Ten Years of Publishing; or How to Get Prematurely Old and Gray

December 2005
by Robert A. Rinker

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Ten years ago I started a
small family publishing business. By now, I have learned many valuable lessons
from real-life experience. Permit me to discuss a few problems that stemmed
mostly from the greed and inefficiency of others.

Collecting

Debt collection has been a
problem, but not in the way I expected. Only twice in 10 years has an
individual or a small bookstore failed to pay, for a total loss of just a few
dollars. On the other hand, large companies don’t seem to care whether they pay
their bills or not. Baker & Taylor has always paid, but they sometimes
require a reminder; I just had to send copies of the tracking numbers and an
Internet printout to prove that three shipments were delivered and received.
B&T had said they weren’t; FedEx says they were.

Still on the subject of
collection, Koen Book Distributors sold a great many of our books to Barnes& Noble before notifying us in the middle of July that they had filed for
bankruptcy and that our invoices totaling $4,041.90 were at the mercy of the
court. I have heard nothing more and my letters are ignored.

Printing

My first problem with printing was
receiving quotes that ran from $3.20 to over $10 for the same quantity of the
same book. This would be funny if it wasn’t so preposterous. I settl

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