Episode 254 – The Wondersmith

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Fitz-James O’Brien kicks off the evil toys genre with some serious malignancy – it’s The Wondersmith!

Thanks to our reader C.S. Humble!

We’ll be back in May with some ROBERT E. HOWARD!!

Post Comment One comment on “Episode 254 – The Wondersmith

  • Sciguy on

    As a guy who works in the book business, the main obstacle for why book stores, and media stores in general, have trouble stay afloat isn’t really the customer base, it’s the shipping costs. You have 2 basic issues.

    First, the sale-to-weight ratio. Shipping costs are calculated partially from the physical dimensions of the shipping piece, but primarily from the weight of the carton to be shipped. If you have a 60 lbs box that only contains 60 sellable items, a lot of your margin on the books gets eaten by shipping costs. If you by for $7 and sell for $10 (a 30% retail discount is fairly common), then paying $1 per book for shipping eats a third of your margin.

    Second, it’s the source of the product you’re ordering. If you don’t have an all-inclusive distributor, you have to order 20 books from one place, 50 from another, and 40 from one more. If they were all coming from one place, that’s about 2 full “mixed” cartons. If you’re ordering from 3 different publishers, that’s at least 3 partially filled cartons, maybe 3 partials and one full. The more cartons you ship, the greater your shipping costs balloons. If you have a distributor, you save a lot on shipping, but then the way the margins work changes a lot.

    And of course, since you have to pay for the books before you can sell them (typically, anyway), every book sitting on a shelf is a loss until you sell it, so keeping a good stock and selection is detrimental to your store unless you can sell through them. Anyone into self-publishing knows how hard it is to get a book into a Barnes & Noble and that’s why. So yeah, operating a small mom & pop book store can be really rough.

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