BookScan, a subsidiary of Dutch media conglomerate VNU that provides books sales data to publishers, has added point-of-sale information from Borders Group stores to its sales reports and has also launched a subscription-based Web site that will offer aggregated sales information to users. The Borders sales figures will be combined with data from Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Costco, Target, Hastings, Musicland and various independent bookstores and small chains.
BookScan has been developing its service since 1997 and initially offered a subscription to the reports from B&N on a proprietary Web site, which also limited access to sales figures to the subscriber's own titles. With subscriptions running as much as $75,000 per year, some felt the price was an obstacle to publishers adopting the service, and it was slow to catch on. BookScan now claims 130 subscribers for the B&N— only service, which will continue to run alongside the new, richer Web site, though many subscribers are expected to roll over to the new site. The new site promises to deliver 800 bestseller lists broken down by subject, format, region and metropolitan area. Weekly reports delivered to subscribers will give details about specific titles, including market share divided into eight major regions and 99 metropolitan areas, as well as sales by price point and type of store.
BookScan v-p Jim King believes the additional data will be an extra incentive for publishers to subscribe. He told PW, "We're offering a good product at a good value. If a publisher can reduce its returns by 1% or 2%, it would be enough to offset the cost completely." The new pricing has yet to be finalized.