One thing leads to another, or....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Even more link pimping. heh.

A discussion took place recently, over on Dear Author, regarding an author interview The Book Bitches posted. One thing discussed, was the author's ascertation that print-runs had dropped by 75%. Seems drastic, doesn't it? Yet, I 'm almost sure I've heard something similar before.

Then today I cruised by Anne Fraiser's blog and, while she doesn't give numbers, she is concerned about the low print run of her latest/upcoming release. She's proposing a blogathon (100 bloggers blogging about the book, linking to the book video/site) on the day of release with the aim of making a best-seller's list. Given the potential audience, I think the YouTube party is a great idea.

Diana Peterfreund had a fun thing posted on her blog today regarding her new release. I can easily see this slideshow being adapted for pre-release teasers, etc. In fact, I'd say I enjoyed her slideshow far more than many of the book 'trailers' I've viewed. Keep an eye on Alison Kent for what creative thing she plans for her upcoming release.

If you skip over to Tess Gerritsen's blog, she has a post up about MAJOR advertising-- as in publisher's best seller/star author type marketing. Lots of useful stuff there.

All very interesting, but in the end a juicy excerpt coupled with a tantalizing synopis and (hopefully)gorgeous cover are pretty much the tried and true way to get *me* to buy a book. But all this other stuff 'might' catch my attention and or entertain me. Nothing more. But it can't hurt, and in today's crowded market, you really have to work hard to get your name out there.

I buried this link in the comments, but it's an interesting thread re how increased prices are negatively affecting some readers book buying. Link here.
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Jane said...

Are print runs down because people aren't buying the books? are people buying other books or just not reading as much? I am not sure I understand what is happening.

Jaye said...

If I had to guess, I'd say it could be because there are far more writers out there, but, for the most part, the reading audience is the same size, if not actually shrinking. Nevermind all the fragmenting/sub-genre/niche-writing going on. So there's more books type/choice and more writers, ... but limited/stagnant/shrinking, and aging (er, this last prone to natural attrition. heh) audience. Plus throw in the fact of a finite amount of bookshelf space.

That's partly why publishers are focused on identifying/exploting the next hot thing-- and milking it till it curdles--rather than taking the time to nuture careers (I mean this in the old-fashion sense, where an author wouldn't necessarily have to write under a new name because of a dismal sell-thru. Not if the editor/house was intent on investing in them long term).

Ultimately you'd have to ask someone far more knowledgeable than me. I'd also supposed that with publishers now huge corporations answerable to shareholder who are interested in profits, they're more risk adverse (ie smaller print runs, could mean smaller advances and/or more likelihood that sellthru is achieved, rather than paying the author upfront (via an advance) for books that might never sell.

On the other hand.... I'm sure there are individual authors who will attest to the fact that *their* print runs increase with every subsequent book. But, as I mention in my post, it's not the first time I've heard that *generally* speaking print runs have decreased.

jane said...

This is interesting and I am not sure that I can completely grasp the whole problem. This is kind of what I hear you saying:

1. We have diversification and that means more readers are buying a wider variety rather than a select few authors?

2. We have an aging reader population which is not matched by younger readers so that when older readers die or no longer are able to read, their market shoes aren't being fulfilled.

3. Less readers overall because of other entertainment choices.

I really like the idea of viral blogging to help a book sell. It's an interesting concept

Jordan Summers said...

I think the cost of books is playing hugely into the drop-off of readership. Yes, there are more authors, but the price of books has jumped tremendously. So even if a reader wanted to, most cannot afford to buy all the books they'd like. I think that explains the large profit used bookstores experienced last year.

You're spot on about the publishers having to watch the bottom line.

Jaye said...

lol. Yes, Jane, that's exactly what I was rambling about, er, meant. It's definitely not a cut and dried issued, and Jordan brought up another good point about book prices.

I know I've become more miserly just in the past few months, and not just because the escalating price or precived value-- ie, books coming out in trade so I have pay the extra premium on a book that might have large font, big margins & lots of white space and barely 300 page. But also because of the (recent) difficulty in recouping my losses at the UBS.

A number of UBSs here are reluctant to stock many romances. They designate one measely bookshelf in the whole store for romances and that shelf is usually overflowing. 'No more room' they cry, with hands up. 'We're not buying romances.'

And when they are buying it's hardly worth the effort. They use to pay appx $2/book. Now it's $0.75.

So the price of the book goes up (and in some cases I'm getting 'less' book/story for my 'more' money)then when the book turns out to be a non-keeper, the cash I can get back has been reduced. All in all, makes me less likely to take chances when it comes to book purchases.

I think I'm rambling again, so I'll shut up now. :-P

Jaye said...

Came across this discussion on Romantic Times. Pretty much on target re the comments about *not buying* based on increased prices.

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