Saving Jobs, Saving Trees, One Galley at a Time …

By Jeff Rivera Comment


Hey Publishers!
Wanna save over $1.5 million a year, and every year after that, save the environment and editors’ jobs while you do it? Why not switch from from mailing out paper galleys to digital galleys or digiarcs?

“But we can’t,” you say, “we’ve tried that already and it didn’t work so well.” (Can anyone say, NetGalley?)

NetGalley is a brilliant concept. Why has it not caught on as well as it could have? (I wouldn’t quite count NetGalley out yet, not yet. Rumor has it, new changes are coming that might fix the kinks.)

Maybe the concern stems from the fact that many reviewers don’t want to read books on their computer screen. They want to curl up in bed and read their books. And not enough reviewers have e-readers like Kindle 2.0, Sony eReader, eSlick, or BeBooks. Why? Because they can’t afford to pay rent, let alone pop out an extra $350 for a Kindle. So publishers, what do you do?

Let’s face it, all the major publishers are pretty much sending their galleys out to the same reviewers year after year. That’s why, if the reviewers’ offices are anything like mine, they have a good stack of 100-150 books coming in every week (no exaggeration) from every major, mini-major and independent publisher.

This is where the “saving the $1.5 million a year” comes in to play. If all the publishers are sending their galleys to the same 1000 reviewers, why don’t they send everyone an eReader.

“But (gasp) Jeff, that would cost too much money!”

Would it? Would it, really?

Let’s examine the costs:

1000 reviewers
x $3/galley
x $1/ U.P.S. mailing cost
x 375 titles/year
$1.5 million /year

That’s $1.5 million a year the average major publisher is spending printing and mailing out to the same 1000 reviewers every year.

Now, let’s examine how much it would cost to mail each reviewer all a Kindle, including shipping costs.

1000 reviewers
x $400 /Kindle
x $0 / galley
x $0 / U.P.S. galley mailing costs
x 375 titles/year

That’s $400,000 the first year and not one penny more year after year.

So, publishers you’re saving $1.1 million the first year and $1.5 million every year by sending every reviewer a Kindle.

Don’t want to spend $400,000 on an “experiment”? How about spending $80,000 and getting the same results?

How is that? A few years ago competing movie studios knew there was a problem. They were spending too much money on producing physical film prints of their movies and shipping them to the same movie theaters. So, what did they do? They all banded together to form digital film organizations and each movie studio chipped in to purchase digital projectors for the thousands of movie theaters that would have them.

Imagine if the competing major publishers banded together, or God-forbid the mini-major publishers banned together and split costs on sending the same 1000 reviewers their own eReaders. They could reduce the cost of the “experiment” and each of them could save over $1.4 million the first year and every year after that.

Truth be told, if they all banded together to purchase, 1000 eReaders, do you not think that Kindle or Sony eReader would give them a reduced price for purchasing such a large number of eReaders in bulk?

So, what can you do with an extra $1.5 million dollars a year (besides buying 1.5 million 99 cents Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers at Wendy’s)?

How about saving an extra 25 editors’ jobs. If each editor is making $60,000/year including insurance, etc. that is over 25 editors’ jobs you can save. That’s 25 jobs per publishing house, by the way.

How about investing the million dollars back into promoting the books you’ve acquired and hiring more publicists at your house so they are no longer over-worked and underpaid? That way they can spend more time promoting the books you’ve acquired?

Just some food for thought …

Jeff Rivera is the author of Forever My Lady and founder of