Thursday, February 07, 2008

Better then me, certainly

I have to share this blog linked through today's Shelf Awareness email: Kash's Book Corner. It seems quite promising to me. It's written by Arsen Kashkashian, an inventory manager and head buyer at Boulder Bookstore in Colorado. What I like is that he seems to be giving the inside dirt on bookselling.

The current post is of interest, but let me first jump back to the previous post when he is discussing his attempt to order a mere 6 copies of the forthcoming James Patterson novel from a Hatchette sales rep:
My rep informed me that if I ordered six copies of the Patterson book, I wouldn't get them in time for the national laydown date. The only books that Hachette will send out on time are those that are ordered in carton quantities. I looked at him as if he were speaking Aramaic and was an escaped lunatic from a bad Mel Gibson film. I smiled, in response: surely I had misunderstood him. Obviously, Hachette wouldn't renege on the most basic job of a publisher -- to deliver new books on time. I asked him what he meant. Unfortunately, what he meant was that Hachette, for all its smooth talk and gestures of good will to the independent stores over the last few years, had, in fact, adopted a policy that would put independent stores around the country at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Worse yet, the customers would think it was the bookstore's fault when a beloved author's title was not in.
So dirty! So shocking. So useful to know this kind of information.

But I also like the current post, admittedly a bit dated as it was posted Janury 25th but hey, we all get busy. The post is all about Jonathan Karp's imprint over at Hatchette, actually, called Twelve, wherein they will publish a single title each month and focus on that title, in every step of the process. I appreciate Karp's willingness to devise this kind of publishing and Kashkashian's loving report about it. It's a real identity, and seems to - if we're not to be pessimistic and see it all as marketing - really focus on the author and the writing.

The market is completely overstocked, we know that. Too much is being published. And I know in my experience in publishing, there is certainly a drive to publish more, to create more product at the chance that something will hit. That's an exciting opportunity for writers in one sense, but it's ultimately bad for morale, because so many of those books don't get the attention they deserve. Twelve is trying to change that, and I think that notion is something to applaud - just like Kashkashian.

Definitely linking this blog on the roll on the side, and will try to check in there once in awhile. This guy seems like a good one to follow.

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