Can anyone explain to me how the book business works? I love reading and have hundreds of books at home. But I’m baffled by the industry that publishes and sells them.
Is it really necessary for books to appear only in hardback form for six months before being released in paperback? I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen an interesting book in a shop but refused to buy it because it was only available in hardback. I don’t see why I should pay an extra £6 for a harder cover. I find it hard to believe that this strategy is profitable. It means that the book is at its most expensive at the point it gets the most publicity. By the time it’s made into paperback, something else is being discussed in the media and potential buyers who were put off paying the higher price may have forgotten about it.
Biographies of Non Entities
I’m bewildered at the plethora of biographies of people who’ve done little or nothing with their lives – winners (and losers) of reality shows being the obvious example. Is there really the demand for these books? They seem to be heavily marked down everywhere I shop.
Lack of Choice for the buyer
How was it possible for Waterstones to acquire Dillons and Ottakar's? Likewise, how was it possible for Borders to take Books etc?The latter doesn’t have very many branches outside London, so in many towns, Waterstones is the only large chain retailer around. (I’m not counting WH Smith here, as its offering tends to be rather narrowly focused on bestseller writers like Patricia Cornwell, Michael Crichton and Ian Rankin.) The situation is slightly better if you live in a University town, as there is usually a Blackwell’s too.
The online buyer doesn’t have that much choice either. If you look at the Borders website, you’ll see that its online sales operation is merged with Amazon. Booksonline (BOL.com) is exclusively catering to the Dutch market now.
Merging Science Fiction and Fantasy
Why on earth are these two quite different genres put in the same section of so many stores? It’s ridiculous that novels by Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick are placed next to stories about wizards and dragons.
On the plus side, it's nice so see that Foyle's has caught up with the rest of the world and abandoned its stalinist payment policies. Does anyone else remember having to run around the shop with receipts? If you told the young people today .....