Chapter 18. Cases

Charles Book Club

CharlesBookClub.xls is the dataset for this case study.

The Book Industry

Approximately 50,000 new titles, including new editions, are published each year in the United States, giving rise to a $25 billion industry in 2001.[46] In terms of percentage of sales, this industry may be segmented as follows:

  • 16% Textbooks

  • 16% Trade books sold in bookstores

  • 21% Technical, scientific, and professional books

  • 10% Book clubs and other mail-order books

  • 17% Mass-market paperbound books

  • 20% All other books

Book retailing in the United States in the 1970s was characterized by the growth of bookstore chains located in shopping malls. The 1980s saw increased purchases in bookstores stimulated through the widespread practice of discounting. By the 1990s, the superstore concept of book retailing gained acceptance and contributed to double-digit growth of the book industry. Conveniently situated near large shopping centers, superstores maintain large inventories of 30,000–80,000 titles and employ well-informed sales personnel. Superstores apply intense competitive pressure on book clubs and mail-order firms as well on as traditional book retailers. In response to these pressures, book clubs have sought out alternative business models that were more responsive to their customers' individual preferences.


Historically, book clubs offered their readers different types of membership programs. Two common membership programs are the continuity and negative option programs, which ...

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