Starbucks’ first e-book choice for its expanded pick-of-the-week program is The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern. Starbucks (NSDQ: SBUX) visitors can get an “extended sample” of the much-buzzed-about debut novel, which is the story of two nineteenth-century magicians competing in a mysterious circus. The book received a six-figure advance at auction and is already being compared to Harry Potter.
Starbucks launched its “pick of the week” program for a free song on iTunes in 2008, and has now expanded its partnership with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to include extended excerpts of books from the iBookstore, apps and TV episodes. Visitors to one of Starbucks’ 8500 stores can pick up a card at the register.
The Night Circus, published by Random House’s Doubleday imprint has already received a huge amount of publicity in advance of its official publication date, which was yesterday. The first print run was for 150,000 copies. Summit Entertainment, which produced the Twilight films, bought the film rights, and foreign rights have been sold in thirty countries. Booksellers are holding publicity events with contortionists, Tarot card readers and magicians, according to the WSJ.
In other words, this isn’t exactly a book that’s lacking for publicity. It is already at #17 on Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list, #9 on the Nook bestseller list and #7 on the Apple iBookstore bestseller list. Starbucks clearly wanted to choose a splashy title for its first e-book pick of the week.
I’ve asked Doubleday how the book was chosen and I will update the post when I hear back.