Tag Archives: bookstores

What was Satan Thinking?

 

First, let’s be clear on what I mean when I say POD books. This term has become so misused and misunderstood that it has actually resulted in lost sales for many. This doesn’t need to be the case.

POD stands for PRINT ON DEMAND. You’ll notice the word PRINT. Not publish or promote, PRINT!

POD is the process used by PRINTERS to eliminate the need for excessive runs of print copies. The printer simply waits until there is an order and then prints the specific number of copies ordered, removing the immediate potential for wasted paper.

I’m not sure why POD books have received such a negative reputation, but most booksellers and librarians, and now due to the overwhelming number of authors arguing about it in public forums, readers equate POD with lower quality books. This simply isn’t the case.

For over a decade, a multitude of publishers, both big and small, have been using the POD method for fulfilling orders.

The quality of the written word is determined well before the actual book ever goes to print, thereby eliminating the misconception that POD books are “bad.” It needs to be understood by all that POD, the method of printing does not account for the number of poorly written and edited books being sold in the market.

The biggest problem with the misunderstanding of POD is the ability for companies and authors to market and promote the books. However, with the proper education within the retail (and library) industries, bookseller and acquisition librarians could not only increase their potential sales and titles available, but could increase the variety of stories available to their readers.

Readers crave originality. They are tired of reading the same recycled stories by the same authors. Yet, they are deprived of any freshness in their choices, because the larger and more traditional publishers are reluctant to take any financial risk on the newer and more exciting stories written by unknown or new authors.

I would encourage everyone in the book industry to educate themselves and to recognize the value of POD books and to acknowledge the potential for increased sales. Give new authors a chance to prove that they have writing skill and the ability to tell a good story, no matter how many copies of their book is printed at one time.

Furthermore, consider the environmental impact of POD books. A traditional publisher may print 5000 copies of a paperback novel by a new author, and only sell 1500 of them. This means that the remaining 3500 unsold copies will be put into waste. Had the publisher used the POD process to print those books, they would have simply printed the 1500 copies as the orders came in and eliminated the waste. If you did this for 10,000 books in one year, imagine how much paper would be saved and thus less trees.

Bottom line, POD is not the work of Satan. It is simply a process used to print books in smaller quantities. Sorry, Dude, you don’t get credit for this one.

My final point refers to the availability and returnability of books produced using the POD process. The status of returns is not determined across the industry, it is determined by the specific publisher or author. This means that it is an unfair assumption for a bookstore not to carry a POD book, without first determining its returnability status.

We all have choices, but when we make a choice, that doesn’t give us the right to complain when that choice cause a problem.

I hope that after reading this post, more people who speak ill of the POD process will reconsider their “choices” and give authors a fair chance to sell books and entertain readers.

Will you?

Originally published at ©Life as a Publisher by Karen L. Syed
This can be reproduced in it’s entirety with no additions or corrections.

 

Is Occupying the Answer?

I read a post this morning called “Occupy Amazon” the bibliopirate Blog. This has become a huge issue in the book industry. Amazon vs. world. Really? If you’ve read any of my posts you know I’m an Amazon.com advocate. Before you go getting your knickers all twisted up at me, save your rotten fruit, I’m not going to change my mind. At least not until they screw me. Why do I like Amazon so much you might ask?

1. I sell books there–and lots of them. Literally 10 to 1 compared to brick and mortar stores. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to sell books in bookstores, but stores simply don’t want to sell our books. There are many reasons they offer, but bottom line is bookstores aren’t willing to take the risk on a small business, even though many of the stores are small businesses themselves.

2. Convenience. I’m not a fan of traffic, actually I’m a bit of a road rage driver, anyone who’s been in a car with me can attest to that. Stupid drivers just piss me off. So, it’s easier if I just shop from my computer. No one gets hurt, and my blood pressure stays within a manageable range.

3. Selection. I can find 100 times more stuff to buy from Amazon than I can from any bookstore. My experience with bookstores is that they favor the big publishers and best sellers. That’s great, if that’s what keeps them in business then that’s what they should sell. But it doesn’t work for me. I prefer new authors, lots of series, and have a fondness for indie publishers. I find very few of those in bookstores.

