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Old 12-19-2008, 10:05 AM   #1
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Changes in the Publishing Industry

Two bits of news:

1. Rumor has it that HarperCollins and Borders Books are negotiating a deal whereby HC gives Borders a larger discount in exchange for a no return policy. If so, it would be the first crack in the current industry waste system.

2. According to Publisher's Weekly, the Association of American Publishers (AAP)'s October report of sales shows a 73% increase in ebook sales in October 2008 vs October 2007 and a 57.7% year-to-date increase. The only other group that had positive numbers in both categories was the mass market books whose respective numbers were 6.3% and 1.3%. Ebooks are on the rise
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
1. Rumor has it that HarperCollins and Borders Books are negotiating a deal whereby HC gives Borders a larger discount in exchange for a no return policy. If so, it would be the first crack in the current industry waste system.
If the upshot of this is individual Borders stores being responsible for local disposal of unsold books, I'm not sure it's positive. Such a system would make it likely that a significant amount of books would be disposed of in ways that could be detrimental to the environment (not all waste disposal systems are alike).

On the other hand, if it encourages Borders to be more frugal in orders, resulting in less waste, that would be a good thing.
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
If the upshot of this is individual Borders stores being responsible for local disposal of unsold books, I'm not sure it's positive. Such a system would make it likely that a significant amount of books would be disposed of in ways that could be detrimental to the environment (not all waste disposal systems are alike).

On the other hand, if it encourages Borders to be more frugal in orders, resulting in less waste, that would be a good thing.
Borders (and other bookstores) have been disposing of paperbacks in the trash for a very long time, they just send the covers back to the publisher. If I'm reading this correctly, that means Borders will hang on to books until they are sold (not sending them back to the publisher). I only see this as a positive thing.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lilac_jive View Post
Borders (and other bookstores) have been disposing of paperbacks in the trash for a very long time, they just send the covers back to the publisher.
I was not aware of that; maybe it's time to do some dumpster diving at my local Borders.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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I was not aware of that; maybe it's time to do some dumpster diving at my local Borders.
I yelled at this woman once who was digging through our dumpsters. It was funny, she worked in the store next to us.

She came in one day, and I said, "I saw one of your employees (it was her) digging through our trash the other day. Will you please let them know that it is illegal and the next time I will call security."

She got all red faced.

In case you're wondering, the employees weren't allowed to take them. So if I couldn't, nobody could
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:36 PM   #6
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Great news. Lots of old stock hanging around and none of those annoying books by people you've never heard of before and who might not sell.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:40 PM   #7
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On the other hand, if it encourages Borders to be more frugal in orders, resulting in less waste, that would be a good thing.
I think it is a response to Borders being in fiscal trouble and Amazon's dominance. Publishers cannot allow Amazon to gain further dominance by having fewer competitors because Amazon will then be able to dictate pricing. I believe what you will see is Border's ordering fewer books. With a no return policy, dumpstering books will further erode Border's finances.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
I think it is a response to Borders being in fiscal trouble and Amazon's dominance. Publishers cannot allow Amazon to gain further dominance by having fewer competitors because Amazon will then be able to dictate pricing. I believe what you will see is Border's ordering fewer books. With a no return policy, dumpstering books will further erode Border's finances.
I'm hoping that it will lead to books getting marked down to get rid of stock (bargain books don't count, those are marked down by the publishers)
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:25 PM   #9
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I see it as hurting new writers. Without returnability Borders will be less likely to take chances on boks that may not sell. I don't consider this a positive development.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:22 AM   #10
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I see it as hurting new writers. Without returnability Borders will be less likely to take chances on boks that may not sell. I don't consider this a positive development.
Good point... it will probably drive more authors to independent status. But swelling the independent ranks could actually be good for the penetration of the indie market, so it might be a good thing after all.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:32 AM   #11
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Steve I bought all of your books cos I heard about them on here, is there any version you are aware of an Itunes for ebooks? basically one provider selling all of the Indie ebooks through a site?

Would seem logical to me if i were a book publisher say Baen to sell all my own books online but then have like an Indie books marketplace (like amazons marketplace) that is hosted by Baen but they arent responsible for content.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:20 AM   #12
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Steve I bought all of your books cos I heard about them on here, is there any version you are aware of an Itunes for ebooks? basically one provider selling all of the Indie ebooks through a site?
Unfortunately no, not yet anyway. I'm sure Amazon would someday like to provide that service, but they're nowhere near that yet.

But really, the suggestion of a single place for all your e-purchasing needs hasn't been satisfied by iTunes yet, either... trust me, there's plenty of music they don't yet provide. We will probably be searching through multiple sites for content for years to come...
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:32 AM   #13
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Good point... it will probably drive more authors to independent status. But swelling the independent ranks could actually be good for the penetration of the indie market, so it might be a good thing after all.
Independent still has the one killer flaw of no distribution. Until the availability/awareness issue gets licked anything that moves authors away from the mainstream publishers hurts new authors trying to break in to the industry.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:05 AM   #14
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Unfortunately no, not yet anyway. I'm sure Amazon would someday like to provide that service, but they're nowhere near that yet.
Hmm... maybe I will start one. Sounds like a useful service. Something that allows for purchasing.

Sort of like Lulu but for Fiction ebooks.

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Old 12-23-2008, 02:13 PM   #15
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On the other hand, if it encourages Borders to be more frugal in orders, resulting in less waste, that would be a good thing.
No, it will just encourage more "ordering to the net," which is killing midlist authors right now. It's a death spiral, with stores ordering fewer and fewer copies of each new title, with less prominent display of new books (one or two copies instead of a nice face-out display of a bunch). Plus, Borders already isn't carrying a lot of new titles, and this is likely to make them even more risk-averse in trying new writers.

It's not all bad: the returns system is flawed, too, and is hurting writers, as well. I don't know what the right answer is, but it has to be a system-wide change. Maybe an elimination of returns coupled with bigger discounts to the stores. This may be a useful experiment, but I think it could hurt some people in the short term.
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