Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Publishing 1

Norman Spinrad has done a couple of posts on publishing recently. One was interesting, in that it told me things I didn't know. According to him, bookstores "buy to net," which leads to "the death spiral of publishing."

Suppose Barnes & Noble orders 10,000 copies of a book, and 80% sell. This is pretty good, especially considering they can return the unsold copies for credit, unlike every other kind of retailer. When a new book by the author comes out, the buyer at B&N looks at the records and says, "This author sold 8,000 copies last time. We will order 8,000 this time." Now it isn't likely that every single copy of a book will sell. Maybe some copies are left in the back room or displayed in the wrong place or end behind another book. So this time 90% of the copies sell, which is very good. So when book number three comes out, B&N orders 7,200 copies. And so it goes...

I don't know if B&N reorders. I was told years ago that B. Dalton did not. If a book sold out in a store, that was it. This makes sense, if ordering is done chain-wide. Doing well locally or in a few stores would not make an impact.

(Lyda Morehouse says she was told the problem is space. The chains have lots of books and limited space. It doesn't make sense to restock an old book, rather than bringing in a new book.)

Anyway, all of that was interesting.


Post a Comment

<< Home