Friday, December 19, 2008

Doom and Gloom

It’s Friday and close to Christmas and everything in the media is gloomy. Right now, the economic outlook is anything but rosy, so in response, people have radically cut back in their spending, which again, makes the outlook even gloomier.

Publishers are cutting back - people, lines, authors, salary freezes, bookstores will buy less for 2009. Sales forecasts will be reduced, which means bookstores will buy safe, bestselling authors, known commodities.

It’s how I’m reacting in a different retail field.

I read a report in the paper today that over the next two years, the effect on business will be Darwinian. The strong will survive.

Depressed yet?

What will come of it? Recessions are cyclical. They last a couple of years, and then we see growth again. Out of that growth come changes to the way things have happened. It may result in changes to the way publishers operate. Whether the returns system changes, or adapts, how they buy new authors might change.

But the people who love to read will always love to read. And they’ll want new, exciting things, especially as the economy starts to improve. Perhaps this obsession with celebrities that has been such a fixture in our lives will reduce, as people go back to basics over the next two years. We might see a reduction in the number of Joe the Plumper stupid advances.

I know my retail strategy over the next year is a combination of core basics, the comfort buy and the new, exciting items that the customer might not have. So even in the next two years, there still might be room for new authors who bring to the table something new and exciting, something different.

I hope so.

But in the end, it’s impossible to predict.

But for Christmas, my friends and family are getting books as gifts.


Maureen McGowan said...

I'm buying books, too, Sinead.

And in spite of all the doom and gloom right now, I'm trying really, really hard to count my blessings.

The stock markets are still acting irrationally. Not just like it's a recession, like it's the end of the world... But this too shall end. One hopes.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Husband and I went shopping yesterday -- people are out in droves that's for sure and the three bookstores I went to -- packed. PACKED. Sony store, Apple store -- we couldn't even see inside the store. Even shoppers Drug Mart was sickening. Not sure what it means but the world at this moment is not coming to an end...

Alli said...

Books, books, books for everyone this Christmas. I've always been a book giver, but this year EVERY present for the people on my list is a book. Gotta support our colleagues, huh?

Thanks for the post about book returns. I always looked at it from just an environmental factor, but as Maureen pointed out, there is so much more involved. I think I have changed my stance and keep my fingers crossed there is a return system in the future, but something that is more environmentally friendly and keeps money in the authors pockets. No idea how it would work, but a gal's gotta dream.

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