Ariel sent me an interesting link on my employer’s latest plans. Apparently they are trying to reverse some of the incredibly foolish plans they have run in the last couple of years (hatched by people who mostly know nothing about books, refer to book selling as ‘retail’ and books as ‘units’ to be shifted – gee wonder why they fuck up so much?). Anyone who is an expert bookseller knows range is the key to a good bookstore. Range comes not from constant special offers but from having motivated and knowledgeable staff who can run sections, know what folk want, experiment with differing titles and authors and know how to promote and support new writers to book buyers.
And you don’t give away masses of your profit margin in big discounts on backlist. Of course, why would our head office ever ask me or my colleagues about this? Obviously some twat with a degree in marketing who used to work for Boots the Chemist knows more about selling books than someone who has sold books for over a decade, reads link a medieval monk and has run dozens of events with more authors than I can recall? Dilbert’s Pointy Haired Boss is everywhere, in every business – even the book trade.