Saturday, 29 November 2008

Bertrams Book Wholesaler Steadies Its Feet

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With the administration of Woolworth's high street stores and entertainment product supplier EUK this week, uk book wholesaler Bertrams insist that their financial stability remains wholly separate and business will continue. While this may be the case, and it remains to be seen what will happen the Woolworth retail high street outlets and entertainment supplier EUK after Christmas as going concerns, it is a sobering thought to all in this industry.

Here are the related stories as reported by The

No one is crying wolf at the moment, but in a time of recession, the first serious bites are normally seen in the property and building trades, (that has long happened and passed) often followed by the IT and Technology sectors, before finally making their impact in the wholesale and retail sectors. In my own neck of the woods, Ireland, Harvey-Norman the Australian retailer has openly regretted its expansion into the north of Ireland and reported profits in the Republic of Ireland as 'catastrophic', UK retailer ASDA is eyeing up Dunnes Stores for a take-over. In the entertainment industry I work in, I am witnessing day to day, accounts going on hold, credit terms being suspended, as companies desperately try to stave off financial turmoil for another few months. What I have found interesting about the current economic situation is that it seems to be particularly affecting the so-called 'traditional companies'. The high street names which we have taken for granted for many years who we assumed would always be there, through thick 'n' thin, no matter what the outlook.

With regard to Bertrams and their book distribution, most independent book retailers seem hopeful that business will remain as normal and from the comments by some of them in following the news reports, most clearly reflect a strong support and long term respect for Bertrams and their distribution service.

It is always hard to know how difficult things are until it bites down to the lowest common economic denominator. Booksellers in both Ireland and the UK are all experiencing a small but notable downturn in profits, but it is at this level where the true measure of things is often not felt until long after the damage of the storm.

Just like every retailer has promoted their latest discounted deals, anyone who has given up their email address to any POD publishing service will have been bombarded with emails about special seasonal discounts, amid the odd email about rising costs of shipping etc and the fact that your publisher has had to 'revise' the retail price of your recently published tome.

We do not know how long this storm will last, but we have seen the price of a barrel of oil plummet; I sometimes wonder what the price of paper is now!

If we read those promo emails, then at the very least, we must rejoice, while remaining evermore sober this festive tide...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Filigree & Shadow - Now Available - November 2008

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Filigree & Shadow is now published and available for purchase in hardback, paperback and download from at my storefront. The link is to the right of this article. It should start appearing across all channels over the next few weeks in time for the Christmas market.

Things have really been tight and busy over the past few months and my workload with finalising Filigree & Shadow and other workloads have ultimately pushed the date back later than I had originally planned over the summer. In publishing this book, and as the year draws to a close, I feel in some ways that one period of my writing career has closed and another is soon to open.

Filigree & Shadow, a collection of short fiction, very much concludes a period of writing and publication of work which began as far back as 1988 and stretched through to the early 1990's.

Here is an extract from the blurb of the book:

Filigree & Shadow is a journey and a quest into the imagination and the soul. It is a picture painted on a canvas and explored with every perception and sensation. You will be challenged to stand close to the canvas and see the minutest crack of paint, or cast an eye from afar at earthly and unearthly worlds.

In Arcadia, we are the astronomer and evolutionist; in The Eternal, we will move unnervingly like a spiritual physic between the world of the living and the dead; in The Spiraling of Winter Ghosts and Tisima, Tisima, we will stretch our fingers into a ghostly web of dream and childhood; in A Time, that Time and Hybrid, we journey into the landscapes of myth, fairytale and folklore; in Thais, we are at the mercy of our persecutors and the ravages of history and mankind.

For the first time in one volume, Mick Rooney’s prose is brought together in a fascinating exhibition of cruelty and beauty. Step inside…

With the publication this year of Filigree & Shadow and my novel, Academy, all my fiction over the past twenty years is available in two books for prosperity, something I have wanted to see for quite some time. I feel now I can properly concentrate on sending out my completed and unpublished novel 'Trees' to commercial publishers in early 2009, while also focusing on a uncompleted novel I started some five years ago.

I also intend to write more intensively for the blogsite on POD and the publishing world as I have done. I think there will be some very interesting changes and developments in the publishing world over the next 12 months and I will try to capture the essence of those changes as they happen.

This site grew out of a very simple idea last January, and it has simply grown and grown beyond anything I could have expected back then. You'll forgive me with my outside workload if I at times struggle to keep up! Can I thank all those who visit and read this site and comment and correspond with me, in particular, Shannon Yarbrough of LuluBookReview who carried out a review of Academy and an interview. Like Shannon, many of you write, run your own sites, and work within the publishing business. Our paths regularly cross on forums network sites all over the Internet. Your input and appreciation is always welcome here, however diverse our opinions and points of view are about POD publishing and the publishing business in general.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Borders - Continued Downturn - (Inc. Fri 14.11.08 update)

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I have continued to read media reports about Borders downturn and came across this article in the Bookseller today.

It seems to simply reflect what all companies want internationally when recession bites. A reduced catalogue to conserve primary shelf space and longer terms of invoice payment. We must remember that there is nothing that sets the publishing industry and its retail sellers apart from any other industry in these times. Shit happens, whether your selling real estate or fruit from a stall. And the way to deal with that is to re-invent your strategy as a seller, but more to the point, how you go about selling what you sell.

From my own experience in retailing, this is something that doesn't come easily. Often in times of recession, what works best is to allow an autonomy to fall back on the local seller, and when he is part of a national or global retailer, this can be at best difficult, if not impossible. Global retailers set their strategy and model to current economics, but often by the time it filters through to local stores, the message and effect is long lost.

The fact is that more books are bought now than ever before. For me, books have always been a gift. My partner is a ferrous reader, and this Christmas we will spend as much on books as toys for our children. That is not habit, but a commitment to our children's upbringing and the part we play in their lives as parents.

What retailers need to do is not see the boon of Christmas as a seasonal high, but as a potential market that is there all the year round. And, as a family, we must ask ourselves, why we buy more books at this time of year than any other.

I wrote about going in to visit a Borders store in my locality, (Ireland), a few weeks back, and what struck me most about the store was not that they were not well stocked on books, but the extraordinary range of magazines they held. A range far better than a leading Irish magazine retailer and distributor in the main city centre. It made me wonder whether this was the norm for Borders stores, or a reaction to the downturn in their sales.

There was actually nothing in Borders on that day that should not have been there, but it was how it was presented and displayed told me this was a retailer in crisis who did not know what they were (bookstore or convience stop) or where their place was in the market.

In a recession, you grow only to a point where it doesn't hurt, you show only enough so it doesn't spurt, and you only discount what isn't worth.

EDIT: FRI 14.11.08 12 NOON,


Monday, 3 November 2008

Lulu Book Review - November 2008, Interview with Mick Rooney

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You can catch an interview Shannon Yarbrough did with me last week for his LLBR site at the following link.

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