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Melville House
Publishing books of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and liking it.
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Melville House 3h
We’re LIVE with , reading from his new novel Big Giant Floating Head
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Jim Taylor 4h
Replying to @MobyLives
Can confirm this is accurate from my experience working there. Whatever head office says, Waterstones' buying has steadily become more and more centralised over the last 10 years, and continues in that direction.
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Steve Rhodes 4h
As showed, it took a lot more than printing a PDF to publish the mass market paperback of the Mueller Report
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Steve Rhodes 4h
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Michael Reynolds 3h
Replying to @MobyLives
Dennis, as always, we indie publishers are indebted to you for voicing this perspective and sharing these cautionary tales. We have to be on our guard at all times and this thread reminds us of a few the reasons why.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @reynoldsmichael
As is usually right, I'll end this with his possibility of hope. Certainly the news that 650 bookstores will not disappear from the landscape is a step in the right direction. Kids need to see books in the world more than ever. I just hope they get to see ours.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
15/ So how to process it all? The fact is, as editions publisher says, "Nobody was benefiting from the recent struggles of Barnes & Noble ... Something needed to happen ..."
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
14/ His recognition, too, that atmosphere is important, that merchandise shouldn't dominate the core product, that every store doesn't need to be 40K square feet, all contributed greatly to Waterstones’ revival. And he’s says he's bringing those ideas here
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
13/ On the other hand, it should be noted as well that James Daunt has sampled strategies at Waterstones based on his background as an indie retailer that seem smart to me, and more sensitive to local sensibilities.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
12/ Also, enough with the consolidation already.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
11/ Waterstones employees have suffered under hedge fund ownership, too.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
11/ Waterstones denies it does this nowadays by saying it gives stores increased autonomy (see link), but in reality, while stores may have more say-so over displays, say, the practice of mostly centralized buying continues.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
10/ Like B&N, Waterstones also practices centralized buying - someone in London HQ, for instance, decides which novels every store in the chain will carry. Centralized buying is based not on logic but maximizing margins.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
9/ It’s a model that means Waterstones simply doesn’t stock, or orders ridiculously small quantities, of books by indie publishers or university presses. We're talking single- or double-digit numbers if any. Meanwhile requisite discounting has increased.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
8/ Also giving me pause is that integral to Waterstones' revival has been its adoption of the bestseller model. That’s a partnership with big publishing and an embrace of homogeneity. And it’s the same model B&N embraced w something more like a death grip.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
7/ Which is what gives me pause about Elliott Advisors buying B&N. After all, this is happening just after Elliott bought another huge retailer, Waterstones itself. What’s more, Waterstones has been making “brutal” cuts …
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
6/ See, hf’s make money not by growing each acquisition's business but by adding MORE acquisitions & downsizing them. Each still makes money but now costs less to run, increasing its value. Then you can sell it all for more than you paid, as Perseus did.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @melvillehouse
5/ But Perseus had no distribution experience & it summarily fired lots of people who did – such as at the warehouse. was nearly bankrupted when Perseus lost an entire shipment of our books (4k books) in what we came to call the “where-house”
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @MobyLives
4/… which then almost immediately bought another distributor, PGW. Meaning that in short order, a hedge fund had taken over something like 80% or American independent publishing.
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Dennis Johnson 5h
Replying to @melvillehouse
3/ And indeed, my own experience with a hedge fund was bruising. It occurred when ’s then-distributor, Consortium, was bought by the left-leaning hedge fund Perseus …
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