Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And now for some serious news...

We interrupt this schedule to bring you disturbing news from the world of publishing.

I don't fully understand the mechanics of book production, but all I need to know is that a Very Big Company (AMS) has gone bankrupt (- people in prison, FBI raids, stockmarket crash). This is going to adversely affect not only a lot of the big publishing houses but most of all, a lot of little independent publishers. Who may not be big enough fish to survive. For those of us who write on the edges of fiction (and erotica often counts as such) this is not good news.

Writers won't get paid for sales from the end of last year. Imprints like Cleis Press could be badly affected.

So a plea on behalf of independent publishers - buy direct from them if you can. Cleis is having a big sale at the moment - well worth checking out.

All those of you who love books and want to help:

Don't let the little imprints go under! Man the decks! Save the independents! Buy direct!

1 comment:

Alison Tyler said...


Very good of you to post this. It's a definite crisis in the industry, and this is the third distribution company that I know of with bankruptcy issues in the past three years.

I grew up in a house of writers and publishers, and I have a fairly good grip on both sides of the industry. While authors tend only to wind up with what feels like a miniscule percentage of sales (5-10%), publishers often receive even less by the end of the day.

You won't believe how many times writers have asked me, "Why does an author receive 7% and the publisher receive 93%?" Oh, if only...

In book sales, stores often receive a discount ranging from 40-65% from the title cost, depending on the size of the order. But if you take an average of 50% discount, and if you start with a $10 book -- then a publisher receives $5.00 per title to pay for the following:

author royalty
printing costs
typesetting/cover art
office space

So you can see for an independent company like Cleis, not to receive any money on sales for their largest quarter of the year, life can get very tight!

Thanks again for the post!