Author, are you fortunate enough to have a book in publication? If so, how is book distribution working for you?
The latest hitchnews found itself concerned with the ability of authors to reel in helpful information regarding demographics of book buyers. After some investigation, hitchnews discovered that our two largest book distributors -Ingram and Baker & Taylor – won’t provide any information along these lines, using buyer privacy as a cover. However, one of the lesser stars in the book distribution firmament, Atlas Book Distribution, says they will provide this info – if the book stores report it to them.
It’s my opinion that hitchnews' revelations don’t uncover any nefarious intentions by book distributors, but it does point up by implication the clout distributors have in the book biz.
A case in point: My first published novel came out of a Canadian publishing company that was using the disparity between Canadian and U.S. dollars' worth to undersell domestic publishers. This company used one of the above-mentioned distributors in the U.S. My distributor withheld over a million $$$ from my publisher’s initial U.S. sales in an attempt to ruin said publisher. Of course, it didn’t take long for the publisher to turn belly up.
Privacy concerns are a good thing. But valuable general information, such as sales at given bookstores in certainly available, and providing this info to authors and publishers hardly threatens buyers.
If you’ve had distribution problems along these lines, or in any other manner, I’d like to hear suggestions as to how to resolve them.
More on the Kindle
While spending time in a book booth this week, I had my first opportunity to see the Kindle in action. We were outside, in a brightly sunlit tent, and one of my colleagues was reading from a newly purchased Kindle. Despite ambient glare, the device was easy to read. The type, leading, and “print” size all seemed easy on the eyes – this having been one of my concerns with using such a device.
As we nattered on about the Kindle a recent bit of news came up concerning Amazon’s new device. Or rather, Amazon’s management of its electronic distribution. I first saw this news reported in the L. A. Times, and I won’t go deeply into detail here, but Amazon was actually able to – and in fact did – remove e-sales of Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” from the Kindles of those who had purchased these literary masterpieces.
While electronic books seems a step into the future – at least to the geekier of us readers – this episode points up the Wild West nature of cutting edge technology. Clearly, there isn’t any obvious law to keep Amazon from grabbing up books beyond their copyright protection and selling them in electronic form. And there’s nothing yet to prevent the ironically Orwellian ability of Amazon to remove books from your Kindle.
Appalachian Authors Guild
I’ve been a member of AAG for a couple of years now. This group’s identity is a simple one: some sort of connection to Appalachia, via the author or the story. As with almost all other similar writer groups, this one struggles to have its work appear in the publishing biz.
The members of AAG that I’ve met are passionate about writing; they work hard at improving their craft, and are pretty darned crafty at pitching their work to the public.
The group has a blog now, and I hope – in the spirit of writerly or readerly networking – that those who partake of the Gridley experience will link with AAG, share ideas, inspirations, and support.