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I’ll Pay for Lunch

Posted By Mike Drew On August 13, 2007 @ 4:31 pm In Books,Publishing | 3 Comments

I recently shared lunch with my good friend and business associate, Ray Bard. Ray is the monumentally successful mastermind behind the Bard Press publishing house where I worked from 1999-2002. We established a great dialog during my stint there and try to get together as often as possible to trade war stories about current projects and the state of affairs in the Big Bad Book Industry.

We spent most of this particular lunch discussing the challenges faced by today’s publishers. (This Brand Autopsy post [1] should shed some light.) Ray used industry averages to illustrate just how it’s become critical for publishers to be extremely selective with the authors they choose to bring on board.

Here’s how those averages break down on a per-book basis, for those with the gag tolerance to stomach the facts:

Retail price = $20

  • Trade discount to bookstores: $ 10
  • Co-op displays at bookstores: $ 2
  • Distributor cut (15%): $ 3
  • Author royalties (15%): $ 3
  • Printing costs: $ 2

Left for publisher = $0

Nice margin, isn’t it? I’m not positive, but I think convicts make more in prison.

So how do publishing houses like Bard Press survive? By holding out for authors who have either the money or the over-the-top marketing platform to make a serious run at the bestseller lists.

I can always tell when Ray finds an author with bestselling potential. At the end of those lunches, he’s a lot quicker to reach for the tab.

[Author's Note: Read more about selecting the right authors in my article, A Few Good Books: Just Say 'No!' to Authors without Healthy Marketing Platforms.” [2]]


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URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/08/13/ill-pay-for-lunch/

URLs in this post:

[1] Brand Autopsy post: http://brandautopsy.typepad.com/brandautopsy/2006/12/ray_bard_on_the.html

[2] A Few Good Books: Just Say 'No!' to Authors without Healthy Marketing Platforms.”: http://www.beneaththecover.com/2007/04/11/good-books/

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