By Edward Nawotka
The Target superstore near my house has already put its Halloween merchandise on sale and moved it to make room for…Christmas cards and holiday wreaths. This is the earliest I can ever remember a retailer pushing Christmas product. It’s dismaying, and I’m not alone in feeling so. Earlier this month, Innocent Madawo wrote in the Toronto Sun of his surprise at finding that “Costco had Christmas displays out in mid August; Sears already has catalogues on the go and is inviting the media to talk Christmas.” He quotes Bruce Cran, president of the Consumer Association of Canada, as saying “It’s tasteless, if not offensive, particularly to those Canadians of Christian background and (even) other religions (and cultures) that recognize Christmas” Cran added that it “is not exactly attractive” and “I don’t think consumers in general are going to be impressed by retailers’ efforts.” Madawo acknowledges, the recession is to blame. My fear is that retailers, by too aggressively pushing product this early in the year, will burn out book buyers and other shoppers who are working with limited resources. That, or they will simply wait out the retailers’ early efforts, hoping for deep discounts as the holiday season nears, further cutting into publishers already slim profits.
Variety talks to HarperCollins publisher Carrie Kania, who breaks the mold of the clichéd staid New York editor. She admits to being a “pop-culture junkie” with a “notorious shoe addiction.” Formerly the head of HarperPerennial, she now runs the new imprint “It Books.” Variety writes, “Now it’s Kania’s job, in addition to continuing to oversee four other HarperCollins imprints, to pick the starmaking — and frequently star-driven — It vehicles that can capture the public’s increasingly short attention span. ‘The challenge is trying to identify the ones that aren’t going to last for a minute and to get a public to come to it,’ says Kania, who is planning on publishing 25 hardcover and paperback books a year.”
Times Moscow Times talks to the founders of Theoryandpractice.ru, who discuss the new popularity of lecture series in Russia’s capital city. “Before, lectures were mainly limited to museums. The Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum have long held lectures on art history, but now you can find talks on fashion, literature, ecology and economics, and increasingly at trendy restaurants and modern art centers like Winzavod and Garage.”