It's summer so therefore it must be Christmas and publishers are now gearing up for their Christmas negotiations with retailers and those retailers are understood to be asking for higher sums in promotional spend, following a general pattern of a 15%–20% rise year-on-year over the past few years.
According to an article in The Bookseller magazine, Asda's top promotion price this Christmas is thought to be £70,000 on ratecard, though a spokesperson for the retailer would not confirm or deny the figure. One publisher put the overall retail spend needed to launch a top-flight Christmas title at £150,000. That's a great deal of money. Another predicted "tortuous" negotiations for the weeks ahead.
The Bookseller reports, "One sales director said market dynamics had also increased retailers' power ahead of Christmas. He said: "It looks like there are monopolies appearing on the high street and online for certain categories of books and therefore people can ask what they want. It's only if you publish the book they've got to have that you can push back." Wouldn't it be nice to have one of those!
It doesn't take much imagination to work out which authors will be featured over Christmas but it would be nice to have one or two surprises. For greater choice though it might be worth a visit to your nearest independent bookshop, where space is not paid for and where variety is the spice of life. They are also usually expert at helping you choose exactly what book Aunt Mabel might like.
And as this is Independent Bookseller's Week in the UK, what a good way to support them. It is also National Crime Fiction Week, so here I am here below signing copies of my marine mystery crime novels at my local independent bookshop: The Hayling Island Bookshop.
Crime Writer Pauline Rowson book signing.
Publishers gear up for Christmas talks: