When I was getting ready to publish my first needlepoint book, I thought a lot about the economics of most book publishers. The typical book publisher does not keep most titles in print for much more than a year. If the book sells enough, the publisher does keep it in print. However, most books get one print run. If they don’t sell the run quickly enough, the book becomes remaindered and sells for a fraction of its cover price.
I get it, publishers have scarce resources & they need to expend them wisely.
But what if the information in your book is still good? What if it has not gone out of date?
At the time I looked at my bulging shelves of needlepoint books. There I found so many books that would be considered out-of-date by the publishers but were still current and valuable. I’ll only mention a few of the dozens I own: The Needlepoint Book, first edition, Bargello Magic, Needlepoint by Design, A Pageant of Patterns, the Stitches for Effect books, and on and on.
This was the reason behind my choosing to self-publish, a choice I don’t regret.
But what brings me to today’s rant is an email I got Friday from a popular consigner of needlework items. They will no longer be accepting books older than 10 years old. I don’t think there have been ANY for nearly a decade. (The current edition of The Needlepoint Book was published in 2015.) Virtually all the books have been self-published in the last several years are self-published.
As stitchers, we know that age is not necessarily the most important consideration for us. How many of us have stash canvases older than a decade old UFOs, or threads that old? Thread companies have been producing the same colors & threads for centuries and, unless the label has changed, I defy you to tell the difference between an old and new skein of Au Ver a Soie or Anchor floss.
So what’s the problem with older books? Are the stitches out of date? Is the paper falling apart after ten years? Are the diagrams so terrifically unclear? No.
We practice a timeless art, one that has been around since ancient times. We should not fall into the tyranny of the new as this consigner has.