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Counting the Cost (to Authors) of S&S/B&N Rift

As the dispute over terms between Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble drags on, an experience related by bestselling novelist William Kent Krueger reminds us it’s authors who are paying the price. On his blog, Kent’s Rants, Krueger explains how he learned about the conflict:

I’ve been setting up my tour for Tamarack County, which comes out on August 20.  I’d arranged two events at Barnes and Noble stores in the Twin Cities, two stores that have been strong supporters of my work from the beginning and that sell enormous quantities of my work.  Then I got the word from New York: No visits to B&N.

He goes on to say:

Many S&S authors’ works are no longer being ordered or displayed.  I suspect this rift, which has been dragging on for months, has drastically affected my sales and the sales of other Simon and Schuster authors.

Recently, S&S reported only a three percent drop in first quarter sales, insisting that stepped up marketing and distribution efforts had largely offset any loss of business at B&N. But as Krueger (and other writers who commented on his blog) illustrates, authors can’t so easily shrug off the consequences of this battle.