Unfortunately, due to the latest regulations that have now come into effect as a result of the Brexit ‘deal’, it is now too difficult and expensive for us to ship books outside the UK. We will continue to monitor the situation; as and when some semblance of sense returns we may be able to resume international shipping (but don’t hold your breath – we’d need a new government that isn’t mindlessly xenophobic).
In the meantime, we are advising our non-UK customers to obtain our books from international or larger retailers who are able to manage the excessive bureaucracy.
As a result of the combined stupidity of Brexit and tragedy of Covid-19, alongside the concomitant shortages caused by the supply chain crisis, the escalating costs of paper, ink and shipping has meant that our printers are having to charge us significantly more than they were even 2 years ago. Like many indie publishers, we use printers with digital presses so that we don’t need to print and store thousands of copies of each title in advance – but that also means that each time we print a copy of a book for sale the production cost may well have increased.
When we launched Elsewhen Press, we chose to price our print editions at £9.99. That was generally considered to be a reasonable price for a trade paperback, and was recommended as having a psychological advantage because it is (just) below £10 – although I’ve never been convinced how true that is! For most of our books, that meant that we could earn a little income after covering the printing costs and paying the author their royalties. Over the last ten years we have been determined to keep to that price, to the point that for some titles we now lose money for every copy sold through retailers.
This is now getting to the point where it is unsustainable for us, so we have to address this problem, or stop producing print editions of our books. As you can see from the above, there are two ways to try to manage this problem: reduce the production cost and/or increase the cover price.
We have been looking at ways to reduce the production cost of our books. This has meant that we have started to use POD printers for our newest titles, and changed the trim size of our books from 215x135mm to 203x127mm (which is apparently the most popular size for paperbacks, anyway). Apart from slightly lower printing costs for some of our titles, this also means that the sales and distribution is now handled directly by the POD service rather than by us, and our titles can become available in retailers that previously eschewed our books. For example, if you look for our latest titles on Amazon you will see that the paperback edition is shown as ‘In Stock’ and available for delivery within a day or two directly from Amazon – what’s more Amazon can offer customers far better shipping terms than we ever could. We also now use the Ingrams POD service, which means that our new titles are now available through Barnes & Noble and other retailers in the US and elsewhere, as well as in UK bookshops through the wholesaler Gardners, so even if readers don’t want to buy from Amazon they can get our books through most good indie bookstores.
The result is that in many cases we have been able to keep the list price to £10, although for longer books we now have to price some of them at £11 or £12. Obviously, if the costs keep escalating as some commentators predict, we may have to increase the cover price of all of our books again. Meanwhile, we will gradually be moving our backlist titles over to the new POD services and trim sizes, which should make them all more readily available to potential readers.
We regret to have to announce that we are currently unable to ship our books to countries within the EU as a result of the stupidity of Brexit. Our titles are all still available as eBooks in EU countries.
We should have been sitting in a nice room in Glasgow at the Satellite 7 convention, about to listen to David Craig talk about and read from his latest novel Lord of the Hunt, the second book in his Sooty feathers series.
But thanks to COVID-19 we’re still here in Kent, David is in Glasgow (because that’s where he lives) and Satellite 7 has been postponed until next February.
But, hopefully, everyone who should also have been in Glasgow today for the convention would still like to hear about David’s book and hear a reading from it.
David used his permitted daily exercise to walk to one of the locations used in the story, which is not far from his home, as a backdrop to his reading. We hope you enjoy it.
You can watch the video on our YouTube channel here
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect everyone, in oh so many ways. 🙂
For us, the most immediate impact has been that we have not been able to attend conventions or hold book launches. However, we organised a virtual launch event for the four books that we were supposed to be ‘launching’ at Eastercon (see here).
But we are also self-isolating, so although we can do some of our work as usual (we generally work from home anyway) we are unable to despatch books from Elsewhen Towers. However our splendid printer is still operating and can print copies on demand, so we are able to fulfil orders for print editions by having them despatched directly by our printer. This means we can despatch orders in the UK, US and Australia, although delivery times might be a little longer than normal (but so far they have been doing a sterling job) – (see here to order print copies). But, of course, our books are all available as (virus-free) ebooks from your favourite ebook platforms (and they’re cheaper too!). So if you haven’t tried an eBook before, now would be a good opportunity. You don’t need an eReader, there are free eReading apps for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones from each of the different book retailers.
Finally, the other impact has been to disrupt our plans for forthcoming titles. We have signed up some brilliant new titles already (and are still considering some others) and editing is underway on the first of them, but with reduced time available from our personnel at the moment our pre-press production times will be longer than normal. To avoid disappointment and missed deadlines, we are refraining from announcing publication dates for the moment. But details of the books themselves will soon be appearing on our website.
While we all prepare for an uncertain future, as Gaia fights back against humanity’s mismanagement of the planet, we need to make some plans and cancel others. We are lucky, here at Elsewhen Press, that we mostly work from home anyway; and spending much of our time with writers and artists we are used to dealing with social isolation 😉
As we have mentioned in previous newsletters, over the next few weeks we were planning on being at: Eastercon in Birmingham, in April; Satellite 7 in Glasgow, in May; and Cymera in Edinburgh, in June. All of those plans are now up in the air to say the least. Cymera has already been cancelled. Satellite have just announced that they’re postponing to next February. Eastercon hasn’t (yet?) been cancelled.
Already a number of our authors and readers have decided not to attend Eastercon, even if it is not officially cancelled. We were supposed to be having a launch party for four titles (Overstrike, Working Weekend, Shadow and Storm, Million Eyes) and at least two of the authors have already told us they won’t be able to attend. With the latest increase in virus activity and government advice, we are now self-isolating. We are just short of the ‘at risk’ age range, but are concerned about underlying health issues. Eastercon is now less than 3 weeks away, so we have made the decision not to attend, even if it goes ahead. This is a huge disappointment for us, our authors and (hopefully) our readers and potential readers. We have already informed the Eastercon committee.
We are investigating options for virtual book launches online and will keep you informed.
To our authors we have said: keep safe, keep writing (self-isolation is just another working day for a writer!), keep sane 🙂
To our readers we say: sorry, we are currently unable to directly fulfil orders for printed copies so we will have them fulfilled by our printer and despatched by them – which may take a little longer than usual. But, of course, our books are all available as (virus-free) ebooks from your favourite ebook platforms (and cheaper too). So if you haven’t tried an eBook before, now would be a good opportunity. You don’t need an eReader, there are free eReading apps for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones from each of the different book retailers. And keep safe.
On the Nothing in the Rulebook blog, an article was published today about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on indie publishers. It includes quotes from Galley Beggar Press, Henningham Family Press, and Elsewhen Press (yours truly).
Due to unexpected illness, neither of us is able to go to Novacon this weekend (and even if we tried, I’m sure that our readers there would not be impressed at getting a free gift of the lurgy with their books!)
We’d like to say Sorry to anyone who was hoping to buy some of our fantastic titles there.
There is currently a problem with our shopping cart – it will only accept one item at a time!
If you just want one item you can add it to the cart and checkout as normal.
For more than one item, please checkout one at a time (it’s a pain, sorry) and we will refund any excess shipping cost that the cart charges when we process your orders. We are investigating the cause as a matter of urgency with the shopping cart developers.
UPDATE (September): We appear to have fixed it now. It was caused by an interaction between the shopping cart and the cookie control plugins that both developers denied could happen!