Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sea Changes in Publishing


Just when you thought your Fiction Delivery system had finally stabilized!

Posted December 29, 2006; see full article at: http://www.sfwa.org/news//2006/amsfiles.htm

Is an item about a huge book distributor filing for Chapter 11 and floating a loan to continue operations normally during the interim. This is Advanced Marketing Services, AMS, which distributes for companies such as quoted from the article, not verified by me, "Random House, which is owed $43.3 million. Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Hachette Book Group are all owed more than $20 million each, while HarperCollins is owed $18 million. The bankruptcy filing includes PGW; among the clients owed money are Rich Publishing ($4.4 million), Avalon Publishing ($2.3 million), New World Library ($1.1 million) and Grove/Atlantic ($1.1 million). "
Those are big publishers, but they can't afford to carry the distributor's debt. This is a financial (and legal) problem at this distributor dating back to 2004.

This Chap 11 filing indicates publishing in general is still melting down -- it's been about 10 years now of serious failures of the fiction delivery system on paper.

However, e-publishers are being founded right and left, though many e-publishers founded around the year 2000 have closed -- some with startling abruptness.

Now you and I know that the SF-Romance crossover story is proliferating -- more and more people are finding it great reading material.

But for a writer to deliver stories to a reader, we need (or do we?) all this advertising, copyediting, editing, printing or formatting, and distributing (or download sites).

More and more it's true that individual authors (who do NOT get the percentage of the sales price to be able to cover the expense) are required to do their own advertising.

As a reader, just how receptive are you to advertising? How do you choose a book to buy?

What behavior have you noted among your friends that might be causing paper-book distributors (and even e-book publishers) to go bankrupt one way or another?

Where is the root cause of this phenomenon? People not reading? Or reading something other than published fiction?

Or is it the $9 pricetag on a paperback that should cost $2? Are e-books overpriced?

Will success come with a cheaper distribution system?

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment