Friday

Running Out of Time

I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm running out of time. Between finishing the 2011 book edits and layouts, getting the websites up, and working on The Book of All Thing's cover, I don't know when I'm going to get my shopping done. Fortunately, I have a gift card to my favorite independent (OK, so it's my year end bonus from BookPeople, details, details) to spend on the people left on my list.

All this has reminded me of something very important that I forgot to mention in my Great Small Press Gifts in Big Stores post -- namely that starting around January 1, CBAY Books will no longer physically be in the stores. You can still get them online, but all of the unsold stock will be returned, never to grace Barnes & Noble shelves again.*

So, if you were planning to purchase either The Book of Maps or The Necropolis in store, like me, your time is also running out.

* I would like to point out that this is just a reality of the book industry. Have you ever heard about a book that's only five or six months old only you can't find it in any bookstore? That's because a book has only 90 days to sell before it is shipped straight back to the publisher for a full credit. Barnes & Noble is very aggressive in its returns, so the CBAY Books, which have been available since early October will be going away for good starting Jan. 1. Only bestselling backlist books earn longterm shelf space at the chains.

For example, Cynthia Leitich Smith's Eternal, which debuted in paperback at #5 on the NY Times Bestseller list can't be found at a single one of our local Austin stores despite the fact that the series is popular and she's an Austin author. Interesting, no?

Personally, I hate the returns system. By the time I've paid my distributor's restock fees and tossed out the books that have gotten damaged in all the shipping, it would have been cheaper for me to just set those books on fire (and not collected insurance money). It's just depressing.

And the worst part, the returns system isn't even particularly good for the bookstores. Why do you think B&N and other bookstores have started stocking so many bargain books and non-book items? It's because those are sold at greater margins but are non-returnable. Stores need those extra percentage points to be profitable. However, I seem to be digressing (and ranting) into a whole 'nother topic. And that should probably be a discussion for another day.

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