Wednesday, May 7, 2008

When In Doubt Stop Global Warming


Edward Nawotka at Bloomberg.com has an article covering Bob Miller's new "HarperCollins Studio," as everyone is calling the proposed experiment in nontraditional book-sales (i.e. stiffing the authors on their advances by offering profit- sharing, not buying back books from book stores, and bundling hardcover, nonfiction books with e-book versions of the same titles.)  
Here are some highlights:

"Returns date back to the Depression, when publishers implemented the practice as a way to ensure that bookstores would continue stocking new books.

Today, publishers have convinced retailers that stacks of books piled high in the aisles will attract customers and spawn bestsellers. It's a leaky theory posing little risk for booksellers. If the books don't sell, they're only out the cost of shipping and handling the returns.

``Let's face it, returns are bad for everyone, and things have to change,'' Miller said in a telephone interview last month. ``The only way to make it happen was to start something entirely from scratch.''


My favorite part of the article is the part where The Bob Miller Project appears to be about saving the environment by reducing global warming (no more trucks shipping books back and forth, no more unread books in the landfill), rather than about the dollar in the publisher's pocket. Galley Cat seems to have bought the old green publishing argument hook, line and sinker.  It's actually a brilliant marketing ploy because who's going to argue that books aren't to blame for boiling the environment.  (Certainly not me.)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

But wouldn't we do more for global warming if we all just turned off our computers and TV's and read a book offline?

rmellis said...

I can't imagine how any independent bookstore will be able to stay in business without being able to return books. They'd run out of space and cash in a single season. My store only orders as many books as we think we can sell, but sheesh, you have to have a decent selection on hand.

Almost every book published will end up in a landfill eventually; who're they kidding?

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous!