A Fine Whine About Reprinting Books

The most important thing we do every year is print a new collection. It creates a lot of excitement and a lot of sales, both online and at conferences. For many fans purchasing our newest book is the way they support Unshelved, their annual dues if you will, and we're very grateful for it. And, while it's very expensive to print several thousand books, that cost is largely offset by the initial sales, making that check mostly a joy to write.

Then, after a year or two, it's time to print more. That check is a lot harder to write. Because a reprint is not accompanied by a rush of new sales. Our backlist sales are a slow, steady trickle. It will literally be years before it pays for itself. Plus we have to store them someplace, and that costs money too. Gene and I spend weeks whining up a storm. And it's pretty darned ungrateful of us, because of course we're experiencing a classic Nice Problem To Have - we've sold out of a book and need to print more.

Anyway, we're deep in our biggest-ever reprint whine because, thanks to a variety of causes, we're reprinting not one, not two, but three of our books at once - a third printing of What Would Dewey Do?, and a second each for Library Mascot Cage Match and Book Club. It's the single largest printing bill we've ever had.

This is sounding increasingly like a prelude to begging you to buy our books. It's not - you guys have been great about that. I just know a lot of people read this blog as a sort of diary of a small business, and this is a fact of publishing life you don't hear much about. Until print-on-demand technology becomes cost-competitive, publishers simply need to invest money reprinting piles of books most of which they know won't sell for a while.

Now I'll write that check.

Our next appearances


June 22 - 25, 2018 New Orleans, LA
ALA Annual (Library COMIC booth 450) (Gene)

August 17, 2018 Palos Hills, IL
SWAN Libraries Annual Conference (Gene)

October 8, 2018 Walla Walla, WA
Walla Walla Rural Library District Staff Day (Gene)


Jan 25 - 28, 2019 Seattle, WA ALA Midwinter (Library COMIC booth) (Gene)

Check out our Full Schedule

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