I was fortunate to be at the BEA (Book Expo America) the other week, fortunate in that if you are eager for knowledge it is the best place to go to acquire same. The buzz of BEA is to watch the throngs of booksellers seeking to be part of the author engagement; authors are still the heartbeat of our industry. My main purpose at BEA is to attend the IDPF (International Digital Publishers Forum) as well as set meetings with Ingram management. The IDFP this year ran concurrently with the Mike Shatzkin Publishers Launch conference which is a pity as I like to do both. The IDPF is the basis on which most of the digital strategies are considered, proven or declined. I wonder if they would consider doing an Australian chapter of meetings. If you are interested in books, reading and digital you really need to go the distance to these events which are not promoted as championing the factions of our industry.
Back to Australia; I missed my first ABA in years as my US tour clashed with the ABA dates. Because we work in a small market some views tend to dominate so our leadership is driven not by majority or a unique voice, but rather by those that tend to specialise in vocality.
“Innovate to Survive”. Lea and I went to the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn and heard these words from Bill Ford thought of the Barry Dorr story (JoJo Publishing). Barry has had some changes to his physical book distribution over the school book supplier in the 1970’s. Anyway , JoJo came to DJA from MDS and lasted with us for twelve months, then Jo developed a very long tail of ebook and POD books which we now distribute under what we call “codeshare”. Under this device we are the aggregator for. It means we don’t have a physical book just the custody over all those files which get uplifted to our many global ebook distributors and our global POD network. On the level of “Innovate to Succeed” we are having discussion where some of our future products will only be available as ebooks, or POD. The view is to hang them out there and then consider offset
publishing as the last link in the chain of content to consumer. Fascinating to hear Bill Ford talk about vertical integration and the like; it is what we are now doing with our publishers across ebook/offset & POD.
I guess the opposing view to the preceding is the latest initiative of the Federal Government and part of our industry to have a Book Industry Collaboration Council funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. Well I guess you should always try. Reminds me of a phrase which I don’t think anyone has used to date “An iceberg of Collaboration”.
I could not help myself with the wording used on our front page of this month’s list. Yes these books got consumers on the East Coast and has sold Royal Mistresses into a reprint due toward the end of August. Jim Pratt holds a record for us in terms of author appearances and thank you to all those stores that have hosted him. Jim’s book Telekom has had some great reviews and we are selling plenty as an ebook as well. We all hope Jim picks up an agent and then a major publisher for his next work. The ebook bestseller list is real and across many countries, most recent countries include Iceland & Pakistan. The real surprise each month is the ebook Mt Kilimanjaro & Me which just sells every month in many countries, the author also wrote “Tea in the Library”. An ebook like this outsells its print counterpart every month. Space is limited in bookshops so backlist sometimes does not get a just positioning. With digital we have unlimited space for these best sellers.
July will mark a change in how some of our backlist will be delivered to you. In particular Blue Ribbons Bitter Bread 9780980621600. This book went into RPND and to do the usual offset run of 1500 to 2000 copies is nonsense given that we can only sell 30 copies per month. So this book has become our first POD backlist book. This difference is that we can now meet a global demand for the book as it sits on the Ingram database as well as in our warehouse in print to demand quantities. The book like all of our POD titles will be delivered to you on a firm sale basis as the digital age does not permit speculative ordering. We have 49 back orders and have ordered 50 copies. If you don’t want to order from us you can place your order with your Ingram order from the US as well. This part of our business may help you if you know of some out of print Australian publications where you have consumer demand. Can’t promise anything, however we only survive by consumers requesting our books via booksellers.
Best book read for the month was a Wakefield press title – They Hosed Them Out; a fictionalised military memoir first published in 1960 and now augmented. I also read the Bob Katter book. One other was the Bert Wrout “Kill the Morans” which we are negotiating for at this time. Bert was a
Melbourne bookseller in the days of Chris Randle.
Good selling and better reading