Friday, April 16, 2010
ANDY SOLTIS' NEW BOOK
Warning. I have nothing against his new book, Studying Chess Made Easy, it's his publisher. My experience in the past year since I opened G&L CHESS is that Batsford books (his current publisher) do not sell for me. Even Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games was a slow seller. So have been most of its other current line up, and their titles from previous years, say 5-10 years back.
I won't go into the dolts at Batsford and distributors I have dealt with in the past either in UK or NYC.
The page layouts, the cover designs seem to attract no one I know. Everyone I know loves Andy Soltis, but apparently do not love Batsford. The stodgy type, the huge rivers of space between lines of type and the less than attractive diagrams do not make me feel as if I want to read a Batsford book. Often the books are priced below the current market rates of their competitors but that is really because they use fat, pulp paper, waste lots of space, and seem to avoid any semblance of proofreading. Yet I've seen other non-chess Batsford books and they look nothing like them.
Batsford publishes books on warfare, military, movies, gardening, detectives, sports, Hollywood, etc. but most of those books are relatively attractive; many are coffee table books. I can't fathom their motives except I suspect low royalties, a lean or almost non-existent staff, poor book recommendations, and in the end, a production which is amateurish; yet the profit margin is high when they succeed!?!? That is still "getting screwed" by someone who wants your money.
As I said Feb. 1, 2009, in the Godiva of Chess catalogs... I want to sell the Best books. When I discover they really aren't the best (at much anything), I drop them. "Best" can include many attributes, with two of them being desire and usefulness.
I have not read Andy's book but, as usual, I expect it to be good and different than the usual range of Batsford twaddle. When I have slow sellers sitting on my shelves, it's depressing. Batsford isn't alone, but, it is the worst. I wish they would get out of the chess business.