Monday, July 19, 2010

physical inventory risk

We learned the phrase "physical inventory risk" last week from someone in the music business. It describes why, in the current industry-wide economic downturn, many record labels won't gamble on artistically worthy but commercially uncertain projects: because of the probability ("risk") they'll end up with unsold goods ("physical inventory," e.g., CDs) sitting on distributor and retailer shelves. Rather than commit (again, "risk") financial resources to marginal productions, they trim existing catalog and/or keep the release schedule lean.

While this is a regrettable state of affairs for niche markets and the artistically adventurous, from a business standpoint, it's understandable and fiscally prudent.

We bring this up because Fantagraphics Books, publisher of our three Flora anthologies (The Mischievous Art, 2004; The Curiously Sinister Art, 2007; and The Sweetly Diabolic Art, 2009), recently informed us that stock is low on the first two books and they will not be reprinted. This is a situation over which we, as authors, have no control. The economics of publishing make reprints of limited-market titles prohibitive. You may think Flora is a world-renowned artist whose legacy is commercially indisputable. (If so, we agree.) But to the broader public, Flora remains largely unknown, a cult figure.

So be advised: if you've been meaning to buy our Flora books but have delayed purchasing, you're running out of time on the first two books. They will eventually be available only on the secondary market at collector's prices:

As of this writing, new and used copies of Curiously Sinister are still available at reasonable prices. Mischievous is becoming scarce and prices are trending upwards. New copies of our most recent book, Sweetly Diabolic, remain in stock.

No comments: