you're reading...
Uncategorized

Bookselling in Crisis, Part 2

Hello, again, loyal readers,

It is I, the non-alarmist, bringing you more alarming news from the front lines of the independent book-selling world. (To read the first “Bookselling in Crisis” post, go here.) Today I am here to report on the recent crisis concerning publishing representatives (hereafter referred to as “reps”). Reps are the biggest connection between booksellers and publishers. They come to our stores, get to know our store size, buying styles, customer demographics, and possible events. They send us advanced copies, and sometimes published copies of favorite books. They help us make author connections and help us with events. They listen to our advice, and our reviews. They celebrate with us when a favorite book wins an award. They help us straighten out ordering issues, remind us of old treasures, introduce us to new favorites, and generally provide a warm and friendly face to put with large (and small) publishers.

In short, my life as a bookseller is enriched by my interaction with my publisher reps.

And sadly, my publisher reps are being hit hard as the book industry struggles to right so many excess wrongs it’s incurred over the years.

This is a letter to the publishing industry at large, written by the North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association:

We are alarmed with what appears to be a trend in the sales division of publishers; the removal of field sales reps to independent bookstores. This draconian move against our bookselling segment will be responsible for the disappearance of book culture.

Field sales reps are a crucial part of our business. Each regional independent booksellers association and Publishers Weekly honors an outstanding field rep each year. We can’t think of another publisher position that gets this recognition. We devote countless hours at conferences refining the sales rep/bookseller relationship. They are that crucial to us.

Restricting field reps to large stores will give publishers a skewed view of what is a very diverse world –independent bookselling. Sales reps take the time to know our stores, what our customers like, and what is on our shelves. They are the industry worker-bees, travelling the region, taking ideas and trends and pollinating other stores. We learn about other stores from them, what others are reading and loving; what is selling; marketing tips; event ideas; what the publisher is doing; and what authors have books coming out in the next season. They make fans for authors out of our frontline booksellers. They cut through the catalogs to make sure we carry what we’ll be able to sell, and their endorsements are why we buy what we might have ignored.

These reasons are why cuts in field sales reps devastate us. Have you really thought about what this stricture will mean to you? Fewer books sales. Without a doubt, we are not ordering as much through telemarketing. We are definitely not focusing on your backlist through tele-sales, and we definitely miss titles from the frontlist. We also don’t buy as much direct, which makes independent bookselling a less profitable business. The vicious cycle is that we buy less because we don’t have sales reps, and then you devalue our business because we aren’t buying as much as we used to.

We understand the corporate need to save money. There are more efficacious and less exclusionary ways to cut your budgets. You know what they are because independent bookstores have been telling you what they are for years. Cut multiple ARC mailings. Do away with promotional gimmicks that go from mailbox to garbage can. Consider publishing fewer titles, fewer hard covers, fewer copies. Take a hard look at celebrity advances.

We exist to sell your books, those unique and hard to place titles, not just the established authors. Field sales reps are the tools we need to do that for you. As much as you would like to think a tele-salesperson is doing the same job, you are sadly mistaken. A field sales rep is far more than a person filling in an order form.

Don’t cut our lifeline to your books.

Sincerely,

The NAIBA Board of Directors
Joe Drabyak, Chester County Book Company, West Chester, PA
Lucy Kogler, Talking Leaves Inc., Buffalo, NY
Betty Bennett, Sparta Books, Sparta, NJ
Harvey Finkel, Clinton Bookshop, Clinton, NJ
Pat Kutz, Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, NY
Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC
Margot Sage-EL, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Susan L. Weis, breathe books, Baltimore, MD

They say it more eloquently than I ever could. Please, help us by supporting your local independent bookstores. Increased sales means a publisher might think twice about cutting a rep for our area. Thank you for taking the time to read about our plight.
– Rebecca

Advertisements

About WildlyLived

Creating | Photographing | Reading | Traveling | Writing

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Archives

WildlyRead on Facebook

WildlyRead on Facebook

WildlyRead on Instagram

It came! It came! So excited to have received my gorgeous new @rebelgirlsbook book 2 in the mail yesterday! That's 2/2 GOODNIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS books that I helped fund via @kickstarter, and I would help fund a dozen more at least. Also thrilled @quailridgebooks already has our shipment on order so I can handsell these through the holidays. #indiesfirst!
. . .
#readstagram #readwithme #readmore #reading #read #instaread #instabook #indiesfirst #shoplocal #bookstore #bookshop #bookshelves #book #books #bookrec #bookworm #bookish #booklove #booklover Today I sat down and read @theallycarter's newest book, NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST, coming out March 27, 2018, and I finished it in one sitting. That's how quickly I flipped those pages! I'm a huge fan of her HEIST SOCIETY series, and this one lives up to what I've come to expect from aa Ally Carter YA-thriller-romance. Read on for my review. Thanks to @quailridgebooks for my advanced copy! #booksellerlife . . .
Review: Ally Carter has done it again! I don't know how she manages to so perfectly balance a kick-ass teenage girl with just a pinch of over-the-top girliness, but she nails it every time. Basically this can be considered a contemporary retelling of The Paper Bag Princess, where the prince is the US President's son, the princess is the son's former best friend/daughter of the President's former body guard, and the dragon is a Russian operative. Oh and the setting is winter in Alaska. And because it's Ally Carter, while the girl clearly saves the day and rescues the boy, she also ends up with the boy because teenage love conquers all.
. . .
#readstagram #readwithme #readmore #reading #read #instaread #instabook #indiesfirst #shoplocal #bookstore #bookshop #bookshelves #book #books #bookrec #bookworm #bookish #booklove #booklover #fridayreads #quailreads #bookreview #yalit #teenlit #thriller #romance #notifisaveyoufirst Happy book release day, #amedyckman @ohorazachariah @littlebrownyoungreaders! 🎉📚🎈Am in love with READ THE BOOK, LEMMINGS!
. . .
New review & a staff pick for @quailridgebooks: Guaranteed giggles! Clever illustrations, Captain PB (polar bear, not peanut butter), a literary fox, and three very silly lemmings. Perfect for all storytimes, with opportunities to do character voices. It also imparts the importance of learning how to read without being didactic. My favorite picture book of the year!
. . .
#readstagram #readwithme #readmore #reading #read #instaread #instabook #indiesfirst #shoplocal #bookstore #bookshop #bookshelves #book #books #bookrec #bookworm #bookish #booklove #booklover My latest #cookbook display @quailridgebooks! Strong books by strong women for strong women.
. . .
#readstagram #readwithme #readmore #reading #read #instaread #instabook #indiesfirst #shoplocal #bookstore #bookshop #bookshelves #book #books #bookrec #bookworm #bookish #booklove #booklover #cookbooks #strongwomen #strongnotskinny #strongwoman #quailreads #merchandising #display

WildlyRead on Goodreads

%d bloggers like this: