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Old 07-10-2010, 08:44 AM   #1
Chris P
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Publish America's Carousel of Magically Rotating Email Offers

PA has stopped sending me emails, therefore I will rely on those who still do receive them to post in this thread. Thanks all!

Ready, aim, discuss!


2008

November 10: 50% discount and free shipping within USA on orders of 20 books or more. Hardcovers excluded, but full-color books included. Four days only.

November 23: 60% discount on orders of 20 books or more. Hard cover and full color books excluded. Three days only.

November 30: 40% discount on all orders or any size. Orders of 20 receive 2 free copies; 30 get 5; 40 get 10; 50 get 20; 75 get 30; 100+ get 40. Free rush (2nd-day) shipping on orders of 25 or more (only charged regular shipping). Six days only.

December 7: 50% discount on all orders. Free shipping on orders of 25 or more. Five days only.

December 14: Previous week's sale extended for another week.

December 17: Author can submit a bid to have a full-page advertisement appear on the final page of 5000 books. Advertisement includes picture of book cover and the author, cover text, and author bio. Authors submit dollar amounts of bid before noon EST December 24, 2008. Highest bidder wins.

December 21: 60% discount on all orders of 19 or more. Hard covers and full-color books excluded. Three days only. "Offer will not come back soon."

December 28: Buy one/get one free on orders of 20 or more. Hard covers and full-color books excluded. Three days only.


2009

January 4: Trial of "Author Return Policy." Authors have "similar returnability privileges that bookstores have." 50% discount applies to all books, and unsold books from orders of 20 or more are eligible for return after 60 but before 120 days after purchase. Refund to be applied to next royalty check, 10% restocking fee applies to all returns, shipping costs are not refundable, and hard cover and full-cover books are excluded from the offer. Must order by January 9.

January 11: 45% discount, and buy one/get one free on orders of 20 or more. Orders of 19 or more (not including the free books) qualify for return based on the details outlined in the January 4 email. Free books are not returnable.

January 18: 45% discount, buy one/get one free on orders of 20 or more, plus get 20 Valentine's Day postcards with your book's cover on it (minimum order of 20 books). Orders of 19 or more qualify for return based on criteria in January 4 email.

January 21: Framed royalty checks are available for $19.95 + S&H. The actual, negotiable check will be sent at the same time. Offer expired January 30. PA claims to process 30,000 statements each royalty period. Statements for books that sold zero copies will be sent by email. No word on what happens if an author not owed a check orders a frame.

February 1: 50% discount on all orders (no minimum), including full-color books but not hard covers. Free shipping on orders of more than 12 books. Five days only.

February 8: 55% discount on all orders (no minimum), including full-color books but not hard covers. Royalties paid on orders of 19 or more. Five days only.

February 11: Beginning of "Author website of the week" on PA homepage. Email link. No indication of purchase requirements or how the week's website will be selected.

March 8: 50% discount on all orders, free shipping for orders of 19 or more. Includes full-color books but not hard covers. Email makes mention of PA author attending a books sales event also attended by an unnamed New York Times writer. Somehow, this makes the PA author "a star." Several other names are dropped as celebrity PA peer authors. PA department devoted to arranging author signings, and "introduces" a new author to a bookstore every 15 minutes, 30 stores/day, 160/week and 700/month.

March 12: Another auction for advertising space on the final page of 10,000 PA books announced. Dollar amount bids to be sent in, and all bidders will be notified.

March 22: 50% discount on all orders (no minimum), plus double the order and free shipping on orders of 20 or more. Three days only, hardcover and full-color books excluded.

March 29: All books on sale for $7.99. Minimum order of 20. Smaller orders at $8.99 each. Hardcover and full-color books excluded. Three days only.

April 12: 50% discount on all orders (no minimum), free shipping on orders of 12 or more. Hardcovers excluded but full-color books included.

April 19: Back-to-back special sales offers for authors will be discontinued. The final 3-day sale, 45% discount, with each order doubled gratis; effectively a 70% discount. No indication if the author is responsible for shipping on the free books. Selected books may qualify for inclusion in future sales offers.

