As buyer for Time Out Books in Mt Eden, Nevena Nikolic (right) has put the best of the literary world in front of customers for the past eight years. In her new role as Sales & Marketing Manager for Nielsen Book Service she is doing the same – but now the bookstores are her customers.
Nevena took over the position at Nielsen in January 2014. Going from selling products to selling services has been a change of focus, but she is looking forward to a ‘full and fun year.’. Nevena says; “I really like all the client contact and the fact that I am the ’public‘ face of the company in New Zealand. I enjoy getting out and meeting as many clients as possible, helping to identify their needs and how we can better look after them.”
Book Lover from the beginning
Nevena became part of the fabled Time Out team of booksellers (below), after a career as a Book Publicist for various publishers – beginning at Hodder & Stoughton and their successors, then as a freelancer. Asked about her love of books, Nevena says: “I come from an immigrant background (Croatian) and English was my second-language until I went to school (it still is for my parents) so my love of reading and books is essentially self-taught. I joined the book club at Primary school and that was my main source of books until I could get to bookstores myself. I remember devouring the classics, Mills & Boons and mysteries in my teen years! Now I am squarely a literary reader with the odd interesting non-fiction and crime novel thrown in.”
Nevena’s role is to support booksellers to make the most of Nielsen’s offerings. Since starting in January this year, she’s been out on the road to Wellington to visit clients – a focus for the year ahead. Nevena will be at the Booksellers NZ conference on 22 June, other key events she’s attending include the Paper Plus Trade Show, and LIANZA’s Library conference in October.
Nevena enjoys working with booksellers: “I have a particular affinity for the concerns of booksellers and their role in the life of a book – and I am an ardent fan of BookData Online (front page below). It was my go-to website when making buying decisions to get more information or different information to that provided by the reps.”
The Nielsen Bestsellers
Nielsen Book Services has three main strands of service to the book industry in New Zealand: BookScan, BookData Online and Record Supply Service. BookScan is about sales, Bookdata Online is about sourcing titles (with 20 million records), and the Record Supply Service contains the web metadata that allows booksellers to enrich their own websites with Book Data, jacket images and details on forthcoming titles.
One of the most well-read and anticipated sections of The Read each week is of course the Nielsen Bestsellers list. Courtesy of Nielsen we are also able to publish the Indie Top 20 – reflecting the bestsellers for Independent bookstores. Comparisons between the bestseller lists are often revealing and can help bookstores pick up on what’s working for their colleagues – and competitors! – around the country.
How are the bestseller lists put together?
BookScan monitors sales from a panel of book retailers – enabling detailed and accurate sales information on which books are selling, and at what price for the book trade.
When creating the bestsellers list, Nielsen will ‘exclude certain titles likes those that are heavily discounted or sold as a class set that would skew the data.’ There is an art to the construction to the charts – it relies on the specialist staff who construct the charts reading into the data intelligently, and the discount does have to be over a certain threshold. The book retailer panel whose data is collected currently includes Poppies, Paper Plus and Take Note, The Warehouse, and a group of independent bookstores. If you are not included and would like to be, give Anna Hart a call as she is happy to discuss this.
One of the questions floating around the book industry at the moment is ‘but what about sales?’ As The Read had a captive audience, we asked Nevena when will the sale of ebooks be reported in the best seller charts?
“I know it is the missing picture as we currently report on print sales only. Tracking ebook sales are highly complex – not least of which is due to the number bought through offshore etailers. Nielsen has acquired PubTrack Digital (which we bought from Bowker). It is the Ebook tracking model based on sales from publishers and we hope this will be the model used in NZ. I can’t give you an exact timeline but rest assured, we are working on it.”
So they are coming folks, don’t panic!
Another new tool which is on its way for New Zealand clients is TitleEditor, which several other regions already have. This will allow self-publishers and smaller publishers to add and update their own titles on the Nielsen database, for free: an asset for the expanding self publishing market – did someone say, 50 Shades of Grey?
Must-haves for booksellers
The Nielsen products are very handy to have within your range of bookselling tools, particularly in the purchasing of titles. Here are four important things that booksellers get out of Nielsen:
- BookData Online – a comprehensive search database that includes NZ price and availability
”This enables booksellers, publishers and libraries to search for and source book titles quickly and accurately – key features are intuitive functionality (you can share and print search results) and NZ price and availability for more than 20 million records (where the publisher has supplied the information.
- Contribution to the BookData panel (you need to be able to supply EPOS information) and in return get bestseller reports & market sales data. Contact Anna Hart on (09) 360 3294 for more information.
- Comprehensive title information that helps you sell books:
BookScan monitors end-user consumer sales from a panel of book retailers – enabling detailed and accurate sales information on which books are selling, and at what price for the book trade. Retailers who contribute to the panel have access to data to enable them to monitor market share, spot trends and aid in stock management. Publishers use BookScan data to aid in decision-making and assessment for strategy and category analysis, forecasting and industry trends.
- Enriched metadata for your websites to help you sell more books online
Record Supply Service enables clients to enrich their websites with Book Data and jacket images (including eBooks) with descriptions and details on forthcoming, in print and out of print titles from the English-speaking world. The metadata can be supplied and tailored according to your requirements.
If you want to get in touch with Nevena to learn any more about any of their products, email her on firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone her on (09) 360 3294.
Article by Sarah Forster