Sunday, November 10, 2013

K-Mart’s Publishing Model Is Both Great & Horrible

Maybe those in the publishing world need the K-Mart mindset to succeed. No, I don’t mean publishing should discount its way to the bank, nor should it sell junk. But publishing needs to toughen up.

K-Mart announced recently that it will be open at 6:00am on Thanksgiving Day and not close until Black Friday is over. This 40-hour or so marathon is a desperate money-grab attempt -- or is it just smart, hardnosed business?

K-Mart, on the one hand is looking to win over customers that it believes are in the hunt for a bargain during the height of the shopping season. It may feel it is even meeting a customer need by making itself open all day on a national holiday, helping people to avoid their families and insist on a time to reflect on being thankful. It may feel like it’s doing its workers a favor, by giving out more work hours at minimum wage levels. I can hear a collective “thank you” now.

I believe K-Mart represents the worst in our consumeristic mindset. We need to be stopped from our own addiction to buying. The government should ban all retailers from being open on Thanksgiving Day, but even if that were to happen, some would be lured to shop online. You can always place an order on Amazon if talking to grandma bores you, right?

But maybe there’s something about K-Mart’s killer attitude that’s missing from book publishing. Publishers need to work around the clock to sell books. They need to get more involved in the retail side. And they need to embrace K-Mart ruthlessness into their tactics.

Many in publishing are freelancers, part-timers, even hobbyists. It needs to arm itself with sharks and aggressive people who market books like car dealers peddle their product. The problem with publishing is many of those who work in the industry love and respect books to the point they put all of their efforts into producing a perfect book, but all too often they miss deadlines, have cost over-runs, and give the marketing of a book little consideration and few resources.

What’s the point in publishing a book that is given little or no marketing support? It’s like birthing a child but not doing what it takes to raise him or her.

Publishers, do it the K-Mart way. Instead of failing to market a great book, focus on marketing your books, even inferior ones, K-Mart not only sells lower-end products (as well as decent ones), it makes every effort to market those products to consumers -- regardless of the merits.

While publishers spend a day of leisure this Thanksgiving Day, K-Mart executives are laughing at them, wondering why the intellects are not following the lead of a successful business. While publishers fatten up on football, turkey, and conversations with relatives, K-Mart is setting the pace for the new cut-throat capitalistic model that publishers and others must embrace in order to survive in this dog-eat-dog world.

Publishers certainly need to boost their marketing efforts but if they or others turn into K-Mart, we’ll all be a little bankrupt for it.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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