Predictability is something most of us would like but it isn’t happening and I think, with regards to the chess business, I know why.
Chess Strategy for the Club Player, at least for the moment, is out of print, probably permanently. I talked with my supplier and she said it sold well. But even in that brief sentence there is a lot of hidden possibilities. One possible one is “it sold well after the “Attacking Chess for Club Players” was announced but it is possible sales were flagging after 7 years before that! Few look at the whole picture because things are kept hidden from us… it might affect profitability.
Sellers like us, and publishers (like NIC) know that the public likes New, NEW, and more NEW. So sometimes titles are allowed to languish and die. Oops, and then when a follow up title is announced, by the same author, it causes a reverse reaction.
I try to subscribe people to my newsletters (and everyone in the newsletter business tells me that is a rough row to hoe) but the vast majority just look at ANY newsletter as an attempt to fleece wallets. I proclaim, totally untrue. The work I put into all newsletters have a value many times that of the subscription rate but as two people have recently told me, “I don’t pay for subscriptions. Period.” I looked one up and found “Apparently he doesn’t buy books either!” He was disingenuous (a liar).
The other was from someone who does buy books, but the reason I push newsletters is that they are the most economical way to keep everyone informed. Take this blog for example, I could be working on my new catalog instead of writing this stuff. As it is, only 30 or so people even bother to read the Blog! The catalog will be read by a lot more and I need catalog sales to prop up the usefulness of The Chess Butler.
Amazon was founded on credit.
Bilking suppliers of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of payments while they were putting their computer operations and warehouses together. They still have books of ours which have not been paid for or returned because they pay when they sell! Well, isn’t that just nice? Bezos wants to go to the moon or Mars or someplace, instead of to his 5 warehouses and pay past due bills. He found people will wait for the “trustworthy” Amazon but not for the little guy…because he can get away with it. The DOJ lets him get away with this but fines Apple $400 million because they believed the big and deep pockets of Apple were “pickable” when it came to price fixing (there was no price fixing, no one was making anyone buy from Apple). Uncle Sam is hard to fight, they have unlimited time, staff, and dollars on their side plus Jeffy owns the Washington Post and still has those unpaid bills outstanding which no one is concerned about!
In summary, there are explanations for most everything, but we can’t choose which ones are true. There are people who will vote for Hillary no matter how duplicitous she is because they hate the Donald so much. If the Republicans were running someone (a female let’s say) other than Mr. Trump, that person would be a shoe in. If my Dad were alive even he would vote for a Republican (I am neither, I voted for Ross Perot when he ran).
SOLUTION: If you see a good book get it while it is available and don’t wait for a “deal” down the slope. CJS Purdy lost a shipment of books by ship 75 years ago. But more recently, Pergamon lost a big shipment of books in the London river. S— happens. Bob Woodworth told me that chess publishers preferred to publish opening books because they sell better and they can print perhaps 7,000 of them instead of the 3,000 Thinkers’ Press used to publish. He said GM Mednis told him this.
It is all super convoluted and more complicated than any woman of my experience! In the main, for most people, CHESS BOOKS AREN’T THAT EXPENSIVE. It’s the nickel and diming of new books constantly that causes the problems and no one knows that better than we do, as we buy in quantity and our suppliers buy 10 times more than we do!
Watch for the New in Chess catalog coming out soon from us, perhaps 100 listings–mostly very good books to gorge on.
Bob & Little Jack
P.S. It’s OK to comment on Blogs, what is your experience level?