April 22: Reiteration of final sale to authors, final 2 days. 45% discount, double all orders, no minimum. Hard covers excluded, full-color books only qualify for discount (not doubling). However, "selected books might qualify for future special sales offers."

May 6: Another auction of advertising space in 10,000 books, same as March 12. Two days given for bidding.

May 25: The "Celebrity Peers" email, prefigured by the March 8 "She's a Star" email. Several celebrities-turned-PA-authors are listed. 55% discount and doubling all orders (no minimum) and free rush shipping for orders of 20 or more (author only charged regular shipping). Hard covers excluded but full-color books included.

May 31: 500 PA authors have sold a collective 500,000 books (1000 each). Two of these high-sellers are celebrities, two are not (all four individuals are named). 60% discount on all orders, orders of 15 or more are doubled.

June 12: Hard covers offered at the same list price as soft covers. No minimum purchase, no requirement to buy soft covers. Royalties paid to the author. 50% discount for orders of 9 or more books. Hard covers have new ISBNs. In addition, limited editorial changes are allowed with hardcover purchases of 5 or more books.

June 17: Two-day extension of June 12 sale.

June 21: Buy one hardcover get two softcovers free. Hardcovers still at soft cover price. Three-day extension of limited changes to text offer.

June 28: Two-day special: Purchase of 9 copies = 25% discount plus 2 hardcovers; 19 = 30% + 4 HC; 29 = 35% + 7 HC; 49 = 40% + 10 HC. Free shipping on all orders of 9 or more books. Final opportunity for limited editorial changes to text.

July 1: Announcement of PA Large Print editions. Email states that giant publishers "such as" Random House only carries 340 large print titles, and Doubleday only 400. PA offers all 40,000 titles in large print. Same list price as soft cover. Reply to email address in message to get details of large print production.


2010

February 16: 40% discount on orders of 1 to 11 books, 50% discount on 12+ books. Free shipping on all orders.

February 16: Conversion to ebook format of use with the iPad. Order of 14 books activates conversion to iPad-compatible ebook. Conversion can be activated for $49 if fewer than 14 (or even no) books are ordered. ebook will sell for less than $10, will be available from PA site, and will also be "available to those who won't have access to the iPad."

February 19: 65% discount, no minimum, hardcovers and full-color books excluded.

February 22: Your book goes to Tom Hanks. Order 12 or more books at 55% discount (45% if fewer than 12 are ordered) and PA will send two copies to Tom Hanks (of Concord, California) so "he can read it for optional movie adaptation just like other Hollywood actors have done with other PublishAmerica books" and "in case he wants to share one copy with a Hollywood production company or anyone else he chooses." Your local media will also be notified. Authors may request that the two books may be sent to the author instead of Mr. Hanks free of charge.

February 23: Your book published by Random House? Order ten or more copies at a 50% discount and PA will send "up to five copies" to Random House's acquisition editors. Author may request the five books be sent to the author instead of Random House.

February 26: Buy one book at 50% discount, get second book free. No minimum order and shipping is free on the free books.

March 1: PA will contact local schools and colleges regarding your book following purchase of 12 or more copies at 55% discount. Email includes two author testimonials, one from an author whose book became required reading in a Psych 101 class and another whose book was approved by the school board for inclusion in the libraries.

March 2: Your book submitted to the New York Times Book Review. Buy 12 or more copies at 50% discount and PA will send up to five copies to the 8th Avenue office of the NYT Book Review at no cost to the author or NYTBR. Author may request the five free copies to be sent to the author instead of NYTBR.

March 9: Your book goes to Sandra Bullock. Buy six books at 25% discount, PA sends one copy to Ms. Bullock. You may include a personal note to Sandra.

March 15: Your book in Costco and Sam's Club. Buy 10 or more books at a 40% discount (25% discount for less than 10), and PA will match the order and send the extra books to Costco or Sam's Club, and no cost to the author and the stores do not pay for shipping. Author supplies preferred outlet and city at the time of ordering. Free books may be sent to the author by author request.

March 16: Your book goes to your alma mater. Order 9 or more books at 45% discount and PA will match the order and send the extra books to your former school, college or university at no cost to you, and the school is not charged for shipping. Free books may be sent to the author by author's request.

