OK, I admit it: I’m confused. Completely baffled, in fact. By Scripture Union’s “New Sales Plan”, which does away with their trade representation via STL and gives us in its place a multi-layered and convoluted system administered directly by Scripture Union themselves.
I have the plan before me as I type and I appreciate its entirely laudable aims to enable us “work collaboratively to maximise ministry and sales”, to “work creatively, strategically and collaboratively” to reach our customers (that’s customers, please note, not consumers: we do get consumers buying up the chocolate, but our book buyers are customers). But does it really take a seven point plan made up of twenty-nine bulleted sub-points in three sub-sections followed by another three sub-sections, with the whole thing spread over two sides of A4, to present a “Supply Proposal”?? What was wrong with having new titles presented to us by STL’s sales reps? They were — or at least Roger Compton (hello again, Roger: I did say it’s blog or be blogged, remember?), our rep, was — doing a great job for you.
Sorry, guys, but for us at LST the new scheme simply doesn’t add up: the idea of having new titles scaled out automatically is a definite non-starter. We don’t have the space and we don’t have the time to then go through them culling and returning everything that doesn’t sell. I know my customers, I know what’s likely to sell and I will select and order my stock accordingly.
I find myself wondering how things would look if each and every publisher decided to adopt a similar new title scale-out policy? Booksellers buried alive under mountains of books they didn’t order and don’t want…
No: the way I see it, it’s up to each of us to manage our stock to meet the needs and requirements of our customers. Yes, I acknowledge that that can be something a challenge, especially for newcomers to the trade, and I acknowledge that it can be frustrating for publishers who think that every book they release is destined to be the next big thing. Such, however, is life in the real world.
How do you see it?