Independent Book Publishers

Written by Will Baum
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Independent book publishers have been closing in alarming numbers. So have independent bookstores. A new type of book business has emerged. It operates with stunning (some might say ruthless) efficiency.

Stores like Borders and Barnes and Noble have proliferated. These companies have very deep pockets and are able to stock an enormous number of books in cavernous retail outlets. Money buys them prime mall locations. Economies of scale enable the companies to charge deep discounts on best-selling titles. Independent booksellers have no such deep pockets and generally can't afford to offer loss leader discounts on bestsellers.

Instead, the independents--both stores and publishers--have to trade on know-how, courtesy, and a thorough knowledge of books and book history. Even the most dedicated readers and lovers of mom-and-pop outlets have a difficult time opting for expensive charm over discounted anonymity.

A New Direction For Independent Book Publishers

Technology has given independent book publishers a new way to compete with the giant publishers and the eroding independent marketplace. Books on demand allow independent book publishers to save enormous sums in printing and shipping by printing books only once orders have been placed.

Independent book publishers cannot afford printing and shipping thousands of copies of a book that doesn't sell at all. In this scenario, boxes of unwanted books accumulate, as do piles of unwanted bills. Publishing on demand is a simple, elegant way to ensure that these piles never become overwhelming again.

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