Monday, August 17, 2009
BUSINESS OF ART BOOK DISTRIBUTION
Book distribution - http://www.artengine.ca/sandra/book/index.htm
I prefer to sell the book, "The Business of Art for Canadian Visual Artists" through a third party retailer. Because I'm so small being both the author and publisher, the retailer must pay me up-front for the books. This is not the norm in the Canadian publishing industry. Further, the industry categorizes the book as a textbook. Therefore retailers receive 20% rather than the typical 40% discount when they purchase my books. The publishing industry in Canada is not lucrative up-and-down the chain of interconnected players, especially for authors of specialty art "textbooks". Art supply retailers such as Wallacks (downtown Ottawa) and DeSerre (St. Laurent Shopping Centre Ottawa, and Eglington Toronto) carry my book because their clients request it. Many Ontario public libraries have it in their collections, including the Ottawa public library and the city's Enrepreneurship Centre. One reason I've not pushed for a larger scale distribution is that it takes time and money that I need to spend on my art. It use to also be advertised on Amazon.ca, but it became too complicated.
The book is written in point-form with nine chapters and headings that are listed in the Table of Contents http://www.artengine.ca/sandra/book/contents.htm
Its printed on one side of the page with the opposite page blank for individual notes. The spiral binding and protective plastic cover is designed for artist user friendliness. However, bookstores consider it retail unfriendly because you can't see the title on the spine.
This is the third edition I've written, published, printed and distributed, so I know my weeknesses. I authored this book because I needed it, and so did my students who were getting tired of photocopied articles. There wasn't anything quite like this book where the starting point was from the Canadian artist's creative practice perspective. Our unique three sector economy and legal structures are mirrored by the visual arts industry. The commercial, non profit and public sector each have their own mandate, and within these broad mandates are institutions also each having unique mandates. American publications talked about Arts Foundations which are inaccessible to Canadian artists. The other thing I've observed is our more subtle visual arts culture in Canada where there is relatively more emphasis on written texts such as the artist statement and proposal writing.
While there is the business of art there is also the business of developing a career as an artist, and all the different types of careers there are. I'd like to write more about this.