Midpoint Trade Books
Brian Jud leads a dual life. If you meet him in a professional context, he’ll hand you two business cards. The first is for his company, Premium Book Company LLC, which specializes in book sales to special markets. Jud’s second business card touts his role as Executive Director of APSS: the Association of Publishers for Special Sales.
On his “Publishing 2020” blog, Joe Wikert, general manager of O’Reilly Media’s Technology Exchange Division, mused recently about the long-term viability of the closely watched deal between Borders and HarperStudio, whereby the bookstore chain will purchase HarperStudio titles at a 10-percent to 15-percent discount in exchange for accepting a no-returns agreement. As a result, Wikert wrote, Borders will probably be less aggressive with initial buys and could find itself out of stock in the face of a hit—not a good situation for either party. On the other hand, having to sell all of the books it purchases most likely means Borders will more aggressively market HarperStudio titles—just the sort of incentive lacking in the current system.
One year ago, New York-based Beaufort Books was a small, independent, relatively unknown publisher working to reinvent itself after years of inactivity. By summer, it was caught in the middle of the media firestorm that is O.J. Simpson—catapulted to national recognition and the top of the New York Times Best-Seller List. Its newfound notoriety came in the immediate wake of the announcement that Beaufort would be doing what HarperCollins—and, it was rumored, all of the other major publishing houses—would not. Beaufort would publish the book “If I Did It,” the ghostwritten account of how Simpson would have murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and
If distribution means getting books into the hands of sellers, circulators or readers, then a true profile of the distribution business would cast a wide net, beginning at the binding line and continuing through to the ‘long tail’ of online portals, used bookstores and curbside pushcarts. However, if distribution, from the publisher’s view, means getting books to generate sales revenue, we can overlook all of the aftermarket, recirculation and reselling channels and focus solely on reaching stores, libraries, online and catalog warehouses and—increasingly, thanks to the Internet—direct marketing from the publisher to the consumer. In the article “Deconstructing Distribution,” in Book Business’