Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The case for destroying book inventory

The case for destroying book inventory

By Walter Haan, www.war-books.com, www.southfarmpress.com

We recently finished destroying about 250 copies remaining of a hardcover that has done well for us over the years. But our contract was up and one of the authors wants to rewrite the book and add some romance so the story will be more appealing for a film deal.

This author thought we should give away these roughly 250 copies to libraries, veterans and any one else interested. But if there's one thing I've learned with 28 years of running an independent press, no one appreciates a free book. Libraries, for example, just throw it into their book sales instead of adding it to their collections.

I believe a publisher should support the people that really believe in a book. Those are the librarians and individuals who actually bought books with their hard-earned money. The used book market has really taken off thanks to Internet sellers such as Amazon.com and Abe Books. Used Southfarm books are offered on those sites for sometimes as much as a hundred dollars.

And I think if a genuine buyer of a book needs to sell it somewhere down the road, then he or she deserves to profit from a used book sale. After all, he or she paid for the book, made an investment in the scholarship of that book, and by doing so, encouraged both its author and publisher in their endeavors.

So, there will be no free books from Southfarm for opportunists to profit from. If anyone deserves to financially benefit from a book in their collection, it should be real buyers. And that is why in some situations we destroy books rather than give them away. By not flooding the market with free copies we hope it makes it possible for real buyers to benefit even more from their decisions to buy a book.--Copyright © 2011 by Walter Haan, www.war-books.com, www.southfarmpress.com

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