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Old 08-06-2010, 08:26 PM   #1
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Dorchester Dropping Mass Market for E-books & Pod

Dorchester Publishing just announced that they are dropping their mass market paperback program for e-books and POD.

I hope this works out, but I have misgivings. Dorchester has had financial troubles lately, and this sounds more like desperation than the future of publishing. Also, from what I have heard, their e-book royalties are not very good. On top of that, authors (and readers!) were hit with this without any warning. Many authors have spent their own money promoting an upcoming print book, only to find out that the print edition has been delayed over six months and will be in trade paperback.

They also had a subscription plan where readers could sign up to get all their new horror titles or all their new romance titles or whatever by month. This will throw that into chaos -- or rather, even more chaos.

I'm also annoyed because there were some horror novels I was looking forward to buying in the fall. I hope the e-books will become available when the mass market paperbacks were supposed to come out, but we know that isn't always the case.

Last edited by Critteranne; 08-06-2010 at 08:28 PM. Reason: Adding Tags
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:38 PM   #2
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Dorchester Publishing (aka Leisure Books, Love Spell) has been a great source of books for the genre fans, but they're kinda low rung for authors. It'll be interesting to see what kind of deal they make their authors.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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I agree this smacks of desperation. They've been having trouble paying their authors for a while. Back in January they raised eyebrows when they sold off the front and back list of some of their biggest authors to a competitor.

The only genre that does really well in ebook form is romance but there are a number of established ebook houses specialising in romance already. Dorchester hasn't shown that they have any idea how to market ebooks or maintain a decent web presence - just look at their website, it's awful.

There's some further reading here:
http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.c...thors-do-what/
http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2010...e-and-digital/
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:20 AM   #4
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What many of these publishing houses need to do is cut their overhead. Move out of NY. Get rid of the current program of returns. I'm curious too, I know an awful lot of POD is done in a trade paperback size, but I wonder why it couldn't be used to do mass market paperback sized books?
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanMWilliams View Post
What many of these publishing houses need to do is cut their overhead. Move out of NY. Get rid of the current program of returns. I'm curious too, I know an awful lot of POD is done in a trade paperback size, but I wonder why it couldn't be used to do mass market paperback sized books?

Yeah I do think that publishing houses could get rid of overhead by relocating and perhaps getting rid of some of their staff.

I think that they are just feeling bewildered by ebooks and how marketing and distribution is changing.

Paperback book sales are down, the local Borders here is struggling, the Barnes and Noble is not struggling as much, but it has a large store and most likely an expensive lease. These things make it hard for the B&M stores to keep up with online retailers.

The difference between trade paperbacks and mass market pbacks is not just about size. The paper is also thicker. I think it would be harder for POD places to print mass market style pbacks. Smaller is not always easier. Though I imagine as the POD market matures more the cost to print a paperback will go down.


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Old 08-08-2010, 09:04 PM   #6
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The real problem, for those who didn't bother to read the article, is that sales have tanked and are down 25%.

Relocating won't do jack for Dorchester. If they move to Iowa, sure they'll pay less in rent, but they won't be able to find as many editors, proofreaders or marketing staff, and will be isolated from the agents and critics and other networks that are critical to selling books.

Any possible "savings" will be blown by flying constantly to major cities and putting their people up in hotels, as well as costs associated with the move. Not to mention they'd lose huge numbers of staff. Would you move from New York City to Iowa to work for a company that lost 1/4 of its revenues in a single year? And can you imagine the level of disruption of cutting paper and moving and dealing with huge losses of revenue all at once?

Beyond switching to POD, eliminating returns is not an option for paper. If you tell distributors and bookstores you will no longer take returns, they won't take your books period.
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
The real problem, for those who didn't bother to read the article, is that sales have tanked and are down 25%.

Relocating won't do jack for Dorchester.
What concerns me is that they are attempting to position themselves (and some are seeing it) as pursuing a new publishing paradigm, rather than a desperation move for a sinking company. If they fail--which is not unlikely at this point--it will give ammunition to the pbook people. "See, going primarily electronic won't work!"

Of course, by the same token, if they succeed, it will be pretty good for the digital-first crowd.

I wish Dorchester and their authors well. I don't like to see any company fail in this economy.

Last edited by MaggieScratch; 08-09-2010 at 03:01 PM.
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