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A study that fed babies small tastes of smooth peanut butter reduced peanut allergy cases by 77%. The UK researchers, who we cannot confirm aren’t just PB&J-mad tykes dressed in lab coats, recommended this weaning at 4-6 months.

In today’s email:

  • Book smarts: Barnes & Noble is back from the brink.
  • Disney+: Prices up, subscribers… also up?
  • Digits: WFH, WiFi, and more news numbers.
  • Around the Web: Ai Weiwei’s latest project, an inspiring podcast, a guessing game, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about Barnes & Noble’s miraculous expansion, TikTok’s big week ahead, new WFH data, egg price drama, and more.

The big idea
Barnes & Noble storefront

Books are burning — in the good way

How’s this for a plot twist? The once-disappearing bookstore business is showing signs of a comeback.

Book sales rebounded in a big way post-pandemic, with US publishers reeling in $29.3B in 2021. Though early 2022 data suggests a slight dip, bookstores remain in expansion mode.

Barnes & Noble is actually opening stores

Throughout the 2010s, most stories about the chain included the word “embattled” as Amazon picked off business. Now, B&N expects to open ~30 new stores this year, per NPR.

Credit hedge fund owner Elliott Management Corp., also behind top UK bookseller Waterstones, which bought a debt-laden B&N in 2019.

  • Refocusing away from trinket sales, they gave local stores more autonomy over displays and welcomed influencers.
  • Sales grew 4%+ last year.

Inner You’ve Got Mail fan worried about a Fox Books situation? Breathe easy — the number of independent bookstores is also on the rise. Last year, 334 indie stores opened in the US.

Women are driving this change

Book sales didn’t increase in a vacuum — releases from in-demand writers flooded the market. Of the 25 bestselling books of 2022, male authors occupied just 10 spots.

  • Colleen Hoover nearly took as many slots on her own, selling 14.3m books last year.
  • Powered by TikTok, she even outsold the Bible, per The New York Times.

Some reports estimate women are buying 80% of novels today. The market is aligning in this direction — in the 1970s, female authors accounted for ~20% of all books; in 2020, their share surpassed 50%.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Dinosaur chiropractors: If they existed, they’d have dollar signs for eyes after a team of paleontologists restudied a sauropod’s fossils, finding it to have a record 50-foot-long neck. Context: That beats any school bus in length.


Big ‘Bucks: For a seventh straight year, Starbucks topped the Restaurants 25 rankings, a measure of chains’ global brand value. Runner-up McDonalds ($36.9B) lost ground on the $53.4B champ last year.

In banking: UBS will pay $3.25B+ for rival Credit Suisse in a deal arranged by the Swiss government. The 167-year-old institution has struggled for years, with shares falling 75%+ in the last year.

Rolls-Royce picked up ~$3.5m from the UK Space Agency to produce a lunar nuclear reactor demo. If successful, the tech would power an eventual moon base.

Goth hero: The Cure’s Robert Smith talked Ticketmaster into issuing $5-$10 refunds to fans, as well as reducing fees for the band’s tickets in the future. Taylor Swift + The Cure collab when?

Sus: The DOJ is investigating TikTok parent ByteDance over allegations that employees accessed US journalists’ data to try to find out who was leaking info to them.

Snoop Dogg is launching a coffee brand with Indonesian coffee entrepreneur Michael Riady. Apparently, Snoop’s love of coffee stems from late-night recording sessions.

Speaking of celebs, M3gan — the murder doll from the horror film of the same name — modeled a Marc Jacobs fashion line. Unfortunately, the $195 Deftones hoodie she sported is sold out.

Eggs are now so expensive that Dollar Tree won’t sell them until prices drop. In February, a dozen Grade A eggs averaged $4.21, down 6.7% from January but still up 55.4% YoY.

No spam: The FCC will require telecom companies to block texts from certain numbers in an effort to curb spam messages. In 2022, the FCC received 18k+ consumer complaints about them.

