October 19 – October 26, 2006 Edition

LVF Pilots New

“Jumpstart” Program

to Eliminate Returns

BOSTON/NEW YORK/10/17/06—The Literary Ventures Fund, the venture-based non-profit foundation that supports the publication of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry titles, has devised a pilot program for booksellers that addresses the problem of bookstore returns while boosting LVF-backed books.

The new program, called "Jumpstart," will offer bookstores across America a deep discount of up to 60% on a non-returnable basis for titles from LVF’s partner presses.

“One of the most important factors in a good book’s continuing success is its ability to quickly reach readers, explained Jim Bildner, Chairman of Literary Ventures Fund.”Our experience suggests that, too often, the economic realities on publishers and distributors limit the necessary resources to successfully jumpstart these books, and keep them moving. Together with booksellers, LVF and its partners can create win/win scenarios for everyone.”

The book industry model of returnability is a growing issue of debate and concern with booksellers. The unpopular policy often sees a return rate to publishers of 35% or more.

“Returnability is necessary as the industry is structured now, but it would behoove all of us to move to a pricing model that would allow us to stop this inefficient practice,” says Chris Morrow, owner of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont. “Any experiment that helps booksellers and publishers find the sweet spot of discount balanced with non-returnability is valuable. I commend LVF for their efforts.”

“It is still the person to person exchange of the bookseller placing a book into the hands of a reader that propels good books into the community,” said Zachary Marcus, Director of Strategic Marketing for LVF. “Having spent a number of years in independent bookselling, I know the tough decisions that confront great bookstores. Too often the economics force stores to limit their buy of a good book to one or two copies, when they want to do more. This reality limits the break-through potential of good books.”

“When Zach first approached me at NEIBA [New England Independent Booksellers Association], I was immediately drawn to the concept and placed an order upon returning to my store,” said Eric Wilska, owner of The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and a past NEIBA President and board member. “Finally! A way to circumvent the lunacy of the buy/return model.”

LVF, which helps fund various aspects of book publication–from printing or marketing to the development of innovative ways to sell books, says it can help keep a book on bookstore shelves for one or two years, as opposed to the typical industry norm of 8 to-10-weeks.

“We hope this new pilot program will be just one of many that we can use to help solve some of publishing’s systemic problems,” said LVF’s Bildner.

Since its inception in January 2006, LVF has helped fund publication of nine books, and it expects it will select another nine more titles soon. Though the amount of backing varies form project to project, the company has been known to spend in excess of $10,000 or more to help keep a book title in stores.

Authorlink will feature a more in-depth story about the LVF model in early November.