I have a bias against the publishing industry (and not due to Fifty Shades of Grey, actually.) lasting well over a decade. And while there’s a big part of me that would love to be acknowledged by a publishing house that I’ve got some story-weaving skills, there’s one thing that stops me from being completely gung ho.
Once upon a time, a great many moons ago (something like 13 years) I worked at a bookstore. A nationwide retailer. I learned a horrible secret.
You know how books have something in the first few pages about how if one received this book without a cover, it’s considered stolen, and the author never got its due?
Yeah. If there is too many copies of a certain book that goes over the store’s listed inventory, for whatever reason, the book gets pulled, the covers “stripped,” and then it is placed in a trash bag to be delivered to a dumpster.
Maybe I’m secretly way more anti-Nazi than I thought, because whenever I was assigned the job of stripping books, I died a little inside.
Why, I wondered, could they not donate them to establishments like libraries, hospitals or prisons? So wasteful in so many ways. Frankly, as an author, I would rather my novels not be wasted. Why waste the paper, the effort of shipping and stocking, just for someones work to end up in the trash? I realize that is the whole premise of a bookstore, to have a variety of works available, but to just throw them away?
To me, that’s fucked up.
So I went with publish on demand.
And I’m way okay with that. If someone buys my books, I’d hope they’d pass it along rather than toss it. Or if they had to destroy it, let it be a matter of survival. Survival is good. I’ve even seen an edible survival book.