E-Reads Featured Excerpts and Previews- Incentives- Or Shmears- A Window into Bookselling's Heart of

E-Reads Featured Excerpts and Previews- Incentives- Or Shmears- A Window into Bookselling's Heart of

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Looking for a good book to read? If y ou're looking f or an old f av orite or a lost “gem,” many long out-of -print titles by popular authors are f inally av ailable again. Ev ery week, we f eature a handf ul of titles f rom the hundreds on our site. Be sure to check out the latest f eatured titles ! Action/Adventure Biography Fantasy Fiction History Horror Medical Mystery Non-Fiction Romance Sci-Fi Western Young Adult More. .. Search October 2007 December 2007 July 2008 August 2008 F R I D AY, JAN U AR Y 1, 2010 Incentives? Or Shmears? A Window into Bookselling's Heart of Darkness Bismarck said that it is unwise to look too closely into the way we make our laws or our sausages. You may be able think of some other things that don't bear up too well under intense scrutiny . High on my list is what publishers , particularly mass-market paperback publishers, hav e to do these day s to get their merchandise display ed in and promoted by bookstores. It might be described as publishing's dirty little secret, except that it's not so little. In f act, it's become so perv asiv e that it touches ev ery body in publishing, ev en though not ev ery body is aware of it y et. In f act, not ev ery body wants to know about it. Some y ears ago a f riend of mine, a top-notch paperback salesman, phoned me to tell me he had just been hired by a hardcov er publisher to launch its mass-market paperback line. "That's great," I said. "In eight weeks y ou'll be back on the street looking f or another job." "What do y ou mean?" he gasped. "I don't think y our boss wants to know what y ou hav e to do to get paperbacks sold. When he f inds out, he'll want no part of it." He ref lected f or a moment, "Yeah, well, it does get kind of nasty out there. And this man's such a gentleman . . ." "That's why I giv e it eight weeks." In due time he phoned me again, "You were wrong. It wasn't eight weeks. It was sev en." One of the things my f riend's f ormer boss didn't want to know about is exemplif ied by a good news-bad news story told to me by another publisher, the head of a small hardcov er house. It happens that he was about to publish a celebrity biography and was pitching it at a bookstore chain. "We lov e it," the buy er said to him. "In f act, we'd like to do a f eature piece about it in our promotional catalog." "Wonderf ul!" said the publisher. "It will cost y ou $7,500," the buy er said to him. The publisher reeled with shock—but he ended up pay ing the $7,500. Why ? "The alternativ e," he said, "was worse,"—meaning that had he not paid it, he was af raid that the chain would not carry the book. This good news-bad news story is any thing but a joke, f or such experiences are common among publishers today . With f ar more books published than there is bookstore space to accommodate them comf ortably , the struggle f or adv antage has driv en publishers to resort to desperate and sometimes dubious measures. Just how dubious they are may be inf erred by the number of publishing people who ref use to talk on the record about
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E-Reads Featured Excerpts and Previews- Incentives- Or Shmears- A Window into Bookselling's Heart of

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