The Gray Lady finally gets on the case, with reporter Julie Bosman speaking to an unnamed publishing executive. “The publishers are going to end up taking a huge loss,” says this executive. Also quoted in the article is Grove/Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin, who simply says, “It’s a mess” and who is reported as now being in something of a mad scramble. Entrekin has nothing more to say beyond these three words.
Okay, so the publishers aren’t talking (or at least going on the record with journalists). But I must quibble with this publishing executive’s asinine suggestion that “authors and readers were unlikely to be affected by the bankruptcy filing.” With AMS currently incapable of paying off their creditors, with a pennies-on-the-dollar turnaround at best, and with current AMS stock now being extricated from warehouses, it’s very likely you won’t be seeing independent books in stores anytime soon, until the publishers left in the lurch work out alternative distribution methods or guaranteed ways to earn current revenue. So readers looking for something different from, say, Laurell K. Hamilton and Mitch Albom are going to start seeing a difference.
And let’s consider the publishers, who are now in the process of bearing the financial brunt in ways that may very well go unreported. With reduced revenue coming in, it is unlikely that the affected publishers are going to be paying out advances to authors as they struggle to meet their operating expenses. Authors who are writing quirky or experimental books that don’t sell as well as the blockbusters often must go to independent presses to get their work published. But if the independent presses are hurting, then advances and acquiring new titles may be the least of the indie publishers’ cost concerns as this mess gets sorted out.
This morning, Publishers Weekly reported grimmer news, noting that the bankruptcy court is now in the process of granting the publishers access to the inventory. At the moment, access is now at the discretion of Judge Sontchi. A creditors committee meeting is now set for January 12, but with the creditors committee being comprised of the 20 largest creditors (i.e., the big publishers), it remains to be seen whether the precarious financial condition of indie presses will be taken into account by the committee.
Heidi MacDonald observes this morning that it remains unknown what distribution percentage Dark Horse had with PGW.