Selling books local or global?


Sorry not to have more news last week but:all books I wanted to write about seem to have problems in the final stages of production or are delayed for various reasons. One could say that this is the usual late Summer early Fall phenomenon but it seems to get crazier and crazier every year. The production cycles are faster and the problems and mistakes made because of that more numerous. Anyhow – I hope the books I want to talk about will surface later this or next week then.

See attached photograph for todays theme of “how to distribute books in a world where
there are fewer bookstores or no bookstores”. The two books I show here on a counter of the cooperative supermarket in Bellagio, Lago di Come, Italy (Nineteenth century itenaries of the ancient village of Bellagio and Suroundings, in two volumes and separate Italian and English editions) are very carefully designed and produced books on historical views of Bellagio (prints and photographs). I saw the book in many stores in and around Bellagio and the southern part of Lago di Como which only proofs that there is a market for such books but you need to dig into the sales possibilities locally for such titles. National or international distribution are of no great importance but locally you can sell some thousand copies. Still selling such rather expensive books (€ 50,- per volume, please disregard the € 6,50 pricetag, which applies to the “Polli allo Spiedo”!!) on the butchers counter next to Olives is an interesting very Italian concept for distribution. But it may well work! I must admit I also saw the book in Hotels, Tourist informations, tourist shops (many) and last not least the few bookstores I spotted in Como and Lecco.

What does this mean for photobook publishers in general ?
Well, sometimes the local market is better than the global market. Just like for printed Newspapers!
On a similar idea exhibition catalogue sales are still strong these days if the book relates well
to what you have seen in the exhibition and also if it is simply a good book whereas in the global and national booktrade and distribution currently sales are not “booming” to use a mild expression.