I had a brief chat with a small bookseller yesterday and mentioned that my publishing biz, Red Hill Publishing, was changing its trading terms to ‘firm sale’.
He responded that on that basis he wouldn’t sell our books. Aside from there being a difference between not stocking a title and not selling it, it wasn’t the response that interested me (as it was expected) but the vehemence with which the message was delivered.
Aside from the attitude negatively impacting the chance of exploring a mutually beneficial partnership, I thought a lot about the reasoning underlying it.
Maybe this guy thinks publishers and authors need retailers more than we need them? You know, that hubris thing that many large publishers have going on.
Perhaps he’s an astute businessperson and realises that the current paradigm – where risk is entirely borne by the publisher – works for him and he doesn’t want to anything to change?
Whatever the case, similar attitudes prevailed in the record biz before its epic fall and booksellers may need to change their thinking. Take care out there ;-)