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Dorchester Publishing / Leisure Books

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This caught my eye:
From PW article: Hultenschmidt said that the house will be working with Ingram Publishers Services, as previously announced, and will be releasing all of its titles in e-book format and then releasing a paperback edition roughly six months later. Hultenschmidt said the lag would allow IPS to collect all of Dorchester's sales information and give it time to sell titles into accounts.
This doesn't make sense to me. Publishers and their sales teams do their selling to the national accounts BEFORE the book is released - not after. What do the e-books have to do with the physical book sales? They really are quite independent of each other.

They still haven't explained why they got rid of their own sales teams. They already had a good distribution machine firmly in place, so to upset that apple cart in favor of IPS - who takes a hefty bite out of those sales - is illogical. What's even more upsetting is that several smaller indie presses are distributed by Dorchester. What happens to them now?

Something still smells rotten here.
 

Bubastes

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This concerned me:

Although Dorchester president John Prebich, when he initially explained the move to PW, did not lay out a trade paperback program and said only select titles would be printed POD, Hultenschmidt said that POD would be used largely for re-orders, but that most titles would be printed as traditional trade paperbacks on offset printers.

It's not a good sign when you can't even get your company spokespeople to provide the same message.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Methinks they're trying to cut costs in order to deal with their financial difficulties. All this confusion sounds kind of like they're panicking though.
 

Robin Bayne

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Isn't this the same publisher that lost a class action suit a few years ago? Author Robin Lee Hatcher organized it, and they won because the publisher was not giving them all royalties due.
 

Cathy C

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Dorchester was one of the large publishers who had an undefined reserve against returns clause. Basically, once a reserve was established, they were under no obligation to EVER return those royalties to the authors. Yes, they were sued, and yes, they lost. The clause was rewritten and all was well.

I've known a number of authors who pubbed with Dorchester over the years, and most all have been happy there. This whole situation is a total shock to them and they're understandably worried.

My personal opinion of what's happening is that they're asset-rich/cash-poor right now. Printers often want up front money for offset printing and especially if they've been really slow paying, the creditors (printer) might be insisting they cough up. But where to get the money? Why...ebooks! Amazon pays pretty darned promptly for the industry, as do the other ebook players. With the upfront cash, they could pay the fees for the print TO demand run.

Make note of this, folks, because everything I've read tells me it's not POD they're talking about but PTD. Print to Demand is not all that different from what every other publisher out there does. They receive orders from distributors and book chains and determine how many books they need to fulfill. Then they print an extra . . . oh, say 10-20% for fast reorders if the title flies off the shelves. Instead of printing a flat 5,000 or 50,000 of a title and warehousing it, they're printing a smaller number using digital technology that is very close to "just in time" shipping that's happening in all other areas of manufacture in the world. Digital means they're not tied to a specific print run. If they need 3,624 copies instead of 5,000, they can do that without any effect.

What I fear is going to happen is that they're going to use the "ebook first" option as an indicator of future print sales, and not put out some titles as print books EVER because of low e-sales---and that's a mistake. Dorchester is widely known for grocery and discount chain sales in mass. They often don't have the racks available for trade size. That's going to cut into their business. Plus, with more and more brick and mortar stores closing in small or rural areas, it's going to turn into a situation where the tighter they pull back financially, the less sales they'll wind up getting.

Although, Amazon is quickly outpacing several of the major chains on print sales, so maybe it's not such a bad thing. As veinglory said, trade books aren't returned as often, and are returned intact. That can save a TON of money for a publisher in the long run.

:Huh: I'm leery, but willing to see what happens. I don't think people should stop subbing or it really WILL wind up the end of the publisher.
 

michael_b

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Yep, troubles.

At least that's what it looks like. The font the article is written in is so tiny I could barely make out the words.

You can use the 'view' feature in most browsers to increase the size of the text you're viewing if it's too small for you to read.
 

Sydewinder

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I can't decide if this elevates the status of POD operations or if it decreases the status of Dorchester. Many POD pubs are criticized for saying things like "The industry needs to change if it's going to survive." which is more or less exactly what Dorchester says on their site.

I can't help but wonder, a) Are they going to be paying authors on NET *cringes*, b) how they're going to compete with the price point of off-set printed books and c) If they really are just a sinking ship.

