What Happens Next?

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A client of mine has just crested 4000 units sold into the “traditional” book market. She has sold to bookstores, online and libraries. She has made no money. The cost of manufacturing and promoting her book to GET 4000 sales has far outstripped what she has made.

Another client pre-sold 3000 copies of each of her three books into a national chain. She has yet to see a dime for books sold 8 months ago. The big retailer does not need to pay the little guy.

Returns are killing the creative publishers, slow-to-pay wholesalers are crippling the small houses and the shipping costs are climbing at a dizzying rate.

I would suggest that a fully executed, well marketed sales campaign handled totally on line makes some sense. Shoppers look for information on the web now. Why not offer them the books they need while they are on line?

Amazon and others buy in small, appropriate quantities, rarely return any books and pay monthly.

Are stores the wave of the past? Is brick-and-mortar dead? Dying? Is there any reason to stay with actual bookstores?

Booksellers will say that they provide a valuable community service, that they can recommend and nurture a wonderful gem of a book in a way the internet cannot.

Total Crap.

Yes, bookstores are a lovely place to spend an hour and they are a community resource, but in this economy and with time at such a premium, the average reader can get the exact same services from a trusted book review blog.

Word of mouth has moved on line. It may be time for book retailers to do the same.

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