Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Starbucks Picks Next Book to Sell: Isay's StoryCorps Collection

By Edward Nawotka

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp. has chosen its next book. On Nov. 8, ``Listening Is an Act of Love'' will go on shelves alongside CDs, DVDs and coffee mugs.

The book, edited by Dave Isay and published by Penguin Press, offers a selection of 50 real-life stories from the archives of StoryCorps, the ambitious oral-history project of interviews by and with everyday Americans. Founded by Isay in 2003, it has recorded more than 13,000 conversations.

While bookstores also will sell the title, the Starbucks version is an exclusive boxed edition that includes a CD of 10 additional stories. The book's cover price is $24.95; no price has been set for Starbucks's boxed set.

Reached by phone, Isay praised Starbucks as a ``third place in American life,'' after home and work, ``where people come to talk and listen to each other.'' He added, ``The StoryCorps project is about listening. It's a great match for us.''

In an interview with Bloomberg News last year, Starbucks Entertainment President Kenneth T. Lombard noted that customers trusted the company to filter cultural content. Though the chain offers a wide selection of CDs, some produced by the company itself, so far it has sold only one book at a time.

``Listening Is an Act of Love'' is the third. The first, Mitch Albom's novel ``For One More Day,'' sold 100,000 copies at the chain after it went on sale in October 2006. Last February Ishmael Beah's ``A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier'' proved an even bigger hit there, selling more than 117,000 copies.

Before the Starbucks announcement, Penguin Press had planned to print about 75,000 copies of ``Listening Is an Act of Love.'' Now that number is likely at least to double.