IVP - Andy Unedited - What Publishers Can Learn from the Airlines

February 15, 2012

What Publishers Can Learn from the Airlines

Book publishers are desperate for new business models. While standing in line at the airport recently, I thought maybe we could look to the airline industry for inspiration. If we did, here are some things you might see from publishers:

  • If you want to exchange one book for another, there's a $25 change fee.
  • If you want to pre-order your book, there's a $10 up charge for the privilege.
  • If you want to eat something while you are reading the book, you have to pay for it yourself. (Oh, I guess that's already true.)
  • When opening or closing the book, you have to turn off all electronic devices.
  • You must pass through an electronic scanner before you can read the book.
  • If you buy a book over the weekend, the price will be higher.
  • Book prices will fluctuate depending on demand. The more a book sells, the higher the retail price.
  • Get comfortable: you won't be able to stretch out your arms or your legs from the time you start reading till the time you stop.
  • If you are willing to pay more to stretch your legs, in case of an emergency, you may be asked to proofread the book.
  • If there is "overbooking"--selling more copies of the book than actually exist--the publisher will offer readers incentives to read something else.

Considering how well the airlines have done in recent years, maybe I've inspired you too. How else could publishers run their business like an airline?

Posted by Andy Le Peau at February 15, 2012 8:11 AM Bookmark and Share


You'll also end up with a headcold approximately two days after you finish reading the book.

Comment by: Rose at February 15, 2012 9:31 AM

Here's an idea: They could include a little baggie with each book in case it somehow causes, um, turbulence. I've wanted that quite a few times, actually...

Comment by: Tim Challies at February 15, 2012 9:35 AM

The author could greet everyone personally as they begin reading the book.

Comment by: Rob Stroud at February 15, 2012 11:38 AM

Oh, you guys are gooooood!

Comment by: Andy Le Peau at February 15, 2012 12:14 PM

And even though you bought 2 copies (1 for you and one for your spouse with whom you're celebrating a wedding anniversary) 3 months in advance, you'll have to wait until everyone else has read theirs before you can read yours, and you'll have to sit 15 feet apart from each other while you're reading.

That's what happened to a couple I know who flew from Los Angeles to Minneapolis this past weekend. I thought, Nice job, airlines. Nice job.

Comment by: Jadell at February 15, 2012 12:24 PM

And before you begin reading, you can be scientifically scanned and, if you look particularly suspicious,* you may be selected to be subject to an intimate frisking.

*By "suspicious" in this context, we actually mean innocuous.

Comment by: Rob Stroud at February 15, 2012 6:11 PM

If you want to carry anything else while reading your book you have to pay more.

Despite the fact that it's the same every time before you start reading any book you are forced to undergo training on how to remove yourself from the book in case it gets particularly dangerous, or there's a significant plot twist or something.

Every five minutes while reading your book someone interrupts you to see if you'd like to take out a mortgage to afford a frozen sandwich.

Comment by: Sam Isaacson at February 16, 2012 7:24 AM

Each book will sell for a different price based on a complicated formula involving its place on the shelf, which bookstore its in, the day of the week, hour of the day, and whether or not the purchaser belongs to any incentive programs or not. One book can sell for $4, the one next to it $35. Down the street at the other bookstore, you can get one in the 3rd position on the shelf for $16 if you belong to AAA.

And occasionally, you'll get an unexpected upgrade from paperback to hardcover because they ran out of paperback, or are just feeling generous that day.

Comment by: Eric S. Mueller at February 16, 2012 7:39 AM

Will people look at me askance, or try to move away, if I bring my small children along to read it?

Fun conversation and provocative post - thanks!

Comment by: carolyn weber at February 16, 2012 7:46 AM

Fun post with magnificent responses. Since I write a travel humor blog, here's my response. It opens with your head shot and closes with shameless PR to sell an IVP book. :)

Comment by: Charlene Ann Baumbich at February 16, 2012 1:40 PM

You can reserve your book, but the day it is released, the publisher may decide not to release it after all. You will be automatically assigned a different book, but it may be 500 pages longer than the one you ordered, and you will have to sit near a bathroom to read it.

Comment by: Chip at February 16, 2012 1:50 PM

Oh, Charlene! And a beautiful headshot (of yours truly) it is! And shameless PR for an IVP book! Well, of course there is no shame ever in such a thing!

Comment by: Andy Le Peau at February 16, 2012 1:57 PM

You must either be a member of the Frequent Reader Club or pay an outrageous premium to look out a window occasionally while you're reading or to be able to easily get up and go to the bathroom. And you'll pay a whole lot extra to be able to stetch out and be comfortable during a long book, but we'll let you read first and drink and eat free.

Comment by: Hal & Melanie Young at February 19, 2012 7:17 AM

I liked seeing Liesel's peipsectrve because everything I read about this subject before was from a Jewish person or American soldier's peipsectrve. It is interesting to see how kids grow up to form opinions and how people can only keep them to themselves so much. Sometimes it is too painful not to be kind! If you like this book, you should read The Red Scarf Girl too. It deals with similar issues for a girl coming of age in communist China who is torn between the values of her family and the values she is learning in school and society. This book also reminded me of Skellig in a way because I kept thinking that Max was like the weird, magical man who the kids found in the shed. If they do make it a movie, I hope that Jean-Pierre Jeunet directs it and it looks something like City of the Lost Children !

Comment by: Ridoh at March 19, 2012 10:33 PM

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.