I've heard of houses moving from POD to off-set, but never the reverse. Anyone have examples of houses that have done this successfully?
 
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Bubastes

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Forget about the POD thing -- how the heck are they going to function with ONE person in the editorial department?
 

Sydewinder

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Forget about the POD thing -- how the heck are they going to support their operations with ONE person in the editorial department?

I get the impression that the horror/western department is going out altogether; I think they're using one person to handle the remaining projects and then that's it for that line. The one editor thing was just for the horror/western books right? do they really use the same editors for westerns and horror?
 

Bubastes

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I get the impression that the horror/western department is going out altogether; I think they're using one person to handle the remaining projects and then that's it for that line. The one editor thing was just for the horror/western books right? do they really use the same editors for westerns and horror?

From what I can tell on Twitter, Dorchester has one editor left, period. Don D'Auria, one of the editors that was let go, handled horror, Westerns, and thrillers, if I recall correctly. Chris Keesler (the one editor still at Dorchester) handles romance, but it looks like he has the whole shebang now.

This whole thing makes me sad. :(
 
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miamyselfandi

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I can't decide if this elevates the status of POD operations or if it decreases the status of Dorchester. Many POD pubs are criticized for saying things like "The industry needs to change if it's going to survive." which is more or less exactly what Dorchester says on their site.

I see absolutely no way that this elevates POD. It makes it even clearer that it's a last chance method of publishing, one for a failing publisher.

It would only give POD credibility if a year from now Dorchester is hugely successful with it and/or solvent publishers decided to go POD.
 

Sydewinder

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I see absolutely no way that this elevates POD. It makes it even clearer that it's a last chance method of publishing, one for a failing publisher.

It would only give POD credibility if a year from now Dorchester is hugely successful with it and/or solvent publishers decided to go POD.

Really? you don't see how a commercial publisher, thinking that using POD technology for a front list as a means to reduce risk associated with warehousing books, might give credence to other POD's?

I do. Seems like it's not so much the option for failing publishers as it is for those without a lot of capital.
 

JulieB

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Really? you don't see how a commercial publisher, thinking that using POD technology for a front list as a means to reduce risk associated with warehousing books, might give credence to other POD's?

I do. Seems like it's not so much the option for failing publishers as it is for those without a lot of capital.

POD isn't viable for those looking to get mass bookstore distribution. It's too expensive. Warehousing is a huge cost, but there's a breakpoint at which it's still less expensive to go offset, IMO.

(I almost typed, "it's a matter of weight ratios." Tells you where my brain is today.)
 

Sydewinder

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POD isn't viable for those looking to get mass bookstore distribution. It's too expensive. Warehousing is a huge cost, but there's a breakpoint at which it's still less expensive to go offset, IMO.

(I almost typed, "it's a matter of weight ratios." Tells you where my brain is today.)

I think you're partly right in that it's expensive, therefore the margin to the publisher is less, and I think you're right about the breakpoint, too, in that most of the top distributors are expensive and that their cost needs to be factored in. So, either you have a drastically overpriced book (which will prob precluded you from getting picked up by a distributor) or you make next to nothing on your titles. Next to nothing beats "nothing".

I think it's entirely viable for those starting out, or, in Dorchester's case, restructuring. I suspect they'll either be dead within the year or doing off-set again. In the meantime, I think they made a wise choice.
 

Soccer Mom

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SBTB is reporting confirmation of the rumors that the entire editorial staff (except for Keesler) has been let go. I don't see how you can run a publisher without editors. POD or off-set or ebook is sort of irrelevant without editors. It really does sound as if they are circling the drain.
 

Sydewinder

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SBTB is reporting confirmation of the rumors that the entire editorial staff (except for Keesler) has been let go. I don't see how you can run a publisher without editors. POD or off-set or ebook is sort of irrelevant without editors. It really does sound as if they are circling the drain.

yeesh. maybe they're not acquiring anymore and instead looking to just keep pushing the titles they have in play? I might just be far too optimistic here that they have a plan that can save the authors they've already contracted.
 

Bubastes

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I doubt they have a plan. Judging by the comments on the blog post I linked to above, they aren't even getting books to their own authors to sign and sell at conventions.
 

thothguard51

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Has P&E given Leisure/Dorchester a not recommended classification yet? I mean, according to Keene, they are still signing authors but not shipping any books?
 

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