I'm amazed that nobody has written a review here for this book which is somewhat of a classic in its field.But, then again, I can also imagine people who are avid readers that would find no interest in how the book they are holding in their paw came into being,physically.
This is an excellent overviev of what it was to be a book publisher,particularly in Britain.This book was first published in 1926 and revised several times up to 1960.It is heavily influenced by the authors personal experiences as a book publisher who worked the trade from the early part of the 1900's .He was the founder of Unwin and Co.Ltd.of London.He was President of the Publishers Assoc. of Great Britain (1933-5) and President of International Publishers Association (1936-8) He died in 1968.So he knew of what he wrote, and not surprising it was translated into fourteen languages and remains one of the best guidebooks to publishing truths.
While many of the principles he discusses remain true to this day;this is a book about the past.It is 80 years since this book was first written,and almost 40 years since the author passed away.The business of books has changed so much since those days and in ways that would have been unimaginable to publishers,authors,distributors, sellers and readers of those times.In spite of that ,the principles are virtually the same.
The author deals with the trials,tribulations,challenges,heartaches,satisfactions and
rewards of his era and the more they change ,the more they remain the same.
While I have nothing to do with the business side of books,I have always been interested in understanding what goes on behind the scene that put the books I enjoy into my hands.
A book covering the changes that have occurred ,and how and why they came about during the last 15 years would be interesting.
A magazine ,Biblio in 1997,which I believe is now no longer published;ran these interesting stats:
Book Sales 1991 1996 % change
Independent Bookstores 32% 18% -44%
Chain Bookstores 22% 25% +14%
Book Clubs 17% 18% +6%
Discount Stores 7% 9% +28%
Other 7% 10% +30%
Food/Drug Stores 5% 5% --
Mail Orders 5% 4% -20%
Used Bookstores 3% $5 +33%
Warehouse Clubs 3% 6% +100%
Wow, what changes,and that was 8 years ago,and probably even outdated, even at that.I wonder what the numbers would look now and in the future.
Another interesting article in Writer's Yearbook in 1998 gave these stats:
7 Basic costs of Book Costs
Author's Royalties 10-15%
Retailer's Discounts 40-50%
Profit before Returns 1.5-16.5%
And that is what goes into getting a book to us readers.
Thanks to all involved,especially the book buyers who decide what they want and how they want to get it.