Friday, December 15, 2023

Comic Cuts — 15 December 2023

I'm still waiting on my second proof of Beyond the Void: The Remarkable History of Badger Books, so I have no news as to when it will be available. Where it will be available on the other hand...

I spent a couple of days uploading details of many Bear Alley Books so that you can now "Buy It Now" through Ebay. I can't take pre-orders through Ebay or Amazon, but I might try and set up something that will allow everyone to order the book in time for Christmas. Life used to be a lot easier when I could set up PayPal buttons on the Bear Alley Books site. Unfortunately, since 2020, Google hasn't allowed this, and I've had to come up with various ways to get around the problem, either selling through Lulu, or through Amazon. I looked into setting up a website, but there are monthly subscription charges associated with them; the same goes for setting up a formal Shop on Ebay.

When I published the Rocket index back in April 2020, this wasn't a problem: PayPal buttons could be incorporated into the layout without any problems — and I'd like to assure everyone that they still work!

However, when I came to set up a post in precisely the same way for the two Longbow volumes in August 2020, I discovered that the buttons no longer worked — you could get them to appear on the page, but you couldn't click through to PayPal. Looking into it at the time, there were no solutions offered; discussions within the Blogger community asking Google what was going on petered out without any explanation. I looked again this week and there is still no solution offered. I'm experimenting when I get the chance, but nothing I've done so far — posting brand new buttons, reposting old buttons, repurposing old buttons — has worked.

After 12 years, you'd think I'd have a website set up for Bear Alley Books, but sales are so patchy that any sort of subscription model would end up costing me money — getting new books out so irregularly doesn't help the situation, but I'm trying to get on top of that... it's only three months since the last book (The Trials of Hank Janson) came out and I'm already in discussion about a couple of books I hope to publish next year.

If you hit the button to the left (the big EBAY button) you'll see 22 of the books I've put out. There are a few more to go, but I need to make sure I have copies to hand before I put them up. Ebay (like Amazon) doesn't like it's customers waiting because they get antsy and start complaining. That, unfortunately (there's that word again) for me, means carrying stock — and I say unfortunately, because it ties up my money in books that might not sell for six months.

Just as frustrating is to have a run on a single title; I have to order replacements, meaning I can't spread the cost of getting the books sent to me as part of a larger order. Postage is a huge problem for small publishers as costs have soared. A first class stamp cost 12p in 1980, 22p in 1990, 27p in 2000 and 41p in 2010. The price more than doubled over the next decade: in March 2020 a first class stamp rose to 76p and rose again in January 2021 to 85p. In 2022 the price rose to 95p and in 2023 to £1.10 and then to £1.25 (that a 942% increase).

Parcels have risen at a slower rate, but a 1kg parcel has gone up from £1.60 to £3.49 (+118%) and a 2kg parcel has gone up from £2.00 to £5.49 (+175%). International postage has gone into orbit!

That's enough moaning for one column. Let's end on a lighter note. The pics are a few books that I have stumbled across in my travels in the past couple of weeks. Nothing terribly exciting, but I was pleased to find both the Richard Ayoade and Joe Lycett books in close succession given their connection. (A Marvel "no prize" for anyone who knows what it is.) The other two are a pair of Penguins. Always worth picking up.

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