In an effort to reach out and
meet more PMA members, we have been having our board meetings in different
regions of the country, along with mini–university programs for the
people in those regions. In Florida last February, we had a great meeting with
the folks of the Florida Publishing Association. In Seattle last month, we met
with Book Publishers Northwest. We were able to offer assistance to 78 people
there, and it was great to get to know them from both a business and a social
While in Seattle, I was reading <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>The Seattle Times
and came across an ad that struck a nerve. The ad was selling some electronic
stock, but I looked at this full-page ad and wondered why booksellers have
never considered doing something like this.
The ad read, “65% Off All Slightly
Scratched or Dented Stock.” I thought, What a brilliant idea! Why wouldn’t
something like this work in our bookselling industry? Everyone likes a bargain.
No one would really mind if a book’s cover was slightly scratched and/or there
was a bent corner inside when they got the book at a 65 percent discount. That
65 percent discount is all that matters. Will this prevent returns? Probably
not. But will it decrease the number of returns? Perhaps. And would both
retailers and publishers end up making more money? Undoubtedly.
While I know that some retail
outlets work with markdowns in place, most don’t. And the markdowns in place
normally are from the larger, not the smaller, publishers.
What do we know about the average
consumer? Consumers like bargains. When we met with the reps of Amazon.com at
our November board meeting [see “Bulletins from the Board Meeting” in this
issue], they said the Bargain Book area was one of the most frequented spots on
So my suggestion is: Work with
your retail accounts where possible and encourage markdowns in place,
especially for post-holiday sales. Maybe that will keep the return trucks from
rolling down the street toward your warehouse or home.
Introducing . . .
In October I sent an email to our
members asking everyone to introduce themselves, tell us a bit about their
companies, and include pictures of themselves and/or their titles if they
wished. By the time you receive this issue of <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>PMA Independent, several of these
profiles will be appearing on our Web site weekly on a rotating basis, and
every profile will be archived so that we can all get to know each other
It’s been a fascinating read for
me, and I thought that I’d show you the kind of thing you’ll be reading by
presenting a profile sent by one of the PMA board members who responded. I can
think of no one who better exemplifies the spirit of an independent publisher
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Name of your press:<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> Square One Publishers
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Year founded: 2000
Garden City Park, New York
1. Why did you become a book publisher?
am dyslexic, reading was always a challenge to me. While I might have read
slower than most kids, it was important for me to finish every book I started.
As I forced myself to read more and more books, I learned to appreciate them.
Then when a job opening for a publisher’s sales representative presented
itself, I jumped at the opportunity.
2. What do you like best about publishing?
the challenge of finding good projects, helping shape their contents, designing
the final products, and then selling the hell out of them.
3. What do you publish?
specialized in adult nonfiction for niche markets. This includes How-To,
Health, Personal Finance, Parenting, Military History, and Relationships.
4. What is the most effective form of marketing for
clever catalogs and getting good solid reviews.
5. How do you define a successful title?
that clearly answers a person’s most important questions about a specific topic
and is recognized for this accomplishment by others.
6. Tell us about one of your titles about which you
are especially proud.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>While Talking with Your Hands, Reading with Your Eyes<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> by Gabriel Grayson took nine years to produce; it has
become the leading seller in American Sign Language titles.
7. What has been your biggest challenge in achieving
up with our growing workload. Trying to get our wholesalers to pay us in a
timely fashion. Living up to all our promises.
8. What advice do you have for newcomers to book
much as you can about the business <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>before going into publishing, not after.
If you are already in the business, keep learning. Try to find a mentor who can
help you with important decisions.
9. How will you and your company be positioned in five
I hope my
company will be the best publishing company in the U.S., attracting the most
talented people available.
10. When you’re not fully immersed in publishing, what
do you do for fun?
about and collect old posters.