The publishing industry is so vast and varied that it is often difficult to get a true pulse of the industry. Often one genre will do really well while another one is suffering, or one agent will struggle while another is having an auction a day, and particularly when you’re down in the trenches it’s not easy to get a sense of the bird’s eye view.
But these days it’s pretty much inescapable: these are tough times.
Now, first of all, we must remember the advice of the late Douglas Adams and Don’t Panic. The book industry has been through worse times than this, people will always read books, books will still be published, and until that changes most of us will still be here.
But any illusions the industry might have had about escaping the recession are going the way of a Bachelor engagement.
On Friday GalleyCat reported that Borders has told an anonymous distributor that they will not be paying them for two months, and this has forced that distributor to ask publishers to decide whether they want to ship to Borders. The distributor is nevertheless recommending that publishers continue to fill orders, but this is undoubtedly prompting all sorts of contingency plans at publishing houses.
My fellow book lovers, let me just second Moonrat and endorse her Publishing Industry Stimulus Package: buy books, and buy them often.
Most importantly: BUY NEW BOOKS
Sure, not everyone can afford books, and I understand. That’s why we have libraries. But the best way you can help the publishing industry and the authors you love is to buy their books, and to buy them new.
This isn’t a time for cheaping out on the authors you love. Publishers are going to be making very tough decisions about which authors are going to survive and which will be dropped. They’re being extremely selective about supporting new authors. You can do your part by buying new, asking for new books for the holidays, and encouraging your friends to do the same.
So my 2008 holiday season campaign slogan: BUY NEW BOOKS? YES WE CAN.