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25 May 2013 @ 04:18 pm
this…this is meaningful…  

Author Kristin Kathryn Rusch writes about a major change in book distribution and what it potentially means for writers.

It’s a really long article. It’s really worth reading. The *exceedingly* short take-away of it is that you may soon be seeing copies of NO DOMINION on bookstore shelves near you…

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on May 25th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's pretty eye-opening. And I have no idea what it means for me, a debut author with a NYC house. But still...interesting.

Not all of the changes in publishing are bad. And that's very good news indeed.

Thanks so much for sharing this.
irishkateirishkate on May 25th, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
I can honestly say I know as little about the industry after as before except to know that things are changing and one of the big changes is indie books.
Geek of Weird Shit: fireygows on May 25th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
That . . . kind of made my brain hurt. Too much stuff I'm not familiar with (like the standard model and How It Works).

However, the change she describes sounds veeeerrryyy iiiiiinteresting.
kitmizkit on May 26th, 2013 09:26 am (UTC)
I had to read it twice to take it all in and I know the language. :)
ruford42 on May 26th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
Very interesting. I found returns odd when I worked in a book store...dang, two decades ago?? Especially since the bulk of what was housed in that store were mass market paperbacks, which had the same return policy as the magazines -- at least with Ingram -- in that the front cover was ripped off and sent back, presumably to avoid the extra expense of shipping a bunch of books no one bought twice.

Sounds like good news for you, though -- and a good step forward for indie authors in general. Although, there still remains the issue of floor space and even knowing about an item to place an order...

Though, combine this with Kobo's working with indie booksellers...
Though, truthfully, I'm skeptical about the long term relationship
here -- Once, Kobo gets the nice shopkeeps to train their customers
to go to the kobo store for ebooks -- what's the business reason for
maintaining the expense of the relationship with the indie paper

There's still the issue of publicity. I realize Kobo is making
this play, in part because of Border collapsing and in part because
their own indepent run on ebooks didn't take a large chunk of
buyers away from Amazon or B&N -- but these are companies that can
either afford to hold boxes of any given title in one of their warehouses or have relationships with the old-style distributors to the point they can receive and deliver any title within a week or so, which means even if they aren't actively promoting it -- they can easily have it available for order on their web site, and even use algorithms to read through the blurps and other metadata to pull it up eventually as a recommendation while listing both the ebook and the print version.

Small book sellers rarely have a web site, much less one that has an e-commerce section that's integrated into their inventory or the ability to file an order...Which I expect still means they're ordering one copy of things they hope will sales, and maybe a handful of the best selling author's publicized releases so they can have them on hand...but short of a publisher/distributor blurb or a customer request -- I'm not imagining they're likely to show up on a shelf for browsers to stumble upon.

It'd be nice to see if any of the distributors start developing an API or more likely, a front-end for booksellers to let customers browse various titles and to submit an order or perhaps a request to order.
kitmizkit on May 26th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC)
Well, it seems to mean that a new CE Murphy book will come up in the system, given that it suggests that the new KKRusch book came up in it automagically. It's still not particularly helpful if you haven't got an established name, perhaps, but it's an interesting change!
ruford42 on May 28th, 2013 08:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, very interesting...Strangely though no book stores are letting me order Shaman Rises or Stonemaster just yet!

For online stores, recommendation systems can be helpful -- though I'm surprised that none of the systems I've dealt with so far let you be alerted when there's a new release for a title either by a given author or a series.

One thing I liked about the days I was able to deal with an independent book store, is they'd hear from the other local people and were able to offer recommendations and they would also review the new releases blurbs from Ingram -- Though, honestly I'd be afraid to try and keeping up with that today given the sheer number of authors who've sold world rights, not to mention the various formats.
A large duck: drownedburger_eater on May 26th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I wish she had someone who could write the 300-word version of her posts.
kitmizkit on May 26th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
That's part of why I rarely read her blog, yeah.

TL;DR: Baker & Taylor and Ingrams have both removed the self-publishing section of their websites/ordering system, so all books are released system-wide, whether self-published or traditionally published.

They are also now offering to select bookstores (good customers who pay bills on time & order a lot) a 45% return on self-published books, rather than the previous 5% or 0% return. Furthermore, a bookstore can return only one book, rather than the 5 that were previously necessary for them to accept a return.

The upshot of this is that books released through Amazon's extended CreateSpace program are beginning to appear system-wide through the book-ordering sysem as soon as they're released, and they may even be turning up on bookstore shelves. I'm not personally familiar enough with how a bookstore finds and determines what books to order to be sure how to get, say, NO DOMINION on their radar, but it appears that it is now possible to get POD indie books into the bookstores.

Now it's a question of figuring out how to inform bookstores they need to be looking for the new CE Murphy (or Harry Connolly) books, apparently.

Another interesting and probably important detail in that blog is that returns, which were steady at 50% or higher for a Very Long Time, dropped by 27% by the end of 2012, which appears to reflect bookstores buying fewer copies and being able to order new ones for swift delivery when the first ones sell. Next week (or soon) she's going to talk about how this affects print runs and a bunch of other things.

I realize that was long for a TL;DR, but it was the best I could do.
A large duckburger_eater on May 27th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
Hey, don't say it was too long. It was actually the right length. This conveys the information without a few thousand extra words of back-patting and condescension.

kitmizkit on May 27th, 2013 08:56 am (UTC)
O.O :)
A large duckburger_eater on May 27th, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
Too much?

Sorry about that.