Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Would You Buy Book Insurance?

It seems like you can get insurance for almost anything – auto, smartphone, home, boat and travel – to protect you against losing your investment.  We even have insurance for insurance companies. What if authors or publishers can purchase book insurance?

Publishers or authors invest thousands of dollars to acquire, edit, format, print, market and promote a book.  They believe they are making smart decisions or taking reasonable risks – or they wouldn’t do what they do.  But what if they make a mistake, double down and take a big hit? What if ego or something else clouded their judgment?

Maybe it’s time for authors or publishers to get book insurance. No one sells it and it may never be available, but could it work under certain circumstances?

Authors, more than publishers, can’t afford to take too much of a risk when putting out a book. Some raise funds through sponsors, loans, investors, or crowdfunding sites, but the vast majority pay out of their pockets.  Authors have their business senses clouded by their ego and personal belief in their writing.  Let’s just say they are quite biased when it comes to judging the commercial value of the books they pen.

Many publishers will only publish a book if they are convinced they’ll make their expenditures up with book sales, rights sales and publicity for their line of books. If they had insurance to mitigate or remove the prospect of taking a loss, they’d be more willing to publish other kinds of books that are worthy of publication but may not appear to be commercial locks.

On the other hand, maybe authors, and publishers need to force themselves to make tough decisions of what to publish or bankroll, otherwise they’ll just print anything and everything without a real concern for finding quality books that are worth publishing.

Should we have insurance for consumers of books, or retailers of books?  Really, everyone could benefit from some kind of insurance.  Consumers, in order to chance reading the works of new authors, would feel better if they could be compensated if a book sucks.  Bookstores, especially small indies, need to use their shelf space wisely and could use a back-up plan should they not sell as many books as they hoped.

On the other hand, books are an interesting business model.  They offer a lottery ticket to publishers, authors, and retailers.  You never know which book will take off and sell tons of copies. Maybe that’s the insurance we have to make up for books that fall short in the marketplace.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 © 2016

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