Found this on a forum. In the time of recession the first casualties are the small guys. Although the common sense says that the first casualties should be the big guys - small guys don't have investors on their backs pushing for growth at all costs, they are more flexible and adaptable to situations and so on. But the fact remains that all the systems are build for the advantage of big guns and it is with great difficulty that individuals or small publishers make their way in. So when the crunch time comes, they are the first ones to be thrown off the boat.
So the question arises - how do we build a recession proof distribution channel for the individual authors? Of course Amazon is already one option but how can we go beyond Amazon? And what about a country like India where digital divide is so huge - how can we use all the technology at our disposal and make publishing/books available to those who don't have access to it and miss it the most?
We've seen something devastating to small pubs happen here in Canada in the last month: Chapters / Indigo, the largest chain in the country (includes Coles and others) has removed any time limit that they have to return unsold books to distributors. For distributors who deal with small or independents, this is disastrous, because if Indigo returns a book 10 years from now, the distributor has to try and return the book to the publisher. If they bought the book from a self-publishing author, that's sometimes impossible. This means that many distributors are dropping self-pubs from their rosters altogether to avoid the cost overhead. (One of my authors was dropped a week before Christmas, just before we launched a huge online marketing campaign.) This means that self-publishing authors are now almost eliminated from the "normal" book-selling channel here in Canada, and will be forced to rely on Amazon as their retailer in almost all cases. I help all my authors with things like on-line direct sales, and affiliate programs, but the traditional channels are a major publicity outlet, if not a huge profit outlet. Indigo's policy stinks anyway - who could be helped by that except Indigo themselves? It's creating an elitist book market.
Something to chew on. Ideas are welcome. Execution, more so.