January 5th, 2009

books in a stack

"Trim size" takes on new meaning in the biz

In book publishing, "trim size" means the physical size of a book after it has come off the press and been "trimmed"— cut on all three sides (except the spine) so the pages have a nice even appearance. According to a New York Times article, it's not just the books that are getting trimmed. Publishers, like other business people these days, are cutting back on sales meetings, travel to conferences, all sorts of similar bennies once enjoyed by folks in the book biz. Literary agent Amanda Urban had an interesting comment:

Ms. Urban said some of the more lavish practices could not be sustained by a slow-growth, low-margin industry that can’t charge luxury prices. “Books can only support a certain retail price,” she said. “It’s not like you have books that can be Manolo Blahniks and books that can be Cole Haan. Books are books. A book by James Patterson costs the same as a book by some poet.”

Maybe that's why I like books? They're very egalitarian. But anyway, it's better than cutting staff (although they're doing that, too) or not buying books from authors (also doing that to a lesser extent).

Still holding out hope for a good 2009 . . .

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