Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

Aleph starts the week with three no ones! Thanks Holland, Croatia and Latvia. — Paulo Coelho

Last week we forgot to mention Paulo Coelho’s brilliant new book Aleph. — HarperCollinsUK

HarperCollinsUK “forgot”. This is pathetic. — Paulo Coelho

Thank you for checking the bookstores and showing how pathetic is HarperCollinsUK. I eventually will make this public. — Paulo Coelho

Walk into Waterstone’s and you will usually find Paulo Coelho books on the shelves.

O Oleph released in Brazil August 2010 shot straight to Number One within days of publication.

O Oleph released in Portugal February 2011 shot straight to Number One within days of publication.

Elif released in Istanbul March 2011 shot straight to Number One within days of publication.

The first six contries of release, Aleph shot straight to number one.

Publication of Aleph in English September 2011 has been eagerly awaited.

Paulo Coelho has sold in excess of 130 million books.

At a book signing at Borders in London, 2,000 people turned up.

Paulo Coelho has over 2 million followers on twitter, over 5 million friends on facebook.

It is therefore somewhat perverse that Waterstone’s had no mention of Aleph with their new releases prior to publication. Waterstone’s Guildford somewhat belatedly a couple of days before release had Aleph chalked up on their board of new releases. The pathetic excuses: Paulo Coelho not well known, Paulo Coelho not popular. [see Paulo Coelho unknown author]

Once published, Waterstone’s made up for lost opportunity. Erm, no.

Waterstone’s Lincoln when asked for a copy of Aleph had not heard of it and had to look it up on their system to see if in store. Yes, it was. It was upstairs, someone would bring a copy down. Ten minutes later, no copy had appeared. When the long wait was querried, apparently they did not know where to look. Copies were then spotted on a nearby table. Did they know of the free trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway? No.

Waterstone’s Guildford, to their credit, did have Aleph on display near the door. Nothing in the window.

Waterstone’s Godalming not a single copy could be found in store. Maybe they had had a run on Aleph? No display in store, nothing in the window (or so I thought), nothing where books by Paulo Coelho were shelved. On my way out I spotted a single copy of Aleph hidden behind books by second-rate writers (and that is being generous).

Waterstone’s Alton had no copies of Aleph on display either in the window or in store. Three copies of Aleph were found on the shelves with the other Paulo Coelho books. No attempt had been made to shelve with the cover on display. When asked, zero copies of Aleph had been sold. Apparently people of Alton were too pragmatic and the author was not very well known or popular. Asked of any promotion, yes there was a promotion, £3 off the cover price, no, not aware of free trip on Trans-Siberian railway!

All Waterstone’s have an area where new books are displayed. None had Aleph on display.

The publisher of Aleph has of course done their best, putting Waterstone’s to shame. Erm, no. Not a tweet on twitter from HarperCollinsUK. Apparently they forgot! They forgot to mention that one of their most important authors had a new book out! How pathetic can you get?

HarperCollinsUK forgot! They forgot! But even after they had been reminded by myself and others, including Paulo Coelho, the best HarperCollinsUK could do was point to a pathetic piece by Kindle Post UK where they could not even get the author’s name right. And even then they pointed to the website of Kindle Post UK, not to the article itself. HarperCollins could not even be bothered to cobble together a press release! [see Exclusive Interview with Paulo Coehlo]

Other than word of mouth, how does anyone know an author has a new book out, if the bookshops and publishers make no attempt to promote the book?

In Godalming, I was chatting to a lady in the Parish Church. Paulo Coelho, yes, he is a very famous writer, author of The Alchemist.

Alton Secondhand Books a good selection of Paulo Coelho books. He is very popular.

On the streets of Alton I bumped into an attractive female I had seen earlier in an Italian Coffee shop. Yes, she knew who Paulo Coelho was, he was a famous writer who had written many books. Why do you ask? He has a new book Aleph. Thanks, I will look out for it.

If I was a bookseller and knew there was an international best-seller I would make sure I had plenty in, that it is was on display, and my staff knew about it. Not it seems if you are Waterstone’s.

If I was a publisher and I had an international best-seller, I would make sure all the bookshops knew about it, that they had it on display with plenty of promotional matererial. Not it seems if you are HarperCollinsUK.

Waterstone’s is like a game of pass the parcel. No one wants it and it gets passed around until the music stops. Tim Waterstone sold to W H Smith. W H Smith sold it back to Tim Waterstone. Tim Waterstone sold to HMV. HMV has since sold it on. Waterstone’s has recently been disposing of what they call surplus stores in an attempt to cut their losses. In the meantime, Waterstone’s has decimated independent bookshops.

Guildford used to have several bookshops. All that is now left is Waterstone’s (the former Ottaker’s flagship store) and a small Christian bookshop.

HarperCollinsUK is part of News Corp, the Murdoch Empire.

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer. Aleph was released in UK 1 September 2011. It is due for release in USA 28 September 2011.

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19 Responses to “Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot”

  1. keithpp Says:

    It seems I spoke too soon on Waterstone’s Guildford. Last week Aleph was on display, this week not. Not in the window, not in store. Not with the new autumn releases. Not even shelved with the other Paulo Coelho books. I could not find a copy anywhere.

    I asked, did they have Aleph? A check was made. Yes, three copies. Where were they? It was suggested I looked on the tables near the door. I had already looked, but I looked again. Nothing. If there are any copies of Aleph in the store they are very well hidden.

    Had they all been sold? No, only one copy of Aleph had been sold.

  2. keithpp Says:

    The missing copies of Aleph in Waterstone’s Guildford have rematerialised.

    Having asked earlier today and been unable to find, I looked again this evening. No, still cannot find on the tables near the door.

    I gave up, then as I was leaving the store, there they were, all three, with the autumn releases.

    Now all it needs is all the other Waterstone’s across the country to do what should have been blindingly obvious, put Aleph on the shelves with the new releases. Better still, get a decent display in the window.

  3. Paulo Coelho Says:

    Great, Keith. Very helpful as always.

  4. keithpp Says:

    I talked yesterday to a friend who works in the book trade: Waterstone’s, what do you expect, corporate wages, ie minimum wage.

    Yesterday afternoon in secondhand bookshop: Paulo Coelho, he is a very popular author. Very strange Waterstone’s do not put his latest book Aleph on display.

    Yesterday evening talking to two librarians: We get many refugees from Waterstone’s, low wages, poor working conditions.

    What is depressing is that Waterstone’s will eventually go bust leaving no bookshops as they have already destroyed all our independent bookshops.

  5. keithpp Says:

    Waterstone’s Basingstoke: Three copies of Aleph with Autumn releases. Were at foot level, display rearranged, now at eye level. One copy with Paulo Coleho books. Spine showing, now rearranged cover showing. No special display, no window display.

    Basingstoke a very depressing ghastly place. All under cover, no fresh air. It is like being in a ghastly airport terminal but without the hope of eventually leaving to somewhere pleasant. Still there is the nearby railway station.

  6. keithpp Says:

    Half page advert page 21 Metro: Download e-version of Aleph at £1.99 for next week!

  7. keithpp Says:

    Yesterday I was chatting to a librarian: Paulo Coelho, he is a very popular writer. She was amazed at the experience in Waterstone’s!

  8. keithpp Says:

    Friday I was in Godalming. Apart from a copy of Aleph in the window, partially hidden by other books, I could not find Aleph anywhere in the bookshop.

    I bumped into a friend who used to work in a bookshop. She was appalled. But they work in a bookshop, they should know. In her old bookshop they would have had Aleph on display in the window and shifted dozens.

  9. keithpp Says:

    Saturday it was hunt Aleph in Waterstone’s Farnham. Yes, they had a copy. They did have three but had sold two. It had to be somewhere. Evenutually it was found in the window. I had looked at the window before walking in the shop and not seen it. When I left I could see no obvious gap in the window display where it had been.

    At least Waterstone’s Farnham were beating the national average which was running at less than one and half copies sold per bookshop.

