This is an industry unlike any other: it's the only one I'm aware of where stores can order all they want and not pay upfront, then, if the books don't sell as much as they want, they just return them and never have to pay.
Here's what happened this fall: readers stopped buying books because of the economy. So bookstores had tons of extra books they hadn't paid for. They returned those books in droves. The result: Publishers are floundering, because they lost enough money in a month or two (not being paid at all for books, not selling any, and then losing more through returns and shipping) to throw them into the red for the entire year.
In many ways, it's an odd industry, because today's money comes from books acquired months if not years ago. Money from the books they're working on and publishing today won't come in for months or years in the future. In a sense, they have to be fortune tellers, guessing what will be hot in twelve or more months, and then hoping against hope that when a specific book hits shelves, that nothing (like a recession) will cause any problems.
I'm not explaining this very well.
But the point is, readers need to buy books as gifts this Christmas. Books are always a great gift, especially for kids.
Like most people, I adore the library and use it a ton. But the other day, I went to the store and bought a book I'd read from the library that I especially liked. It was my way of supporting both the author and the publisher.
This season, publishers really need the help. They're laying off people left and right in an attempt to tighten purse strings today, even though their money is tied up elsewhere (in past books and future books). But hey, it's the only way they can save money today. Some publishers have even temporarily stopped acquiring new books.
I've done my part: In the last week, I've bought a bunch of books for my kids and myself.
For two reasons, then I'm doing a giveaway:
1) To encourage my readers to GIVE BOOKS this year, even if it means a free one.
2) To pay forward the prize I won through Shelle at Blokthoughts. I won a $10 gift card at amazon.com. It's already spent on a book I've been wanting to get for some time. It arrived yesterday. Can't wait to read it!
Here's how it'll work: THREE commenters will get a copy of one of my books, their choice. I'll pick the names randomly.
The ONE rule: Winners have to be willing to PAY IT FORWARD on their own blogs by giving something away to their readers. If you don't want to do a giveaway, don't leave a comment. (Or say as much IN your comment. That works, too.)
Oh, and make sure I have a way to contact you if you're the winner.
Notes about my books:
I can sign them to the winners or to a friend, or family member if you want to give the book as a gift.
My first two, Lost Without You and At the Water's Edge, are out of print. I bought up some of the very last copies around. So if you're interested in one of them, this might be a good place to get one.
Some readers have asked about which of my temples books are what:
- House on the Hill is about the Logan Temple.
- At the Journey's End is about St. George. It's also about one character from House on the Hill. You can totally read it as a stand-alone, since it's not a true sequel (more of a spin-off), but if you don't want the end of House on the Hill ruined, don't read At the Journey's End first.
- Spires of Stone is about the Salt Lake Temple and is a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. Don't let the somber cover fool you; it's my most light-hearted book.
- If you'd prefer to get a copy of Tower of Strength (my fourth temple book, about Manti), you can defer your prize until March when it comes out, and I'll send you one then.
Go on: Comment to enter and then head to the store to buy some books!