Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fuel Costs Deadly to the Publishing Industry


From our April 2012 Newsletter:

Publisher Opinion for the two cents that it's worth:

It should come as no surprise to any thinking person that the cost of fuel directly impacts every aspect of our lives. It’s just not pain at the pump. It’s pain at all stores, too, since most goods in this country are moved by truck. It’s pain in the tourism industry when people stay home. It’s also pain for businesses (farmer-types) who use farm machinery (diesel driven) and who deal in needed items such as, HELLO, food!

It’s painful no matter how one looks at it, and quite unnecessary in my opinion. All commodity producers will suffer horribly if gas prices reach $8 a gallon as predicted.

On a personal level, it’s deadly for businesses like ours who deal in “luxury” items, like books. For starters, shipping books becomes more expensive, whether from the printer to the publisher/distributor, or to the customer.

Attendance at events where (our) books are sold will probably fall off, not to mention that the cost of diesel will definitely prohibit our participating in shows in other states (or even a distance away from our own town in Arizona) that we might have participated in before. Gas is already over $6 a gallon in some locations in CA.

When people are paying more for fuel and its related costs, spending money for other items decreases. We agree that it’s more important to have food on the table than a book in your hand depending, of course, on how much a person weighs.

The whole issue of fuel-related publishing costs is another boon to the ebook business where ebooks generally sell for less than paper copies. Books are sent through the atmosphere somehow via some mysterious service called whispernet (which baffles me that the words don’t get jumbled up) and eliminates the need for postal/UPS/trucking services. Anyway, be that as it may, even those sales may lag because of the increase in the cost of food, etc. leaving less money for “luxury items” like books. Already only a handful of ebook authors actually sell more than $100 a month in books (see last month’s newsletter and blog for these statistics). Some publishers might drop paper copies altogether and just go with ebooks, making the market even more jammed with crap and more competitive.

The cost of fuel is quite inexcusable when one considers that the United States supposedly has hundreds of years of oil beneath its surface and the fact that oil companies are making gabillions of dollars in profit every quarter. Lawmakers seem more concerned with arguing about birth control and women’s reproductive decisions than in tending to grossly serious business. But, hey, go green and go broke. So, that’s my two-cents today. Don’t get mad now and run me over with your hybrids, especially that Volt!


Canyon of Death, the third book in the Jake Silver Adventure Series by Jere D. James, will officially be available in LARGE-PRINT edition in just a few days. This will complete the Jere James titles as far as LARGE-PRINT goes. Saving Tom Black and Apache, the first two books in the series, are already in a LARGE-PRINT edition and are selling reasonably well through Ingram.


After much hemming and hawing and changing of minds, Moonlight Mesa will be re-issuing its award-winning nautical memoir this year - hopefully sooner than later.

The book, originally layed out and designed by Seaworthy Books, is undergoing a strategic facelift with the addition of photos and an increase in font size. The title will be distributed by Ingram once the re-issue is released. The cover, done by Jack Davis of Jack Davis Graphics in Chicago, will remain the same with only a few minor changes on the back and, of course, a greatly expanded spine since the page count will go from 157 pages to 242.

A few editorial corrections are also being made.

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