Observations on Successful Publishing: Controlling Your Own Destiny

December 1996
by Robert Erdmann, Publishing Consultant

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Many veterans of publishing tell us of the monumental changes that have
occurred within our industry over the past few years. As a 35-year
participant in this industry, I suspect I would concur. But as we approach a
new millennium, we can see many, many other changes all around us. Has the
automobile industry changed? Has the entertainment industry changed? Has
sports changed? And what about travel, finance, and especially science and
technology? So why should we be so surprised when things aren’t done the way
they used to be done in publishing? Perhaps it’s because ours has been such a
traditional industry for over a century.

I recall my first ABA over three decades ago at the Shoreham Hotel in
Washington, DC. It was as low key as low key can be. Two hours in the
morning, a merciful two-hour lunch break, then a final two hours in the
afternoon. Truly a “gentleman’s” industry. The only attendees were bona fide
booksellers visiting DC from all parts of America. How does that compare to
today’s frenzied marathons at McCormick Place in Chicago where foreign rights
agents may soon outnumber the scarce blue badges of America’s booksellers?

Much has been written recently, in this publication as well as others, about
the horrendous situation concerning returns. Are returns a change in our
industry? No. Has the policy been abused? Absolutely! Are we going to see
this abuse end in our lifetimes? Maybe, maybe not. Do we have to let it
control our destinies? Hel…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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