So You Want to Get Your Book Published ...
Some hope for the world's worst business model
Vol. 1, Issue No. 38
IN THE NEWS
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 5--Kepler's Books and Magazines, an independent bookstore and Silicon Valley institution that went out of business Aug. 31, plans to reopen Saturday thanks to investment from area residents and executives.
The bookstore, in Menlo Park, Calif., near Stanford University, opened in 1955, and became known for its broad selection of literature and periodicals and its regular author readings. But it was undone, like some other independent booksellers, by chain bookstores and Internet sales, said Anne Banta, new chief marketing officer for Kepler's.
"Community Investment Rescues A Bookstore"
The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2005
The book industry has been turned on its ear.
At the beginning of 2004, Barnes & Noble was operating 840 stores in all 50 states with plans for 30 to 35 new stores to open every year. The Borders Group operates more than 460 in the United States.
The huge quantities of books purchased by these superstores--plus Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com--means that they qualify for the highest discounts from the publishers. Since they can buy books cheaper than smaller stores, they can sell at greatly discounted prices, thus causing independent bookstores, such as the iconic Kepler's of San Francisco, to fold up like umbrellas in sunshine.
Publishing guru Dan Poynter says that the chains are killing the independents because books are not their major profit center. They will offer to put your book in the window of 850 stores for a week for $15,000. End-of-the-aisle placement, shelf-talkers and window displays are rented. Independents can only sell space in one store.
The Book Glut
In 1970, when my first novel, "Cedarhust Alley," was published, just 15,000 new books were published. Last year 195,000 new titles were published.