Dear Ms. Snark, (Miss!!)
A couple of my writer friends recently signed publishing contracts with a small press that publishes hardcover books primarily for the library market. I'm so happy for them both to finally see their dream come true! My concern (and I haven't told either of them this) is that the cover price on this publisher's books is kind of steep at $27 per book. How many readers would fork out $27 on a new, unknown author's first book from a small library press? I would think this might hinder their sell-through, though I understand the print runs are small. I will
certainly cheer my friends on and buy (gulp!) both their books, but I am curious about your opinion on the whole cover price thing.
Well I think $27 for a hardcover book stinks. I know publishers have to charge that much to allow for the even stinkier practice of returns, but library sales are non-returnable so this stinks even more.
However, this publisher has targeted a niche market and it looks like they're serving it. They don't price their products for the general public or expect to sell much there. Faulting them for that is like faulting Miss Snark for not knowing much about science fiction.
One of the penalties of having writerly friends is you have to buy their books. One of the penalties of being an agent is you can't give books as gifts any more cause everyone assumes you get them for free or you have a financial interest in them.
Life's tough all over. Take a moment and think about how great it is that we have libraries in this country that are free, open to everyone and staffed by people who want to help you find great books or good information. Time to head to the library and tell your librarian s/he is your hero. Take cookies.