Douglas Adams Would Be Proud. (In Deep Smit 12/05/08)

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you fall into one of two categories. You are either a friend (online or otherwise) or you are involved in publishing. Or both, natch. 😉

If you’re in the latter category, this is undoubtedly no news to you, but publishing has had rather a rough week. A rough year, actually… but this week the discussion rose to fever pitch.

After reading grim postings everywhere from Publisher’s Marketplace to GalleyCat to various publishing professionals’ blogs, it’s easy to fall into the frenzy of alleged Armageddon.

You know…

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
The dead rising from the grave!
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

So this week, I am deeply smitten with the agents at FinePrint who are calmly assuring us that Armageddon is NOT at hand. Both Colleen Lindsay and Janet Reid have posted why the sky is NOT falling.

They have both instructed us not to panic, and I have taken the liberty of making those letters as large and friendly as is practical. So I present the Publishing Industry “Don’t Panic” graphic…

I will be displaying it in my sidebar as reassurance.

Furthermore, we are not helpless in this crisis. As long as there is demand for books, they will continue to be published. And WE are the ones who create the demand. Moonrat on Editorial Ass has started a group called “Buy a Book, Save the World” if you want to join forces, but more important is to BUY BOOKS.

BookEnds agent Kim Lionetti posted recently about books as holiday gifts so you can check there for some gift ideas. 😉


9 Responses

  1. Yea! I was just at Borders today, buying books for holiday gifts!

  2. Hey, I want that button on my sidebar! May I have that button on my sidebar??

  3. So what’s the issue? Are sales of Amazon’s Kindle staggering? Or are those fundies really getting a foothold on that book burning business?

  4. *snort* Sabrina!

    Moonrat gave a lovely explanation on her blog (the Editorial Ass link above), but essentially the problems are:

    1) The economy sucks and everything is more expensive.
    2) Publishing is a low-profit-margin industry to start with.
    3) When bookstores are in trouble, they return books causing the publishers to eat the shipping costs in addition to the production costs.
    4) Big advances that don’t “earn out.” In other words, if Joe the Plumber gets a gazillion dollar advance for his book, but doesn’t sell enough copies to profit that much, the loss is eaten by the publisher.

    The sales of the Kindle are going well, and there’s a lot of speculation that ebooks will play a much bigger role in publishing’s future.

  5. “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
    The dead rising from the grave!
    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! ”

    Is that Ghostbusters? I like that movie. A lot. =) I have already gone to the stores and bought quite a few books this year. With Christmas coming up, I most likely will buy many more!

    Speaking of the Kindle, I was thinking about it not long ago and I was wondering. All the people who say the Kindle will save us all money in the end, do they visit libraries? Because I don’t see how a Kindle would benefit a lot of people who already have enormous books collections or get most of their books from the library….

    Sorry, off topic, but I was curious….

  6. Great blog, Heather! it’s nice to have those rays of sunshine through the storm.

  7. Thanks, Cole!

    And, hi, Chelle! Thanks for stopping by!

    I don’t think the benefit of a Kindle is so much in saving money for the consumer (although many books are priced cheaper for the Kindle versions, others are about the same!).

    I think folks like the Kindle cuz they can load a bunch of books at once and find/purchase a book they are interested in instantly.

    Where the Kindle does save money is in production costs. How much of those savings will translate to the consumer is still sort of up in the air, but…

    No paper/ink + no shipping costs = beau coup savings. 😉

    And, yes! Ghostbusters quote. Well spotted! 🙂

  8. Yay, GREAT post! I too may hie off with the new publishing mascot!

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