Comments on: The Future of Books Property - Prosperity - Peace Mon, 10 Nov 2014 01:14:29 +0000 hourly 1 By: Geoffrey Allan Plauché Tue, 15 Nov 2011 20:14:47 +0000 The origin of the current wasteful publisher/brick-and-mortar bookstore relationship is also interesting. The strip-and-return system has its origin in the Great Depression (thanks Fed!).

Publishers wanted to encourage booksellers to buy more books and take a chance on unknown authors, so they stupidly started allowing stores to return unsold inventory for a refund. This system became entrenched and publishers became stuck producing massive print runs. The tendency to gamble on publishing and stocking potential blockbusters is tied in with this.

What the booksellers do — with paperbacks at least — is strip the covers, return those for the refund, and recycle the book bodies. Book prices factor in this waste. I think it’s something like one hardback is priced to pay for two, one paperback for three. Because so many are not sold. Sometimes, before being destroyed, a book will go back and forth between store shelves and warehouses in a purchase, return, purchase, return cycle until it is finally sold or destroyed. Lots of transportation and storage waste there in the interim.

This system has hurt small presses and indie and self-publishers because booksellers often insist on this strip-and-return policy and they often can’t afford it. And the small indie bookstores can’t afford gamble on large inventories of books and to wait on refunds on the inevitable returns. So you get that concentration of power in a relatively small number of big publishers and bookstore chains.

Thankfully, the rise of POD and ebook publishing is disrupting this wasteful, cartelizing system.

By: Stephan Kinsella Tue, 15 Nov 2011 15:22:52 +0000 This also highlights a shallowness in much of the left-libertarian criticism of corporations, who imply that profits are not earned, or are so easy to earn. The truth is that the state’s depredations–taxes, regulations, inflation, etc.–add untold costs onto businesses, making the line between bankruptcy and success even more precarious. Suppose the costs imposed by the state on the economy, consumers, and business, were cut in half. Borders probably would not have gone bankrupt as it could have absorbed more easily the cost of its mistakes.

By: Chris Rossini Mon, 14 Nov 2011 04:09:30 +0000 This is yet another example of the tragedy of central banking. The Federal Reserve created the environment for these investment errors to occur.

It’s also an example of how important it is to understand the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. Had the Borders management understood what was happening, they could have anticipated better than they obviously did.