Penguin going direct to consumers
Here's an interesting item from Friday. Penguin is stepping up efforts to do direct sales to consumers with an NYC-targeted marketing campaign. Ignoring the effectiveness of handing out fans in front of Grand Central Station, this seems to reflect an effort by an industry giant to diversify away from the retail industry, which has high discounts, long payment cycles, and returns often in excess of 35% on hardcover books.
I'm not sure how much this will influence other publishers, since a lot of independent publishers have been selling directly to the public for years. This is not currently a component of World Ahead's strategy, though -- the World Ahead website refers visitors to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for purchases. Besides wanting to support our corporate buyers, we realize that direct sales are difficult and costly. Storage, fulfillment, and processing are costly, and website sales conversion is always a challenge for companies who don't specialize in retail.