I read post after post and hear comment after comment about how Amazon is killing the brick and mortar stores. I simply don’t believe this. I think the stores could actually compete more effectively if they gave more consideration to what their customers want and less to what they think will sell. Customer service is the key element to any successful business. No one is willing to pay higher prices and be treated badly. I know I’m not.

I’ll pay a higher price if the store clerks actually acknowledged me, offered me any assistance, and knew what they hell they were doing. This has not been the case in the last ten stores (of any kind) I have been in. Especially bookstores.

I just don’t see Amazon as the villain everyone makes them out to be. They are a business, like any other, and they are in the business to make money. That is why we all go into business, right? I posted a comment somewhere about this and I clearly stated that consumers have a choice. No one is forcing anyone to go to Amazon.

As for bibiopirate’s situation. It’s sad when people go into stores, especially bookstores, and forget about common courtesy. Looking for a book? If you can shop on Amazon then you should be smart enough to know how to look up the info you seek on the web. Don’t be an asshat and go to a local store, make them do all the legwork (that makes you lazy), and then deprive them of the sale. That is just pissy and there is a special place in hell for people like you.

Show some decency. If you have the time and the inclination to actually go into a store, then give them your business. They have earned it, simply by being there for you.

bibliopirate doesn’t really call for a boycott of Amazon, though others have. That’s not the answer. Amazon has as much right to fight for the consumer ‘s business than any store or whatever. What happens in the retail world is 100% dependant on the consumer. It is YOU who makes the choice where you spend your money. If Amazon is the king of retailers it’s because consumers have made it so. You want your local stores to thrive, then get off your duff, get out of your house, and go spend your money there.

But for cripes sake, remember, your local store is not an information booth on your way to online shopping. It’s a place where people just like  you go to earn a living and support their families. Show some respect!

You can also do your favorite stores a favor by promoting them. In fact, why don’t you post your favorite local store in the comment section of this post. No big box stores, just hometown businesses that deserve some exposure and some business.

Tell us about your…

Favorite local business:

Address:

Web site:

Why you like them:

Same Feeling of Being Right at Home (Bookstore Spotlight by Carolyn J. Rose)

Readers and writers in and around Cover to Cover Books in Vancouver, Washington, are so fond of the store that many of them pitched in to help owner Mel Sanders unpack, reshelve, and alphabetize 450 boxes of books rescued from a fire in the fall of 2010.

They turned out to pay back favors given. Over the years Mel has gone the extra mile to support area authors, providing a venue for the Vancouver Writers Mixers and the Ghost Town Poetry Open Microphone evenings.

 They turned out because so many small businesses—and so many bookstores—are closing and they wanted to insure that Cover to Cover would have a good start in its post-fire location. (6300 NE Saint James Road, Suite 104B, Vancouver, WA, 98663)

They turned out in solidarity because Mel is also a writer. She’s been published in Under the Rose, a Norilana Books anthology of the fantastic, and in various e-books.

They turned out because Mel brews up some terrific espresso, because Smedley the bookstore cat loves company, and because Cover to Cover has comfortable chairs, and a cheerful ambiance, even on cold and rainy days.

Finally, they turned out because it was another opportunity to get together and talk about books, to browse through books, to breathe in the scent of books.

Cover to Cover has about 20,000 books—new and used—on the shelves. Every time I visit I find books I haven’t seen before—books Mel bought at estate sales, books brought in by book scouts, books taken in trade from customers. Every time I visit, no matter how high my to-be-read pile, I buy books.

Mel displays books by area authors, including all nine of mine. She also provides opportunities for writers to discuss writing craft and launch their latest projects. I plan to be there soon with copies of my tenth work, a suspense novel called An Uncertain Refuge, and the eleventh, a love story set in 1966 called A Place of Forgetting, and due out this fall.

Website: www.covertocoverbooks.net

Twitter: www.twitter.com/C2Cbooks

Phone: 360-993-7777

E-mail: mail@covertocoverbooks.net

Carolyn J. Rose is the author of ten novels. She grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking. Surf to www.deadlyduomysteries.com to learn more.