I’d like to see you lead the way into e-publishing but again, you didn’t get in gear until the above-mentioned trailblazers kicked your butts. Apparently not even Baen was able to get to you like those three did.
The consignment system of inventory management is, I believe, in its late afternoon and Barnes & Noble CEO Riggio wants to push it into that good night. Agent Richard Curtis (and foresightful creator of e-Reads) points out that it’s not going away–on the dead-tree book brick’n’mortar playground, but, he says,
You’re welcome to try to reform the old business, Mr. Riggio, but that’s no longer where the game is being played. While bookstore chains have battened on the consignment system, a new, virtually returns-free distribution model has arisen based on Internet fulfillment, prepaid orders printed on demand, and on e-books, a format that Mr. Riggio’s company abandoned years ago.
So I think Mr. Curtis saying, “Ya snooze, ya lose.”
Oh, also? Quit being snobs about what you stock. The blog post Helping Those Who Help Themselves in which Wendy Crutcher states,
The vast majority of independents have done an excellent job of convincing me over the years that my reading choices are 1) poor 2) not valid and 3) that I must be an uneducated moron with latent Fabio fantasies. So why exactly do I want to encourage their narrow-minded way of thinking by giving them my hard earned money? I’d much rather give my money to an evil corporation that has a well-stocked romance section.
and followup comments were depressing observations (albeit by definition anecdotal) about what independent booksellers stock and what they don’t. If people don’t converge on your stores with vibrating credit cards in their hands, it’s probably because you don’t care about what they’d like to buy…because you can send them back to the publisher on consignment and not worry about stocking to your customers’ preferences. Nice. Which part of “Romance fiction is the biggest fiction category in 2007” do you not get? Apparently, Title Wave in Alaska(!) is the Cool Girl you should all be imitating.
One good place to start your renaissance might be the Espresso Books. If America still had the malls of my youth, there could be a POD book kiosk right next to the food court.
Commenter JulieW8 said in a previous post:
The publishing industry sounds a lot like the music industry and I think it is and will continue to experience a lot of the same kinds of pains due to emerging technologies, wider acceptance of digital media, distribution through organic and nontraditional means, coupled with the demand by readers to read more than what is hand-picked for them and the innovation by authors seeking to deliver their stories to the masses.
Independent booksellers, let me present your future (from printisdead.com):