June 22: "Book of the Day" program announced. If an author buys 19 copies of his or her own book, the book will be entered into the program. On the day for which that book is selected, each customer who places an order (about 100 to 150 per day, according to PA) will receive the participating author's book, with the customary royalty paid to the author. For a book costing $25, the net loss to the author (ignoring shipping costs): $137, $212.21 with shipping. Analysis of cost here and the post following.

June 23: "Writer of the Day" Program announced for the authors who want a "lower bar alternative" to the "Book of the Day" program. Purchasing 9 books enters the author, and half of the customers ordering on that book's day get a free copy of the book, with normal royalties paid to the author. Cost analysis should be the same as "Book of the Day," but about half the magnitude, still a net loss to the author.

June 25: Announcement that "nearly all" softcovers will be discontinued. Nearly all PA titles will from the end of this sale will be available only in hardcover, but at the same list price as the softcovers. Authors can purchase softcovers at a 50% discount, with PA doubling the order gratis.

June 30: Launch of the PAperback. Permanent list price: $9.95. Production must be activated by a minimum purchase of 9 books.

July 2: Minimum order for PAperback activation reduced to 5 books, just two days later.

July 5: Announcement of "selected titles" that are exempt from compulsory hardcover conversion. [NOTE: If anyone knows of a title NOT exempt, please post as a reply]

July 6: Announcement of "no-hassle activation" of PAperback editions: minimum purchase lowered to 2 copies, just 4 days after being lowered to 5.

July 7: Announcement of the launch of "bargain hardbacks." Permanent list price of $14.95. Minimum purchase of 5 copies.

July 9: Original hardcovers will be discontinued, just 14 days after the announcement of compulsory hardcover conversion. Author must activate the "bargain hardback" by ordering 4 copies to ensure continued availability of any hardbound edition. No word on the fate of any (if any) books not exempt from compulsory hardcover transition.

July 12: PA explains its supermarket PAperback program. The author buys 5 or more PAperbacks and supplies the name of a local supermarket and the city. PA doubles the author's order and sends the extra books to the local supermarket (I buy 10, 10 go to me and 10 to the supermarket). There is no cost to the author or supermarket for the books sent to the supermarket. Email states that "Returnable by the supermarket" means "strippable."

July 13: Launch of Independence Books, a subsidiary of PublishAmerica. Softcover books will be re-branded as Independence Books, and will not be identified as POD or as PublishAmerica books. Hard covers and PAperbacks will continue to be printed as PA books. All Independence Books will be available at a uniform price of $14.95. All titles will remain contracted to PA and will be given a new ISBN. Minimum purchase of seven softcovers to activate publication as Independence Books.

In addition, several PA authors received emails stating that because their books did not sell any copies for a year the authors may buy out of their contracts for $99.

July 14: Buy 5, get 30 for free, buy 10, get 60 free, and so on. No shipping charges on the extra 30. Only applies to softcovers; bargain hardcovers, PAperbacks, and full-color books excluded. Minimum order of 5 copies.

July 15: Your picture on the cover. Order five or more softcovers or hardcovers (supposedly discontinued on July 9) and PA will contact you for a picture to put on the cover of your book after the order is placed. Available also for PAperback and hardcover editions.

July 16: Final weekend for activation of PAperbacks and bargain hardbacks. No minimum purchases are noted in the email.

July 19: 65% lifetime author discount on softcovers announced, provided author purchases five or more softcovers by Wednesday.

July 20: PA discontinues "Buy 1 get X" offers on softcovers. Buy 8 (minimum order) get 40, with no shipping on the extra 32 books. Final sale of this type, expires Friday.

July 21: Across-the-board price increases of $5 announced on all softcovers. Authors may purchase 9 or more softcovers at the old price and at a 50% discount. Use of the coupon activates production on the title in PAperback.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
June 25: Announcement that "nearly all" softcovers will be discontinued. Nearly all PA titles will from the end of this sale will be available only in hardcover, but at the same list price as the softcovers. Authors can purchase softcovers at a 50% discount, with PA doubling the order gratis.

