Explaining the book trade

Super Thursday, as it is known in the industry, is the day when nearly 800 titles are published, three times more than an average day.

Very few people, very few people indeed, ever make any money out of writing a book.

It takes time to write one of course, time that could be used to do something else. And very few indeed get enough money to compensate them for having spent that time writing (of course, those who write books tend to do so for other reasons, but that\’s an aside). And the reason is as above.

Think not so much about the 800 being published today looking to be the nation\’s stocking filler (and thus the most unread book of the year) but instead at the normal daily number. 250 odd titles every weekday of the year. More titles every day than even the most committed of bibliophiles will read in a year.

Profits do tend to be low when there\’s a lot of competition…..

2 thoughts on “Explaining the book trade”

  1. It’s a lot worse than you might think, Tim.
    A few fairly straightforward calculations leads to the inescapapable conclusion that, figuring 4-5 words in a title, we’re due to run out of all possible titles somewhere around the 7th or 8th of next January, give or take a day or two either way.

    It looks like combinations will be the only way to go—unavoidable, I’d guess–and likely a damn good business to get into. I’m setting about copyrighting a few decent unused ones, like “Mobius Dick” while I run off a slew of ready-mades for when the shit hits the fan next January. Not as easy as it might seem, actually, but there’s plenty out there to work with and I’m looking to sell pretty cheap. “Tarzan Meets a Connecticut Yankee on the Orient Express” is up to $26.38 on E-Bay and there’s still a couple hours to go. Some of ’em I do myself but I’ve found that the results are almost as good by spewing them out— using a randomized computer algorithm and then editing for “flavor” and “polish” (or is that Polish?).

    I’m trying to get a head start on the competition but also want to have a solid “specialty” section for unimaginative authors–you know, scholarly types such as an economist who might fancy ” A History of Agricultural Price Flexibility in the Gulag Archipelago” and be happy to pay somewhat above the going rate for novel titles (i.e., titles for novels).

    But this is probably not that innovative or even interesting to you, I guess. From what I’ve gathered over the years, selling titles is an old and almost-respectable business over there.

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