Tuesday, December 16, 2008

this makes me happy.

HarperStudio just struck a deal with Borders to sell in books on a nonreturnable basis (with a steeper discount). Progress!!

27 comments:

Juliana Stone said...

Woot! I saw this on PW this morning and thought the same thing! How wonderful after reading your post yesterday! Postivie thinking my friend!

Juliana Stone said...

shees...I mean positive....was so excited I can't even spell!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Happy dance of joy!!!!!

JKB said...

Yaa-hooo!

This is great news!

Positive thinking and the fingers are glued crossed!

AC said...

It's a Christmas miracle! Er...or maybe just a really great early Christmas present.

Crimogenic said...

A good piece of news. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Arielle Marie said...

Yay! That's exciting. :D

Charles Gramlich said...

I hope this helps. Sounds like it should.

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

Good.

JES said...

May this be the start of a burst logjam...

moonrat said...

...and not a sign that Borders is capsizing entirely.

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/publishing/welcome_to_the_death_of_publishing_take_forty_103547.asp

H. L. Dyer said...

Hmmm... clearly Borders and Harper must read your blog. :)

JES said...

Sheesh moonie, this is like watching one of those "the thrill of victory!... no, wait -- the agony of defeat!" black-and-white movie trailers. A real rollercoaster.

Anonymous said...

Progress couched in desperation? Amazing what happens when you are staring down into the abyss and all you see is the abyss staring back.

Jo said...

Yay! Change!

Linda said...

Yeppers, saw this on PW during lunch - maybe the economy is making the biz (at last) rethink business as usual. We can only hope. Yahoo! Peace, Linda

Janet said...

That is so amazing. You know, I was thinking just the other day that what we need is a few bookstores who would have the guts to negotiate precisely this kind of deal, where they would forego the right of return, in exchange for a deeper discount. I'm feeling positively prophetic.

I suspect that my musings were a result of one of your posts, too. Now if only I had left a comment to that effect, I could PROVE that I'd thought it ahead of time. ;o)

Dingbat said...

Yay! HarperStudio warms my heart again.

writtenwyrdd said...

A sign of hope when businesses act sensibly. Here's to more of the same!

Kim Kasch said...

Whoo-Hoo!!! How cool is that?!!!

Ann Victor said...

Moon Rat happy = Me happy too. :)

Zen of Writing said...

Excellent news! Bravo Borders! I will have to make a shopping trip there this week.

peggy said...

Yay!! Now maybe they'll order some of mine LOL..
Great news, thanks for posting :)

Pamala Knight said...

So glad that someone in the industry is finally coming to their senses. This will certainly make me more inclined to shop at Borders. I'm usually too annoyed with their complicated coupon system/bait and switch tactic to do much shopping there, but I think this might encourage me to plunk down some of my Amazon.com cash there.

Hooray!

Deb said...

Good! And drat! I wish they'd been able to take this step a few years back when my small press books were still in print. That the books weren't returnable killed some deals for chain bookstores to carry this small press's titles.

But even if too late for me, I'm glad they've gone this route.

Joe Foster said...

As Deb said, Borders wouldn't take a chance with a non-returnable book... what makes you think they will now? They'll buy even more conservatively, take fewer chances, and the odds of that long shot novel getting a shot on the shelves are even less likely, I think.
A deep discount on a title is great for a bookstore, but the risk of having hundreds of books on the shelves that never move... I'm afraid that Borders will become even more of an outlet for the NYT Bestseller list.

I don't disagree that the mass returns are damaging to publishers, but removing the returns model may very well be the death of the unknown writer, so to speak. The last thing you want, as a not-yet-known writer, is for the Buyers to be afraid of taking chances.
Not completely sure where I stand on this.


(long-time lurker, first-time commenter. Buyer at an Indie.)

moonrat said...

Hey Joe--thanks for your comment. It's really interesting to hear a buyer's perspective.

It's true the returns model was designed to help undiscovered writers get store buyers to take a risk on them. But at least in the job I currently work in, I've found that bookstores aren't taking choices that aren't really "obvious" even WITH a return model. And the return model is crippling the publisher.

Like you, I want a solution that benefits the author, because I believe that that's the same solution that benefits the reader (cutting out all the corporate and money-making crap). I do also believe that things need to change--the system is so flawed that we got into the jam we're in now.

So there are a number of routes we can experiment with (the whole realignment, as I fantasize about, would take time, but I do believe it's possible), including higher discount rates (per Harper Studio) and/or caps on returns (you can return up to 25% of the quantity you take, or something). We (publishers) do need to offer bookstores incentive to take nonreturnable books, and I think that even with incentive the take quantities are going to go down significantly. Which means publishing companies (and consumers) have to get used to smaller print runs and higher prices, which means authors need to get used to smaller advances and fewer royalties. Which also means books will not be as widely available in brick-and-mortar stores until they've proved themselves, so the internet will become an increasingly important tool for authors to launch, market, and sell their books in the early staged. In other words, everyone is going to kind of be moving toward the self-pubbing model... How weird. But there will be breakaways, there will be successes, and people will still be able to read. Most importantly, good literature will still be available, somehow.

I do believe. But you know me; generally filled with indefatigable optimism.