Nov 14, 2022
Shannon DeVito is Barnes and Noble's 'Director of Books.' We met via Zoom to discuss the roles and duties associated with this intriguing-sounding position. I discovered that they include co-ordinating the relationship between national and local book-buying teams; 'assortment' work; creating initiatives - including prizes ( e.g. the Discover Prize; most recent winner: The Rabbit Hutch, a debut novel which I'll shortly be 'book-clubbing' [having bookclub-type discussion, so to say] with James Daunt), book clubs, monthly book picks, etc. - for the company's promotional book strategy; developing campaigns with the publishing industry for important releases; negotiating 'exclusive' opportunities. Creating buzz basically, plus adding value to the experience of visiting a physical bookstore while taking market share away from Amazon without caring what they're up to. We look at B&N's pro-active influencing of taste and the leveraging of its role as big-time book recommender; plus there's a tiny bit of politics - the ethics of selling and profiting off stuff that might adversely affect democracy (only a tiny bit) - AND we discuss the recent explosion of Manga.
As promised during our conversation, here are Shannon's top recommendations of the day: