In October, bookstores returned so many books that most publishing companies had more coming into them than going out of them. For some companies, the incoming number was more than several months' outgoing.
Although bookstores are suffering (and how), it was the publishing houses that had to absorb the cost of this cash flow creator. This is why Impetus, a relatively new indie company without the history to survive this shock, folded. Some houses lost so much money in returns in October that profits from the entire rest of 2008 have been negated. Can you imagine? Losing enough in a month to destroy your entire year?
Emphasis added by me.
This is still an industry with its head so far up its ass it's within kissing distance of its appendix!
A later post, varying perspective, offers some suggestions for "improving" the industry.
eBooks are not mentioned at all!
So don't come crying to me while you're holding onto a business model in which your outlets can wipe out your year-to-date profits in one month by returning goods they never even made an effort to sell!
eBooks have no returns, goddammit.
eBooks liberate publishers from the duopoly of Barnes & Noble and Borders.
eBooks are the future.
Do I see any of these dying dinosaurs of print trumpeting an eBook-only "imprint"? Do I see any of them really making an eBook push? Do I see any of them embracing eBooks in real creative ways? Do I see any of them going to their blockbuster writers and telling them they want to do an eBook exclusive for six months before going into paper print, to really encourage their fans to move to eBooks?
No no no no.
The automotive industry has refused to change and is nearing the point of its own extinction.
Book publishing is apparently hellbent on zooming down that same road.
Be sure to enjoy the view as you all plummet over that cliff, baby!