Barnes & Noble exclusive editions give the struggling company an advantage

The company has experienced success with its 'exclusive editions' program, in which B&N will release versions of popular tween and young adult titles with never-before-seen content.

Barnes & Noble has released exclusive editions of novels such as 'The Fault in Our Stars' and 'Allegiant,' with B&N saying 'Fault' has sold the best of any of their exclusive releases.

What does Barnes & Noble have that Amazon doesn’t?

When it comes to young adult and tween novels, B&N is in possession of exclusive content from authors like John Green, Veronica Roth, and Cassandra Clare. 

The bookstore chain began its “exclusive edition” program several years ago but has recently experienced a great amount of success with the publication of special editions of such works as “The Fault in Our Stars” by Green, which B&N released with new content that included a new book cover and a question-and-answer session with Green, among other new material. According to B&N teen book buyer Brian Monahan, “Fault” has performed the best of any exclusive edition that the company has released.

“[It] catapulted the program into the next stratosphere,” he told Publishers Weekly.

B&N just released a new edition of Green’s novel “Looking for Alaska,” which was originally published in 2005. Other books that have received the treatment include “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth, and “Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare.

While the new material in an exclusive edition can include Q&As like the one with Green, authors will sometimes supply work set in their fictional world to B&N for inclusion. For example, “Clockwork” includes a never-before-seen letter from one male character, Will, to his love interest, Tessa, and “Allegiant” has journal entries written by protagonist Tris’s mother. New content could attract fans of the books.

Mary Amicucci, B&N vice-president of children’s books, says publishers have been enthusiastic about the idea and that the company has received unsolicited ideas for exclusive editions.

“Everybody has seen it as an incremental opportunity,” Amicucci told PW. “It’s not cannibalistic.”

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