A Book Publisher “Experiments” With Print: Christina M. Brashear, owner of e-book publisher Samhain, on her unconventional business model.
Macon, Ga.-based Samhain Publishing has found its niche in the world of book publishing, despite the fact that most of its titles aren’t resting on bookstore shelves. The e-book-minded publisher has only tread lightly in the world of traditional print publishing since it first opened up shop nearly three years ago.
While print versions of the company’s line of popular romance and erotica fiction are now more commonplace, Owner and Publisher Christina M. Brashear says these traditional books haven’t changed the main focus of providing electronic versions of Samhain’s titles. The publisher has achieved such success selling e-books to loyal readers, according to Brashear, that later this summer she will begin selling other publishers’ digital editions alongside Samhain’s titles on My Bookstore and More (www.MyBookstoreandMore.com), a retail Web site that Brashear also owns.
Brashear spoke with Book Business Extra on her approach to selling books.
Book Business Extra: Beginning primarily as an e-book publisher, what advantages did you see in also offering print versions of some of your titles?
Christina M. Brashear: You do get an idea of what is or isn’t going to do well in print by how well a book does in e-book form. I have found that booksellers who read e-books will write and ask when certain titles are going to go to print. I know those titles will do well and can plan an appropriate print run.
Extra: What challenges have you faced as you have started to delve into print?
Brashear: … I like being “green”—e-books don’t get returned and aren’t destroyed. [With print,] you have to plan carefully so your print runs are on target with the demand. Most of our titles stay in [print on demand (POD)], which can be a hardship because of the stigma attached to [POD]. … We gamble on certain titles and have print runs made based on what we project they will sell. We try to print enough to satisfy the first few months of orders, and then allow POD to fulfill on a continuing basis. If the book is very popular, we’ll go back to press and order additional print runs as demand necessitates.
The next toughest part would be learning to work with the industry schedule. In e-books, you can do things in a shorter time frame and make changes on the fly. With print, you’re planning January 2009’s schedule in February of 2008.