I’m turning over the soapbox this week, not because I ran out of things to say [I can always rant about customers] but because there are a few links clogging up my drafts file and I thought it might be better to propogate them, rather than have them collect dust until they might be useful.
[for a full index of ‘rethinking the box’ posts, see the most recent one, Sales vs Service]
Most recently was Tom Spurgeon’s conversation with Brian Hibbs over at The Comics Reporter
Among other observations:
“Specifically, what I would really say is that it’s a real lack of understanding in the retail base that alt-comics aren’t just a sell-this-month or even a sell-this-week kind of a deal. That alt-comics for the most part tend to sell continually over the years. I still have every single issue of Optic Nerve sitting on my shelf, including number one that came out 15 years ago. I still stock it because I sell enough copies to justify that rack space. I have every issue that’s in print and available from Diamond of Love and Rockets Vol. 2 on myself. I don’t have Volume One because it’s easier to sell the single book. If I could have the last ten issues of Eightball and the last ten issues of Hate on my wall, I would.”
McSweeney’s Issue #33 was an actual newspaper, featuring news of the day, comics [indy comics!], sports & arts coverage, and of course, a book review section.
Not necessarily buried, but tucked away, in the Book section was this neat little sidebar, thankfully reproduced in the May/June issue of the Utne Reader [and posted to their website, click the link] and also represented (with commentary, & alongside a number of other photographic snippets from the SF Panorama) at Steve Rhodes’s flickr account
So You Want To Open A Bookstore featured figures from Annie Danger of Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. “Modern Times is a medium-sized independent bookstore—about 3,700 square feet, and with five part-time staffers.”
So, a small storefront bookstore with six booksellers (I’m guessing Danger didn’t count herself as part of the ‘part time’ staff) can be run with monthly operating costs of $56-57K — more than half of which is the cost of new inventory, and which dates back to November? of last year.
We could parse the numbers to figure out Modern Times rent-per-square-foot (~$20/sq.ft., actually) or the wages offered to employees (you can ball-park it, but there are too many unknowns) but that would be unfair. All bookselling is local, and while it is nice (abso-freaking lovely) to see someone else’s numbers, it doesn’t affect my expenses or the differences between our two stores and markets.
Still, very much worth a read
Questions abound around Google’s e-bookstore initiative, and Ian Paul at PC World rounds up five
This guy gets a book deal, and I don’t. Thems the breaks, I guess. I must not be snarky enough. Oh, and I write essays, instead of posting pics-and-a-gag or stuff other people write for me — my loss, twice over.
…almost on cue: oh, look, A Survival Guide to Managing Employees from Hell: Handling Idiots, Whiners, Slackers, And Other Workplace Demons (isbn 9780814474082) is one of five titles recommended to retail managers by Shari Waters, retail blogger for About.com. I need to read at least 3 of these. (Yes, even with my experience, I’m still looking for input on how to do the job better) – Waters also posted a list 10 books on how to get started in retail
How valuable are my columns on retail? Well, of course, value is subjective, but at least one firm wants to charge you $1,150 for stuff you can find on Google in a single weekend. [that, and by looking at primary sources, you can do you own analysis] — $1000 seems a bit steep, and their description of the doc is more than a little… dry. Could be any industry.
One thing I can promise: Mean spirited, condescending, self-righteous, occasionally funny (but not as often as I think I’m being “funny”), and grounded in reality — but never dry. Even when I’m numbers-heavy, I try to tell you what the numbers mean. And I’m not charging anything for it, let alone $1000.
I’ll take a book deal if anyone cares to offer one, though.