Fuse #8

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Small Pub Outrage

I received an e-mail from a small publisher the other day regarding an upcoming change to BEA. At their request I am keeping their name out of this, but I suspect that more than one small pub will find themselves particularly peeved at the following information. Observe:
We’ve attended BEA every year for the past 20 some years that we’ve been doing business. As a small publisher (consider us the indie bookstore vs. the big chains), competing with the “big guys” has always been a way for us to come up with more creative marketing programs and ideas to promote our books and get our titles in the hands of book buyers and of course, librarians. Clearly, this is why we started working more directly with book bloggers, such as yourself (Liz’s article in SLJ is very timely).

Anyhow, this morning, I received an email from the lovely people at BEA who are now promoting a Librarian Friendly “opportunity.” Basically, for an additional $500 we can receive carpet decals and buttons for our booth staff which states that we’re Librarian Friendly. Now, as you know, we are librarian friendly. We attend ALA every year and are always surprised at how many librarians attend both BEA and ALA and yet we continue to have a presence at both shows. Now I realize that you are not attending BEA, although it is in New York this year, but my rant is with the whole notion and idea that if we don’t come up with an additional $500, does that mean that we will be viewed as not being Librarian Friendly? It’s sort of a Catch-22 with our limited budget and the expensive cost of attending BEA in the most expensive city one could find to host it.

Anyways, if you could somehow get the word out to your librarian colleagues that many small publishers (who are not owned or distributed by a major house) will not be able to afford these pricey little buttons or carpet decal and will instead put more money and energy into the library market in other, more creative ways.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll break down and cough up this $500 after all (I’m not the one to have the final say) but it seems rather unfortunate that once again, the small publishers who are stretching their pennies to even be able to attend this big show, are now put in the awkward position of having to fork over money to state the obvious – Are there any publishers out there that are clearly not Librarian Friendly? I’m on the hunt to find at least one.
This seems more than a little silly on the BEA's part. Are they under the impression that librarians will wander over to a publisher, search in vain for a Librarian Friendly carpet decal, fail to see one, and waltz off in a huff? Hardly. The only answer must be that some muckety-muck over at BEA had the "brilliant" idea of how to get publishers to cough up even more dough for this convention. For little guys, this isn't an option. Bad, BEA! Bad! No cookie for you. In lieu of the $500, small pubs may wear these inexpensive alternatives instead. They are $2.99. That's a saving of $497.01. Much nicer.

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At 9:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or http://www.cafepress.com/karenlibrarian2

At 10:17 AM , Blogger Liz B said...

I have been to BEA only once and look forward to going this year (you're not going, Fuse?). I found the publishers (all sizes) very friendly to librarians, who were clearly identified as such by the nametags. I think the actual being friendly & chatty etc is much more important than a LF sign. I cannot imagine how the LF sign would matter at all.

At 10:40 AM , Blogger MotherReader said...

The whole thing does seem like extortion. The idea that a book publisher would not be "Librarian Friendly" is like the NRA not being "Hunter Friendly." (Now, imagine those buttons.)

Maybe the small publishers should go for the laugh instead. Signs like "We LOVE Librarians! They taste just like chicken!"

At 2:51 PM , Blogger SevenImpossible said...

Love your $2.99 solution, Fuse (and MotherReader's plan, too). Yes, that is pure silliness on BEA's part. Thanks for the post.

At 6:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, that's so silly. If I were a small pub I'd go overboard just to make a point. How about free pieces of cake with "I Love Librarians" written in frosting? How about balloons that say "Library friendly." Streamers? Candy hearts? Tee shirts? Stickers?

OR they could do reverse psychology and all the staff could wear shirts that say, "We hate librarians. We don't want to sell books."


At 7:04 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Oh, I love suggestion #2. Definitely. They should completely make shirts that say that. With the face of a be-bunned librarian shushing someone and then a big red X through the image. I would wear that shirt, and I'm not a publisher.


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