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Om författaren

Andrew Laties cofounded The Children's Bookstore, Children's Bookfair Company, The Children's Museum Store, PovertyFighters, the Eric Carle Museum Bookshop, and Vox Pop. He shared the 1987 Women's National Book Association Pannell Award for bringing children and books together.

Inkluderar namnet: Andrew Gregory Laties

Verk av Andrew Laties


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There are three things going on in this book.

1) There's Andy Laties' memoir of his education and experience in the book selling biz, which is entertainingly told but not of any independent interest (I would never have heard of him without this book). Seems like a nice guy, if a bit hyper.

2) There's his analysis of that experience, shaped into guidelines for running your own independent bookstore. This includes parts of the historical context (the rise and fall of chains, the metastasis of B&N, the economic deformations of publishing) which are essential to understanding the present moment. This part is generally great—inspiring, empowering even—although from time to time it's clear that Laties' experience is really with specialty bookstores (children's and museum stores), rather than general independents, which don't have the benefit of a clearly pre-defined market.

3) There's what's promised in the subtitle, which is hardly in the book at all, not even in Bill Ayers' afterword. Laties is opposed to the corporate model of publishing and bookselling—Random House and Barnes & Noble, and now Amazon—but that doesn't make him a rebel. There's no discussion of truly small presses (the kind without corporate distribution), alternative economic models, or a bookstore's community role other than hosting events which attract consumers. There are enticing hints, particularly Laties' tale of touring the east coast's great lefty bookstores (Bluestockings, Wooden Shoe, Red Emma's) for Seth Tobocman's Understanding the Crash—but that chapter mainly discusses the rise of Amazon and the difficulty of sidestepping its marketing automatons.

As inspiration for opening a bookstore, Rebel Bookseller is great. As a book itself, particularly in the politics promised on its cover, it's a bit disappointing.
… (mer)
1 rösta
localcharacter | Apr 2, 2013 |
Andrew Laties and his wife Christine Bluhm ran The Children’s Bookstore in Chicago from 1985 to 2002. People who work in bookstores have to make a living wage and “have direct input into [their] stores’ book-selection processes,” writes Laties, which the chains don’t understand. But they do catch on to the special events and publicity programs that Laties thinks he invented and that he describes throughout the book and in “Showcasing Your Store,” an appendix here, which originally appeared in several issues of American Bookseller. Laties criticizes the proportional weakness in such special events; he ran as many as the huge chains per year. And he blames them for the “inadequacy of their presence in the community.” He criticizes the publishers, whose policy of allowing book returns favors the huge chains, who order huge quantities and then return them, forcing the publishers to raise prices.
He organizes the book in the form of ten “rants,” each followed by a chapter of his own experience. His own story involves more than one failed business, including The Children’s Bookstore itself in 2002, although Laties and Bluhm cushioned their fall with the Children’s Museum Store they had taken over earlier.
Laties does not downplay the difficulty, perhaps even the impossibility, of competing for long with large chains. Even shipping conspires against the Indies: “a book with a retail price of $10 often arrived in a little envelope with a bill from the publisher that listed $6 as the wholesale cost of the book plus a $4 charge for shipping.”
If you want to make $100K a year, you have to sell a million dollars worth of books. This is one of Laties’ rules of thumb. Others are the 80/20 rule and the 50/5 rule: 80 per cent of revenues from 20 per cent of titles; fifty per cent of sales come from 5 per cent of titles. These are part of the principle, Sell More of What’s Selling, which means you need to pay attention to what customers are doing (not what they’re saying) and you have to be able to track sales and reorder every title that sells as well as order titles that complement it.
In one of his rants, Laties says the huge chains, by limiting their orders to fewer titles they think will sell, force publishers to rethink even publishing the titles the big stores won’t stock. Well, yes, but Laties elsewhere points out that they do have larger inventories than indies can manage—and why shouldn’t THEY sell more of what’s selling? Publishers need both chains and indies.
Laties writes that in the late 80s and early 90s publishers raised suggested retail prices from five times production cost to ten times. Laties argues that this happened because of the pressure from chains. Meanwhile the chains were advertising ten, twenty, and thirty per cent discounts.
Laties takes credit for ideas Amazon.com used—having customers write reviews, suggesting complementary titles, and donating a portion of purchase price to worthy causes.
… (mer)
michaelm42071 | Sep 5, 2009 |


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