By Edward Nawotka
At BookBrunch, Preface publisher Trevor Dolby challenges publishers to use the economic crisis as an opportunity to reassess the conventional publishing contract, one he suggests isn’t so different from the credit default swaps that got us into this mess. “Author advances are the original no-doc mortgages. They base their lending decision on nothing more than a feeling that the author is good for the money.” His suggestion is something closer, though not exactly the same as the one used in the record business, where all expenses — from production to marketing — are covered in a contract and then royalties start to accrue. Bob Miller at HarperStudio offered his thumbs up.
In the UK, auditors for Borders UK have suggested that the company’s future may be at risk. According to The Bookseller, accountants Ernst & Young reported the “retailer said its losses increased by 36% from £9.9m to £13.5m. Turnover marginally increased by one per cent from £215.0m to £218.2m,” for the year ended February 8, 2008. Considering this was last year, before the financial crisis fully hit, it’s only logical to assume the situation at the company looks even bleaker now — something that’s not likely news to the managers who bought the company last month. The Financial Times also looks at the numbers.