This is a superb blog post by Tamsin Rosewell of Kenilworth Books.
Discounting is something that affects the whole book trade of course, but is a particularly pertinent issue to those involved in the creation, publication, promotion and sale of children’s books.
Not just recommended reading – required reading:
From a bookseller’s point of view, there are now far too many books published and they are being released into an already saturated market. New books -even those by established authors are ‘allowed’ very little time within which to sell the thousands of copies required to be financially viable. This further decreases an author’s ability to build up any sort of reasonable income. Not surprisingly the largest companies have started to add in to the mix high numbers of sure-sale ghost-written celebrity titles, while simultaneously putting less support behind even the most experienced authors working today. The difference between this and the practice in smaller publishing houses is marked: a smaller publisher makes an editorial decision about whether a book is right for them, and then commits to it. Independent booksellers love the smaller publishing companies because they are genuinely producing some of the most interesting material. There is a real sense of commitment from smaller publishers with many of the books representing significant investment in an author or illustrator, and also in an idea. In short, they are actually publishing with thought and care, rather than just flinging and endless volley of books at us from London. But the small publishers too are now caught up in this desperate need to discount everything. Even the books that are highly anticipated and would most certainly sell at their published price are caught up in this plummeting whirlpool. We are all being dragged into a culture which confuses value with price. Books are already cheap for the value that they add, but by lowering the expectations on price, we are also devaluing our own industry’s product.