The power of the big boys.
Any one who has been following the progress of The Wainwrights in Colour book or may even have kindly purchased a copy from the website here or even attended one of the many talks that I have given around the country on the subject, may recall my pride and determination to make this unique book available either through my website or from independent or high street bookshops. I saw this as a way of helping to continue the footfall into these shops which are having a tough time of it at the moment, even if customers didn’t actually buy a copy of my book they may at least spend some of their money supporting local shops.
There were times when I questioned my own decision, after all, many of us use the online retailers as a matter of convienience, goods ordered today can be with us the very next day, sometimes at a discounted price. An online presence may have helped in selling the 5000 copies of The Wainwrights in Colour more quickly but I stuck to my guns. Even though the book was listed on the main online retailer it showed as being “not available”, that was because I didnt supply them. However this did cause confusion on more than one occasion as I received emails assuming that the book was sold out.
Most of the time I supplied local bookshops with stock of the books by delivering copies personally to their door, more distant shops had to purchase from a main wholesaler down in Brighton. I would receive an order from them, dispatch the books and then in turn they would send out the books to all corners of the country. All well and good.
However, just last week I happened to be looking on the Amazon website and lo and behold not only were they listing the book as in stock but so were two other retailers, bookstores who obviously bought copies through the wholesaler and were selling on the site. This is something that I hadn’t planned for, maybe I had been naive? I cannot turn back the clock. The independent bookshops who I have supplied from the launch have had 18 months of clear sales without this online competition, after all, nearly all books are available online, The Wainwrights in Colour was perhaps the exception to the rule.
So now I have to re-assess my sales plan. There is no going back, my mind is working out a way to still support those local bookshops who have supported me from the start as well as ensuring that the online sales are kept within my control where ever possible without discounting the cover price. I suppose it will be a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them”.