Crown Books Corp., seeking to increase its sales, is considering selling video- and audio tapes along with software in its chain of book stores, Crown President Robert M. Haft said Friday at the company's annual meeting.
"We have experimented with video," said Haft, noting that 41 of the company's 181 stores now carry a limited selection of videotapes. Crown will continue the experiment, offering videotapes it believes will also stimulate book sales.
For instance, Haft said, Crown plans to sell Julia Child's about-to-be-released set of six tapes of new cooking lessons. Julia Child "is one of our top-selling authors," he said.
"We are also considering certain audio tapes related to the book business," he added. One possibility might be the audio tapes now being made from the best seller "In Search of Excellence," he said.
The move into audio and video comes a year after the discount-book chain began selling software in some stores. "We think it has been a successful experiment," Haft said. The company plans to offer software in about 50 stores by the end of the year.
Haft declined to answer a shareholder's question regarding the actions by Crown's parent company, Dart Group Corp., to buy the nation's second largest drugstore chain, Jack Eckerd Corp. Dart, which created Crown and continues to hold a 34 percent stake in the company, has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has bought a 5 percent stake in Eckerd and is considering buying all of the company.
But Haft, declining a shareholder's request to discuss the possible Eckerd merger said, "this is the Crown Book Corp. meeting and that is not a matter of discussion at this meeting."
Robert Haft's father, Herbert H. Haft, the co-chairman of Crown and the chairman of Dart, was absent from the meeting. Company officials said he was out of the country.