A. Clearly you know how much I love a good letter to a business. That was EXCELLENT!
Well, I’d agree that the publishing business is a little bonkers, but the book selling business is completely off-the-wall. Specifically, as you note, when it’s big boys trying to muscle in on the turf of the small fry.
Worth noting as context from the comments:
– A&R’s [the booksellers’] MD Mr Fe(n)lon comes from Tesco in the UK. He addressed this year’s Australian Booksellers Association conference telling everyone to stop being so precious and that we should think of ourselves not as ‘booksellers’ and ‘publishers’, but as ‘retailers’ and ‘suppliers’
Which may to him be logical, but is widely acknowledged by most publishers (I know, I work with one) to be complete BS. The only time I’ve heard the word ‘suppliers’ in association with books is in the production department, when we’re dealing with the people who actually sell us stuff to make books with (paper and whatnot). Publishers do not grow turnips; they transfer information – and in an increasing number of ways, too.
– and the odious Rimmer hails from WHSmith and Borders UK, where he was ‘responsible for aligning their outcomes to responsible profit arrangements’ or somesuch bollocks
Both of which retailers’ have been trying to assimilate mom-and-pop booksellers and newsagents with varying degrees of success, replacing them with crowd-pleasing mediocrity for the most part.
And my bad about misunderstanding the particular argument as being between booksellers, rather than a bookseller trying to put the heavy on a publisher.
Another swindle the book business is perpetrating right now is that they have not readjusted the Canadian cover prices on books to reflect the new reality of the currency (which has been trending upward for about three years, so a readjustment is well overdue). Hence, you will see a book here with a US cover price of $7.99 and a Canadian cover price of $10.99.
Most booksellers here will not (as they are not obligated to, and that is fair) take payment in US currency.
I imagine that Amazon.com is doing a land-office business from Canada these days, and Amazon.ca, which seems to price according to what they paid for the books, not what the cover prices are, is as well…
While I’ll grant your point, the industry’s not usually that insane. Mr. Rimmer is … something else again. He belongs in a Terry Gilliam movie.
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