- The typically on-the-money Joanne Jacobs writing this in the City Journal.
- If your friends and family get fat, chances are you will too from The Economist blog.
- Hmm... something to think about regarding GRE scores and teachers.
- Hard luck can get you into college?
- Interesting story about Coach Walker.
- About the Harry Potter figures, from the WSJ's Number's Guy:
Sales numbers for the last volume in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series came in quickly. U.S. publisher Scholastic Corp. announced on Sunday that 8.3 million copies were sold in the first 24 hours after the book’s release at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, according to “early reports.” And on Monday, U.K. publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC said 2,652,656 copies were sold in the first 24 hours, citing Nielsen BookScan U.K. These numbers were widely reported, with the stunningly precise U.K. total often rounded to 2.7 million.
Though they were presented side by side in this case, book-sales numbers are gathered differently on both sides of the Atlantic. U.K. numbers from outside trackers appear to be more complete, and faster, meaning some U.S. publishers report their internal data instead.
Scholastic compiled its own numbers from distributors’ reports, as Nielsen BookScan in the U.S. didn’t report sales figures until Wednesday and misses at least one-quarter of book sales, because it doesn’t track sales from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and nontraditional book retailers like drug stores. Nielsen in the U.K., however, claims to cover at least 95% of the market.
“There is next to nobody who doesn’t deliver their data to us,” Jeremy Neate, head of research and international development for Nielsen BookScan U.K., told me. The company gets data directly from cash registers for nearly all major retail outlets, while extrapolating its reports from about one-fifth of independent booksellers to those that don’t share numbers. Lucy Holden, Bloomsbury’s head of publicity for children’s books, told me she’s confident in the Nielsen numbers: “They monitor them independently.”
In the U.S., Nielsen BookScan spokeswoman Cara Milo told me just 5.2 million sales of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” were recorded by her company’s tracking service
in the first 48-hour period* — or just 63% of the total reported by Scholastic in the book’s first 24 hours on sale. But Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club don’t share their data.