Friday, April 22, 2005

The Remainders of the Day

So we have a little infighting in our industry: new bookstores vs. used bookstores. Clearly, authors have no stake in the used book store side of the war. Every book sold in a used book store generates $0.00 for the author (and publisher.) I, unfortunately, love used book stores (and my blatant perfidy annoys my fellow authors and friends.) How else would I find so many cheap POD titles? Granted, I have paid full price for some. But not many.

And I always make sure I check out the section where my book would be, sometimes finding a copy. I am the first to admit it is sad to see it there, buried, ignored, gathering dust. Sadder still was the copy I found in Arlington, Virginia, where I looked at the binding and it clearly had not been read past page 75. I lost that reader, and with it a sense of accomplishment.


Anyway, for those of you who do not know what a "return" is, they are the books that did not sell from a completed print run, and which the bookstore can get credit (partial or whole) from the publisher upon sending them back.

So here is a quick solution for the publishing industry: if you want to diffuse the used bookstores, stop creating returns! These things are fueling the used bookstores. Whether they are supposed to (legally) or not, they are there. Tons of them.

How to eliminate? If you don't know, this must be your first visit here. POD, for Pete's sake. I know it is hard to gauge an initial print run. But, c'mon, a second print run (or beyond) should never be a toughie, and utilizing POD as a replacement for remaining print runs might be the way to go, yes? Especially smaller ones.

If you want to cut the legs out from the book warehouses, outlets, used bookstores and liquidation expos at suburban fairgrounds, then do this: stop printing so many books people do not want to read.

POD is a technology, not a type of company. Why is New York so fearful?


Bonus Round:

An industry insider just informed me that the New York Times Book Review will be running a two page spread on POD this weekend (April 24th.) For those of you who do not subscribe, keep an eye out for it online. And let's see where they take us!