Part of Borders’ new RomCon (Denver, July 9-11) is a reader-judged award called The Readers’ Crown.  The winners in each of 11 categories receive some pretty impressive in-store promotion.  

Congratulations to our finalists:

ANNE MARSH – THE HUNT, Best First Book



EMILY BRYAN – “My Lady Below Stairs” from A CHRISTMAS BALL, Best Novella

A full list of finalists can be found here.


Borders is the primary sponsor of the 2010 RomCon, a conference aimed primarily at romance readers and scheduled to take place July 9-11 in Denver. 

Published authors may want to take note of their Reader’s Crown contest. The books will be judged by selected romance readers, and the winner receives special display space in Borders stores and coverage on Borders’ True Romance blog.  Then again, it also costs $75 to enter.  Worth it if you win, but at almost twice the cost of entering the Ritas, it’s hard to give a wholehearted endorsement.

Readers can get five free books and $10 off conference fees if they’d like to apply to be a judge.

For those who didn’t get goodies at RWA–or are maybe looking for more:

Elisabeth Naughton is hosting 30 Days of Freebies on her blog in preparation for the release of STOLEN HEAT later this month.

You can nab a free Sandra Hill story here.  The link should pop open a window with the pdf.

For every 4 books you buy at Borders, you can pick one up free.

Get MY SOUL TO LOSE free at Books On Board.  This is a teaser/prequel to the launch book in Harlequin’s new teen imprint, MY SOUL TO TAKE.

Sue Grimshaw, romance buyer for Borders/WaldenBooks, recently launched the True Romance video series as part of Borders’ mega updates to its website.  So far she’s interviewed Lisa Jackson and Lisa Kleypas on their newest releases.

Today, news broke that Barnes & Noble is also getting into “vlogging,” wherein every week booksellers around the country will talk about  recommended reads across a number of genres.  The booksellers are in their stores with a FlipCam–no fancy studio or equipment (and sometimes that’s not so good)–and you get the sense that they really love the books they’re recommending.  In this one, Kirsty from Seattle talks about Deanna Rayborn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE.

I love the idea of the videos, but to make them work, I think retailers should:

  • make sure they’re easily accessible with a link from the homepage to something that says “Video” or “Videos, Reviews & More” or “Behind the Books” or something – I don’t necessarily make a quick connection that the “B&N Studio” or “Borders Media” tabs are going to give me content like exclusive interviews, recommendations and reviews.
  • link videos to the book description page
  • make it possible to embed the videos on blogs.  I know they probably want to drive traffic directly to the site, but these days, it really seems sharing is the best way to go.  And isn’t the point to spread the message and build the brand?
  • have a good mix of known authors, but even more importantly, let people know about up-and-comers.  Most readers already know the big bestsellers and when their books are releasing. 

Has watching a video ever made you buy a book?  Or do you mostly look for videos from authors you already know?

Ok, so they’re still firing people, and that’s definitely not good.  But Shelf Awareness reports that Borders also announced:

…the company is “moving to more frequent replenishment order cycles–about three times faster than in the past–and with a far greater level of automated ordering. This will mean fewer out-of-stocks, faster response to sales trends and more predictable order flow. Not only will this change help us drive sales, but it will also improve inventory productivity and reduce returns, driving efficiencies for both our company and yours.”

From what I’ve seen and heard from some authors, some stores weren’t carrying the stock they previously had and many new books were on backorder for two to three weeks, meaning customers would have to go to the store, request a title they couldn’t find on the shelves, then wait more than a week, then go back to the store to finally pick it up.  Assuming they didn’t just drive home and order from Amazon. 

In other Borders news, paranormal sales in 2008 were up more than 30% from the previous year, and Regency/Victorian-set titles still account for the strongest sales among historicals.

And just to get you out and shopping, Borders is offering 40% off any book–no minimum purchase–for Reward members this weekend.