June 30: Launch of the PAperback. Permanent list price: $9.95. Production must be activated by a minimum purchase of 9 books.

July 2: Minimum order for PAperback activation reduced to 5 books, just two days later.

July 5: Announcement of "selected titles" that are exempt from compulsory hardcover conversion. [NOTE: If anyone knows of a title NOT exempt, please post as a reply]

July 6: Announcement of "no-hassle activation" of PAperback editions: minimum purchase lowered to 2 copies, just 4 days after being lowered to 5.

July 7: Announcement of the launch of "bargain hardbacks." Permanent list price of $14.95. Minimum purchase of 5 copies.

July 9: Original hardcovers will be discontinued, just 14 days after the announcement of compulsory hardcover conversion. Author must activate the "bargain hardback" by ordering 4 copies to ensure continued availability of any hardbound edition.
Wheels are coming off the wagon, aren't they? This is five pounds of crazy in a one pound bag.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:10 AM   #3
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Thank you.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:09 AM   #4
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WTF?

If I'm confused, how do PA's customers (authors) keep up with what's happening?
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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I think I would be going insane receiving all this in my email.

Chris P, I take my hat off to you. You are one very special person.
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.M. Daniels View Post
WTF?

If I'm confused, how do PA's customers (authors) keep up with what's happening?
I don't think we're expected to. Remember, this is not a comprehensive marketing plan to sell books to the public. To sell books to the authors, they only want/need us to think about the current offer. It's like fishing; it doesn't matter what bait you used last time if the current bait works.

Buying the minimum orders since June 22 is 46 books (if I activated PAperback with the first offer of 9 books). I'll be charitable and say that 25% of PA authors will go through 46 books. That means 75% will never need to order ever again. PA knows this. They only need you to bite a couple times.

Elisabeth: Special or going insane from receiving all these emails? :P
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:12 PM   #7
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I'm so glad I asked for this and that someone asked for it to be a sticky. You did a great job. I hope this and future posts help save some people from the scam.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:59 PM   #8
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See, I had already forgotten about the "Book of the Day" thing. So glad you made this thread, Chris. Kudos!
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:35 PM   #9
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I've provided a link to your thread on PA's Facebook page. Thanks, ChrisP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by merrihiatt View Post
See, I had already forgotten about the "Book of the Day" thing.
Not easy to remember all their shenanigans. Book of the Day, Writer of the Week, Barnes and Noble award, donation to animal charities, personalized hardcovers (i.e. dedication to Oprah on the cover), framed royalty checks and so on, ad infinitum, world without end.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:30 AM   #10
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Don't forget the "Send a copy of your book to Random House" and "Let your book be seen at the White House" offers.

I'd like to see the "Your book actually shelved in a traditional, brick-and-mortar book store chain from sea to shining sea" but I'm not holding my breath.

I see the need for another list to be created. It could be titled: But Wait, There's More...
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I've provided a link to your thread on PA's Facebook page. Thanks, ChrisP!
And here's a link to that Facebook page for all the fine folks here:

The Anti-PA Facebook Page
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:45 AM   #12
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Thanks for that! The irony is that it looks like the FB page was started by PA, and it got taken over by its detractors.

I only started saving the email offers with the June 22 one. If anybody has any older ones please PM me and I will add the details to the timeline.
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:21 AM   #13
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It wasn't started by PA, but by a PA author. PA has no control over the contents.

And then it came to life with many more current and ex-PA authors and is thriving nicely.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:55 AM   #14
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Chris, I have the infamous e-mail about PA not offering any more "special offers," and several others. I saved every last one of them, along with my replies. I'll PM you.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:16 AM   #15
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Chris, I have the infamous e-mail about PA not offering any more "special offers," and several others. I saved every last one of them, along with my replies. I'll PM you.
Thanks Merri! Added the details.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:27 AM   #16
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Thanks, Chris. You may want to add the year to that change, since it was in 2009, not in 2010. It might give the wrong impression.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:54 PM   #17
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July 12, 2010 email

July 12: PA explains its supermarket PAperback program. The author buys 5 or more PAperbacks and supplies the name of a local supermarket and the city. PA doubles the author's order and sends the extra books to the local supermarket (I buy 10, 10 go to me and 10 to the supermarket). There is no cost to the author or supermarket for the books sent to the supermarket. Email states that "Returnable by the supermarket" means "strippable."

