Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Publishers Are Not To The Reasons For Low Sales

I hear a lot of authors complaining about the availability of their books to the consumer. They scream that their publisher is telling them their sales are not that strong, and yet, their books are not out there for people to buy. Harlequin Historicals, for example, made a decision to reduce their North American print influence. The books are available, but either through purchase on online avenues such as Amazon, or their DTC (Direct to Consumer) programs. Still, the availability is not as strong and authors blame the publisher,

But what we have to remember is that publishers are not just sitting around in a boardroom and saying, "I have an idea, let's just cut a line for the heck of it" or "I know, let's just not sell our product there." They make these decisions based on sales figures and what the consumers were doing.

Yesterday I spoke of publishers cutting authors and the reasons behind it. Many of these decisions are based on sales figures. If the sales are not there and the publisher is not making the money, then the publisher cannot pay the author. It is an issue of supply and demand.

When the recession hit, we saw a decline in brick and mortar bookstores. Many blamed it on bad marketing. Many blamed it on business models. One of the biggest realities, however, was the issue of the consumer. Buying books is a luxury and people had to make decisions. The days of hitting the bookstore and dumping $100+ on books was replaced with groceries and the essentials. This is something archaeologists and historians know. We know how well a culture worked by the amount of artwork that was produced. If we find a clay pot with artwork on it, this meant that the culture was doing well because the person who created the pot had the luxury of taking the time to paint the pot. The same goes for buying books.

It is a shame, but the consumers today are just focused on different things. They want their Netflix. They live busy lives so the days of getting up and reading the newspaper on a Sunday morning are gone. We get up and are on the road immediately with kids, business and the real world. Finding time to sit down and read it just not there. And if we are not taking the time for books, we won't be buying those books.

Going back to the Harlequin Historical line. Why is it that the big market for these books is in Europe? These consumers are reading, and when they are reading, they are buying books.

If we want to see an increase in sales, we have to push for people to read. We need to push for schools to encourage reading, not just for a grade and not to pass Accelerated Reading tests, but to read for pleasure. We have to encourage people to pick up a book and get their faces out of their phones as they binge watch The Bachelor. As a culture, we need to invest in books and literacy and not just tossing iPads and laptops to students who do nothing but play Angry Birds and watch YouTube. Tech is fine, but we have to use it as a tool, not a toy.

So, why are sales low. We as a culture are not buying the books. Don't blame the publishers. Again, it is not like they are saying they want to make decisions to lose money. They are reacting to the sales figures from the consumers like you and me who are not buying the products.

1 comment:

  1. This is just a curiosity question: When it comes to Historical Romance, Americans can't seem to get enough of the Dukes and Scottish Lairds. So, I am wondering, what Historicals do the Europeans read? Do they also love the Dukes and Lairds, or do they ever read American based Historicals? Thanks for any info you have on this. Kate M.