Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About P and L Statements But Were Afraid To Ask

April 25th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Anna Genoese, she of Tor and Anna Louise’s blog, has written of those things that makes our black little heart race: an article on how books do (or don’t) make money. You know it’s a going to be good when the first thing you read about is P&L statements. All we can say is that we hope there’s a royalty calculation in there somewhere…just for fun!

Seriously, she lays out the whole thing: all those little costs that people forget about (ah, freight, we know you well). The cover wars — a bad cover can cost you in pre-ordered copies. And trade discounts and co-op (though she spells it “coop”. Which we can forgive because we’re giddy about this article. This article should be everyone’s number one keeper.)

Oh, we can go on and on, but we know you want to read (and save) this for yourself. And finding just one favorite quote is almost impossible. Thus, we cheat, and grab something random. Because we can. Also we’re late and should be on the freeway about a half hour ago.

Also, a small note (jumping ahead a little) — mass market paperbacks that don’t sell used to get stripped and pulped — their covers torn off and the insides made into goo. Now, or so I am told, the whole book is destroyed. Usually, by the time this happens, the bookseller has already paid for the book. So the bookseller returns an affadavit (formerly known as “the book’s cover”) to the publisher’s warehouse, and receives a credit, good for use on any other books, instead of paying with cash, and the book is counted as a “return” — even though it doesn’t get returned and it can’t be shipped out again. This doesn’t happen to hardcovers.

File Under: The Business of Publishing