Sometimes cool ideas crystalize at cocktail parties.
At the ABC-CLIO reception on Saturday night, publisher Becky Snyder and I built what might be a long overdue concept.
It all started when Becky asked if I knew what portion of the cost of publishing of book went into marketing, specifically catalog production and direct mail. I admitted that I hadn’t really thought about it. I forgot the exact percentage Becky shared, but it was huge.
I also admitted that I likely toss more than half the beautiful print catalogs I received, though I’ve always felt guilty about that stunning waste.
But what if we had one clearinghouse, in the form of an attractive destination portal (perhaps a Ning or other type of social network) for all the catalogs relevant to school or public library purchasing?
How about a CatalogCentralNetwork?
A place where publishers and jobbers might load pdf copies of their catalogs and also offer new title alerts, coupons, discounts, promotions, customer testimonials, questions. It might also offer sample chapters, the occasional free ebook, bookmarks, clipart, and more. That portal might link to company websites. It might embed book and video-related media and RSS feeds to reviews from review journals.
And if that portal hosted polls, those polls might ask questions of the librarian market. It might also ask librarians to volunteer for the online rather than print distribution of catalog content.
That portal just might save publishers much of the substantial cost of producing unused catalogs and potentially offer more purchasing power to librarians. That portal might represent our profession, and the wonderful publishing industry that serves us, as a bit more green.
I wonder if I have any readership among publishers and whether anyone in the industry might be willing to lead in the creation of a collaborative CatalogCentralNetwork.