who works in the publishing industry, however, I can tell you it is far more likely they were targeting the holiday period (or just before the holiday period, to avoid the avalanche she mentions) as their pub date, but production delays caused it to get pushed out until January.

  2. The release date in this case was never before the holidays, though. It was the 26th, then moved to the 1st. Months and months ahead of time. And that’s been the pattern for years – check out James’ list.

  3. I worked in a bookstore for 6 years, so this is just my perspective on it all.

    While a lot of stock comes in from November to December, everything gets unpacked. An unpacked box = unsold books. Nothing got to us employees more than a cart of books sitting in the back. Even having it out unsorted on the salesfloor meant someone can see what’s there and buy stuff. The shelves and displays are thinning and everything, EVERYTHING gets shoved out to the floor.

    For new releases, they are always treated different. Typically, they received displays at the front of the store, special sections, or tables. SOS (strict-on-sale) books are treated even more special with Tuesday morning priority and even more prominent displays (if the publisher so chooses to buy the space). If they have no special place, New Arrivals tables are where they will end up first in many cases.

    Having a new SW novel at the front of a store during the last 2 weeks before Christmas is critical. People will, and do, buy anything that seems of interest to someone on their list. I’d get 3 copies at least from various people. Many non-fans just know the basics of the SW fandom. Seeing Chewbacca, Han, Lando, and the logo would be “Ohh, Star Wars! That’s a thing!”

    End of December – mid January is the time of returns, kids using their gift cards, buying what you didn’t get, and deal hunting. More stuff gets lost during the clean up that ever would during the mad rush. I’ve always been confused by SW books coming out AFTER the holidays.

  4. And Scoundrels was the one thing on my list….(well, maybe not the one, but number one…)

  5. Yeah, I don’t get her logic either. There are a lot of people (myself included) who would have this on their gift list and now don’t. If her concerns are valid, then why not have the eReader versions at least out for Christmas. That’s all I want anyway.

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