Product management gets products to launch while product development builds them from the ground up. Here’s a deep dive into both concepts.

Steeping Beauty
Disney+ price hike
Olivia Heller

Price increase? Disney fans are nonplussed

Immediately add this to all business school curricula: When you have a tiny facsimile of Yoda on your side, the laws of pricing gravity don’t apply.

Prices for an ad-free Disney+ subscription went up 38% last December, and yet the service — streaming home to Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and more — retained 94% of its subscribers, per The Wall Street Journal.

Only 5% of users balked at the new $10.99/mo. charge and canceled. Less than 1% switched to the cheaper version with ads ($7.99/mo.).

This doesn’t mean the ad-supported version isn’t working

Data from Antenna shows the Disney+ “Basic” offering gaining traction.

  • So far, 36% of new sign-ups have gone this less costly route. By comparison, adoption rates for HBO Max’s ad-bedazzled offering hover around 21%.
  • Across its full streaming portfolio, Disney customers remain ever-increasing — Mickey and friends entered 2023 with 235.7m subs, per IndieWire.

A Peter Pan-like dedication to youth helps: About half of Disney+ subscribers are families with children.

All encouraging news for the people who really make dreams come true: Disney investors

Streaming is an expensive game — the company segment housing Disney+ has lost nearly $10B since 2019, per WSJ.

Widening its audience base and ad revenues through this new model is meant to help Disney close this gap.

  • Plus: Existing Disney+ audiences not flinching at price increases may enable further bumps. (Case in point: $56 Disneyland tickets in 2005 vs. today’s $104 starting price. The park is still packed day in, day out.)
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Free Resource

Eight elevator pitch ideas that crush

Be honest: is your elevator pitch corny?

Do you have an elevator pitch? Oh, Lord.

You never think you need a tight script detailing your business idea and value props until it’s too late and the big fish is shining in front of you.

You’ve gotta be ready. Here are eight quick-hitting templates for pitching like you’ve been there.

There are prompts for fundraising, networking, and more. Use them as fill-in-the-blanks, or to kickstart inspiration.

Elevation pitch templates →

Digits: WFH, WiFi, and more news numbers

1) Researchers found the share of work being conducted from home in the US is now 27.7%, down from 61.5% in 2020 but substantially up from 4.7% in 2019. In other news, the South Korean government walked back a plan to raise the cap on weekly working hours from 52 to 69 after backlash from younger workers.

2) Ever wonder if pro baseball players have to pay for WiFi on flights to games? Well, the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds do. In-flight WiFi can reportedly run a team ~$40k/yr.

3) Crunchyroll is the name of both a delicious sushi variety and the anime streaming service Sony bought from AT&T for $1.18B in 2020. An estimated 300m people watched Japanese animation in 2022, up ~100% from 2020. Crunchyroll says it is “solidly profitable” with 10m paid subs.

4) Taylor Swift kicked off her first US tour in five years. We definitely didn’t manage to get tickets, but we did learn new stats about her fandom. Some 45% are millennials, 74% are white, and 49% reported a household income under $50k.

5) The French Bulldog is having a good week. The American Kennel Club said it was the most popular dog breed in 2022, based on 716.5k registrations. That’s up 1k+% since 2012, when it was the 14th most popular breed.

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📸 On this day: In 2005, Yahoo acquired Canada’s Ludicorp and its photo sharing site, Flickr. Flickr grew from 250k+ users to 2m+ in less than a year after the acquisition, but its popularity faded as other platforms grew. Today, SmugMug owns Flickr.

🤔 Cure boredom: AI is thinking of a word. Guess what it is.

😲 Haha: Art platform Avant Arte and artist Ai Weiwei’s new project, Middle Finger, allows you to put Weiwei’s celebrated middle finger anywhere on Google Maps.

🎧Tune in: The Product Boss podcast broke down why there’s no such thing as “the right time” to launch a product.

🐱 Aww: And now, tiny ears.


Would love to “Wingardium Leviosa” that number one day. (Link.)

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