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New Opportunities for PMA Members

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After listening to many members comment about new fees that are being put into place by companies which previously provided the same services at no charge, PMA began to discuss ways in which we could help our members.The first opportunity is with Baker & Taylor, one of the largest wholesalers to the trade book market, in regard to their relationship with many independents. Years ago, where there were far fewer publishers, B&T was able to enter a publisher online with a minimal expense to their company. Since the mid-80s, more and more publishers have been entering the industry . . . some have been selling nicely, while others were just entered into a database and never experienced any sales. No one could determine in advance who would be successful in sales and/or who would not. But the bottom line is that B&T’s costs increased as more people needed this type of service. So they imposed a fee.We approached B&T with an offer relating to our membership, which they agreed to after some modifications. It is as follows: Baker & Taylor will offer a new program for PMA-member publishers who do not currently have a relationship with B&T. If a new publisher commits to participating in one marketing program presented by PMA during the first year of their relationship with Baker & Taylor, the $125 database fee at B&T will be waived.The publisher must agree to the following terms: 55% discount; four free stocking copies of each title for two B&T warehouses; payment of freight to these warehouses; 90-day payment terms; and proof that the publishing company has entered a PMA-sponsored marketing program.Please note that this offer is available only to those publishers who do not currently have a relationship with Baker & Taylor and is not retroactive.For further information on this program, contact Mary Beth Rossetti, Publisher’s Services Department, B&T, at 908/218-3863 or by fax at 908/704-9315.We are currently working on other types of programs similar to this. One new service we plan to have in place by September is a special business insurance policy for independent and home-based publishers, as well as a retirement plan for the independent publisher. As soon as these are in place, we shall announce the news via our chat group PMA-L (see page 40 for how to sign onto this group), through this newsletter, and in all our welcome and renewal packets.Kent Sturgis, our Member Benefits chairperson, is working on other services as well, which shall be announced shortly. The one program that seems to be elusive to date is a good medical program. We have looked at several programs and have found that in most states, less expensive and better service is available through your state-operated medical program for small businesses.
ALA – Washington, DC


The buzz at this show was that there was enough money to buy other than “necessary product.” And that was from public, private, school, and corporate libraries! What’s “necessary product”? Well, the exact meaning seems to vary, depending upon which librarian you ask. They all agree that if a book is favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist or Choice, it’s like a stamp of approval and they don’t have to justify the buy to their superiors. If their patrons ask enough for a type of product, they can justify a buy of a title as well. Example: Some geographic areas that are experiencing large unemployment can stock their shelves with the latest in resume, job-hunting, and career-change books without much question, since this is a needed product.The public librarians universally stated that they love to have local authors and publishers visit and work with their libraries. Many of them are offering reading hours to support their local groups. My suggestion: Visit your local library and get immediate feedback on your title(s) from the librarians and the patrons (who are the eventual “buyers”) of your title. You can find out what’s working and what’s not. This will definitely help with your second edition.At this show, I also ran into Gail Schlacter of Reference Service Press. When I first met Gail, she had just left a position in a library and had authored a book called Financial Aid for Women and Minorities. This was back in the early 1980s. As a librarian, she saw a need for this type of book and worked on developing one to fill the void. She came to our office and we worked together on developing a flyer that could be used in a public library mailing. About eight months later, Gail called our office and said, “I thought you might like to know that I had a modest success with that mailing.” When I asked what this modest success was, Gail replied, “I sold out my first print run.” She had printed about 2,000 copies. Her cover price was $79.95. When I put the two figures together, I commented, “Gail, I would say that is more than a modest success!”Gail has gone on from that beginning to develop a very focused publishing company producing reference books on funding, aid, and minority groups. She has developed an impressive catalog of these titles, has bought herself a building and warehouse in Northern California, and still stays actively involved in her bread and butter community-libraries. She serves on ALA boards and continues to find out where voids exist and attempts to fill them. Gail, in my eyes, is a “modest” achiever.It’s always delightful to meet up with other members similar to Gail at events that we work throughout the country!


This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor August, 1998, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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