    At least Waterstone’s Farnham knew who Paulo Coleho was and was aware of Aleph. They could hardly not as they had a poster with new releases and Aleph topped the list. But this is new. They did not have the poster during my last visit. They obviously heeded my advice that they should have a list of new releases.

    I think I should act as a consultant to Waterstone’s as clearly they have no idea how to run a chain of bookshops.

  10. Paulo Coelho Says:

    You are a warrior, Keith. You don’t know how helpful you are.

    • keithpp Says:

      I just find it hard to believe how bad Waterstone’s are as a chain of bookshops. As does everyone I talk to. Maybe I should act as a consultant to Waterstone’s and bill them £1000 per day!

  11. keithpp Says:

    Out and about, Guildford and Godalming today

    Waterstone’s Guildford: No sign of Aleph anywhere in store. Not in window, not with autumn releases, not even shelved with other Paulo Coelho books!

    Waterstone’s Godalming: No sign of Aleph anywhere in store. Not with autumn releases, not even shelved with other Paulo Coelho books! There was a single copy displayed in the window, but hidden behind second-rate authors and only visible from looking from one side, if from any other angle, not visble.

    I talked with a librarian in the Guildford Institute. She thanked me for letting her know Paulo Coelho had a new book out and she said she would order a copy of Aleph for the libraray. She found it amazing how Waterstone’s were behaving but had noticed the change since Waterstone’s took over Ottaker’s.

  12. Dr. Ayesha Haque Says:

    Hey its great to know that Paulo has a new book now. I have been in a rat hole for like 7 months while I was going through my messy divorce, which has left me shattered and all over the place.Last time I was going through a rough phase in my life the one thing that pulled me out of the shackels of depression was *The warrior of light* …. this time when I came to the surface there is another master piece *Aleph* waiting for me.its a SIGN.Thank you Paulo…
    I recently moved to London and now there is a hope of light and above all Love waiting for me.

  13. Dr. Ayesha Haque Says:

    I ve followed Paulo s work for many years and tried so many times to meet him in person…. hopefully this new life of mine in London will make me inspire and fulfill my aspirations.
    a fellow rebel

  14. Melanie Says:

    Keith I have to agree with you, it is utterly disappointing and should also be embarrassing for London. I am from Cape Town, South Africa and he is very well known there too. I was looking out for it for the past three weeks in Westfield, London. I even had to express my disappointment on my facebook page, where my friends told me it is available on in Cape Town’s bookstore. I eventually picked up a copy at the New Westfield, in Stratford!! There was only 1 more copy available. They had to search for it on the computer as well, neither author or book title seemed familiar to them.

  15. keithpp Says:

    Yes, Melanie, something seems very very wrong. An international best-seller that bookshops seem unaware of, or if they are aware, are not making it known to the wider public. Why no displays? In most cases they seem unaware of Aleph, and they work in a bookshop!

  16. keithpp Says:

    A lovely autumn day and Sunday which I spent in Brighton.

    Autumn day in Brighton

    Walking down to the seafront I popped in Waterstone’s. No display Aleph either in the window or with their autumn reads. It was on display with the other Paulo Coelho books on the fourth floor. Five copies, the most I have seeen, until then the max had been three. I asked. Yes, I they were aware of Aleph, it was on the fourth floor.

    Later I wandered along the seafront to an excellent bookstall by the derelict burnt out West Pier. I know from past expereince, that if they have any Paulo Coelho it goes as soon as put out. I told of my experience of Waterstone’s. The response was one of amazement that a new book by Paulo Coelho was not on display on their tables. I was told he was very popular. If not popular in Brighton, where?

    Two days earlier on Friday I was in Guildford, then Godalming.

    Waterstone’s Guildford two tables of autumn reads, no Aleph, no Aleph on display in either window or store.

    Waterstone’s Godalming one table of autumn reads, no Aleph, no Aleph anywhere in the store but there was a copy on display in the window hidden behind other books.

    Sunday Waterstone’s Guildford caught fire! It is now closed until further notice.

    Waterstone’s Guildford catches fire

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