The Associated Press reported:
In an ever-uncertain market for publishers, HarperCollins is looking to resolve two of the industry's major concerns: High author advances and the high rate of returned books.Three weeks ago, Bob Miller began a blog here. In his first post, Miller said, "The truth is, those of us who examine the excel spreadsheets at the end of every fiscal year see what is on the horizon for book publishers; we’re hanging on a cliff."
One of the early posts said:
The problems of the business are pretty clear: skyrocketing advances that only rarely earn out in sales; overly aggressive distributions that try to justify those advances but often result in massive returns; overspending on ineffective marketing to help move those overdistributed books; downward pressure on pricing from new digital formats; etc...ultimately the health of the industry is at stake, and there won't be anyone at the tables in a few years if we don't find new ways to succeed.Miller has also announced his imprint's first title: Who is Mark Twain, a collection of twenty-two pieces by Twain never published before.
So we are offering fifty percent of the profits to authors who are willing to forgo six or seven-figure advances, offering higher discounts to booksellers willing to limit returns, putting all of our marketing efforts online, and trying out new combinations of formats--however "disruptive" those combinations may seem. Because while we have no more idea of what publishing will be than anyone else does, we're willing to risk some embarrassment to find out.
I was tickled as I read Miller's posts. In the one for August 28th, announcing the Twain book, he had what was obviously a note to himself: "(post picture of book in glass case)."
Welcome to the blogosphere, Bob.