Any thoughts? Who gets the money if the books sell? What's Joe Bob on the loading dock going to do when he gets a box of books nobody ordered?
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:20 PM   #18
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Does PA pay to ship the books to the supermarket or does the author have to pay for the shipping?
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:36 PM   #19
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Does PA pay to ship the books to the supermarket or does the author have to pay for the shipping?
It doesn't say. As usually, the details of the shipping costs are not included in the offer.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
July 12: PA explains its supermarket PAperback program. The author buys 5 or more PAperbacks and supplies the name of a local supermarket and the city. PA doubles the author's order and sends the extra books to the local supermarket (I buy 10, 10 go to me and 10 to the supermarket). There is no cost to the author or supermarket for the books sent to the supermarket. Email states that "Returnable by the supermarket" means "strippable."

Any thoughts? Who gets the money if the books sell? What's Joe Bob on the loading dock going to do when he gets a box of books nobody ordered?
Why should the supermarket -or bookstore, or library, or muffler shop- do anything other than toss the unordered books in the dumpster?
Assuming they actually receive them.

Does anyone here have a friend in the supermarket biz who can answer the question?
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:43 AM   #21
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Why should the supermarket -or bookstore, or library, or muffler shop- do anything other than toss the unordered books in the dumpster?
Assuming they actually receive them.

Does anyone here have a friend in the supermarket biz that can answer the question?
I can't answer for supermarkets, but I can tell you what I'd do if some of these showed up at my bookstore. I would either refuse to accept them, or dump them immediately in the dumpster. I do not receive donations. I own a business not a nonprofit organization. I can't even begin to describe the inventory / tax issues that I would encounter by trying to sell something I could not account for.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:52 AM   #22
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Didn't PA make a similar offer to send books to WalMart? Or am I seeing into the future?
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:00 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by CatSlave View Post
Why should the supermarket -or bookstore, or library, or muffler shop- do anything other than toss the unordered books in the dumpster?
Assuming they actually receive them.

Does anyone here have a friend in the supermarket biz who can answer the question?
I just called my local Piggly Wiggly. They said if they got an unsolicited box of books they'd first have to determine if they were ordered and therefore needed to be paid for, they'd next contact the sender to see what they expected them to do, and if they couldn't determine what was going on they'd donate them to the library. He said they get stuff (he didn't say books) sent to them for donation from time to time.

Knowing PA's MO over the last ten years, I imagine the author would be responsible for dealing with the store. PA is not in the business of getting books on store shelves, and presenting a local retailer with a done deal (books on his loading dock he needs to do something with) is not good mojo. The author would be going home with his books.

CatSlave: I'm working through about 20 more emails kindly supplied by a fellow PA author. If the "Your book in Wall-Mart" is in there it will appear in the OP tonight or tomorrow.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:08 AM   #24
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Didn't PA make a similar offer to send books to WalMart? Or am I seeing into the future?
They did, the email is somewhere in the NEPAT (most recent one). I recall reading it when I was going through it. I think it was around Christmas time IIRC. "Imagine your book in Walmart for Christmas, blah...blah...blah" or something to that effect.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:06 AM   #25
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If the PAYperbacks are otherwise identical to the previous PA so-called "trade" paperbacks except for price and ISBN, they will not physically fit in the paperback racks at supermarkets. Even if the store wanted to sell the books (and we are entirely overlooking how books and magazines actually get into supermarkets and other non-book outlets through a network of Independent Distributors), they couldn't.

But let's look at how books, magazines, and newspapers get into supermarkets, drug stores, and other non-bookstore outlets. They're put there by Independent Distributors. If books from some other source suddenly turned up on the shelf at any of those places, the store's manager would very soon have a short, unpleasant discussion with a pissed-off truck driver. And things would go downhill rapidly after that.

Perhaps someday soon I should give a brief outline of how the IDs work. Short version: This is a scheme that can not possibly work.
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