Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Publishing slowly moves forward

If we're going to be trapped in some recession or depression, we best make the most of it, right? So we need to institute some changes to publishing that will make it a more efficient industry.

Shelf Awareness is linking to a Wall Street Journal article (sorry, think it's subscription-based) by the ever-reliable Jeffrey Trachtenberg on news that Borders will buy books from HarperStudio on a non-returnable basis. This is unusual, for folks not in the know:
Under the terms of the deal, the nation's second-largest bookstore chain by revenue will get a deeper discount on initial orders of books published by the new imprint of News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers -- 58% to 63% off the cover price, instead of the usual 48%. In exchange, Borders won't return any unsold books to HarperStudio, instead probably discounting them in the store.
Borders needs the discount and probably assumes it can use the inventory, if it doesn't go under, and HarperStudio can send off the books without having to worry about them coming back. The return system in publishing is archaic, so this is progress.
"Returns have never made sense in our business, and with the recent economic downturn, publishers and booksellers are more open than before to experimenting with models that might decrease waste and increase profit," said Robert Miller, president and publisher of HarperStudio. When he started the imprint earlier this year, Mr. Miller said he intended to shake up traditional book-publishing economics.
Shelf Awareness added their own two cents with the link, noting: "If selling nonreturnable spreads and everyone isn't too exhausted by the effort, perhaps the industry will then re-examine another of its 'quirks': the manufacturer's suggested retail price printed on the book."

PS I wanted to add a worrisome update, also posted in Shelf Awareness, regarding a place I've mentioned before: the Bookstore Restaurant in Wellfleet, MA. I have not been here still, but I want to go now more than ever after reading this story in Cape Cod Today about its struggles - not over the ever shrinking economy, but because of their inability to update their septic system. If it's not one thing, it's other! The place still looks amazing.


moonrat said...

woohoo!! good news!!

Kerry said...


Hope. said...

Ooh, this is great news. :)