Tuesday, June 09, 2009

More on BEA 2009

One of the biggest changes I noticed at BEA this year was fewer galleys. Far fewer galleys. Fewer titles in galley form to give away, and fewer of the galleys that were being given away.

Take a look at this picture from the Harper booth:

In years past that floor would have PILES of books.

Seriously, there were NO books here

This year what they are handing out are electronic galleys:

I understand it makes economic sense to hand out e-galleys. I also know that I haven't even looked past those two cards yet but I've dipped into almost every other book I snagged at BEA.

When you're trying to entice someone to buy something, a free sample and a coupon are not the same thing. E-galleys are like coupons. Galleys are like bites of cake in the supermarket aisle. I'm much more likely to buy a cake if I've tasted it than if I have a coupon for a dollar off.

Unless of course the cake looks like this:

(lifted from one of my favorite blogs CakeWrecks)


Margaret Yang said...

Can you read e-galleys on a Kindle, or only a computer? How, exactly, are they "given" out?

Laurel said...

I saw this trend in textbook publishing a couple of years ago. When I started, a faculty member would ask for a free book and I sent it. Then we started comparing what they taught with the titles they requested and if things didn't match up all they got was the TOC, index, and an offer of a very good faculty discount. Eventually, we started pushing eBook 30 day access codes for book review. People who'd been getting free books for twenty years didn't like it much, but it drastically reduced company cost on comp copies and shipping.

I've no idea if it would impact mainstream books as much as textbook publishing but cutting back on all the free copies also helped sell-through. There were people getting all the free books they could and then selling them new on eBay for less than the new list price at a bookstore. Needless to say, that seriously hurt my numbers since eBay doesn't report their book sales.

Free milk, cows, and all that stuff.

Anonymous said...

I guess an e-galley makes great economic sense, but it's so not as enticing as a *real* book.

Gilbert J. Avila said...

I've heard of "bundt" cakes, but--"butt" cakes???

none said...

That's the problem with e-stuff. It's so easy to set it aside and forget about it. My TBR pile of physical books reminds me of its existence daily...ebooks just sit silently on my phone.