In these harsh current times, many small publishers are struggling to stay afloat. Although these times may seem difficult they also often force people to think widely to try and find a way to survive.
I read this article at The Fiction Desk blog. The author suggests that looking back in time might help small publishers find a way to stay in business. According to the article, in 18th century London it was common for bookshops to also be publishers. There are some publishers who have retail stores on their publishing premises, but normally they only to sell their own titles. In the 18th century model, the bookstores stocked titles for all publishers alongside their own. Since most publishers also had bookstores little cash changed hands between the companies. Instead they swapped books.
This would be an ideal way to knock the wind out of the wild and reckless price wars that are erupting all over. Consolidating the selling of books and the production of books ensures that they are sold at the correct price and not subsidised by other product lines in an effort to squeeze out the competition and eventually be able to dictate prices from publishers. It also has a lovely bartering and cooperative feel to it that appeals to me.
What do you think?