Saturday, November 07, 2009

Waxing philosophical...

Yes, I know it's not Monday, but I was reading the opinion page of today's paper and started to feel very philosophical. I've had that problem lately. Must be all the meditation I've been doing...

All the pundits are going on and on about the recent elections, and how the Republicans have gained on the Democrats because the economy sucks, the liberals don't think Obama's doing enough and of course the Republicans think he's doing way too much (and nothing good). The economy is indeed a little worrisome. Okay, a lot worrisome. I try not to think about it too much, because my little business is still in its growth phase and if I get too caught up in talk about what the economy's going to do, I may as well just give up and stay home.

I just ordered 4,000 copies of Toe-Up! It shipped from the printer yesterday. Of course, as soon as I placed the reorder, sales of the books I currently have seemed to come to a screeching halt. I've been mildly concerned about this, but since I was expecting it to take a year to sell out of my first printing, I'm figuring this second printing can last me through 2010 if it needs to. The first printing (the first 2/3rds of it, anyway) seemed to literally fly out the door.

Even if the book doesn't continue to sell as quickly, I like to remind myself of the whole supply chain of the book and all the little fingers it sends out into the world. It's my own little way of helping the economy - my tiny economic stimulus package, if you will. I chose to have the book printed in North America so that I could have a relatively high level of confidence that the people working in the printing press were being treated reasonably well and paid fairly (no sweatshop labor for this book). I chose to use FSC-certified paper for the cover and interior pages so that the environmental impact of the book could be slightly lower, not that that necessarily has anything to do with economic benefits (other than the fact that the paper is slightly more expensive in order to help cover the increased cost of sustainably managing the forests). The books are transported by truck from Canada, then delivered by a local freight receiver here in the Portland area. Then, they're sold to yarn shops across the country.

How many little roots does this send out? Well, the printing press keeps a number of people employed (it's a family business located in Manitoba), and my sales rep works out of a small office in California. Shipping the books helps out the trucker who drives them south, not to mention the gas stations, restaurants and other services the trucker uses on his trip. Once here, the freight company is busy for one morning delivering the boxes to our house. Then, Bill is busy for the rest of the day stashing boxes in various closets and out-of-the-way corners (although he doesn't get paid, other than in gratitude from me!).

Then, the books head back out the door, providing benefit to either the postal, FedEx or UPS workers who manage the shipping of the boxes. Once they reach the yarn store, the sale of those books help to provide a living to both the yarn shop owner and his/her employees. Since nearly every yarn shop that sells my books is a small local business, the dollars that knitters spend on those books (and the yarn that they inevitably will be tempted to buy along with it) stay in the local community to everyone's benefit.

Yes, that's sort of a long convoluted train of thought, but even if the books sit in my house for months, I can still feel good that I contributed to the first half of that chain of micro-economics. And every time you buy something at your LYS, you can feel good about the fact that you're helping to support many small businesses - not just the shop you're in, but all the small publishers, yarn companies, and the people they employ.

And on a totally unrelated note - Sydney's right top front tooth just fell out! Tooth fairy's going to be at our house tonight!


Blogger Ebony said...

I got your book at my LYS and it was the last available copy. The sales clerk told me that they sold out immediately, and that was only 3 weeks ago. I'm taking that as it was well received in Maryland.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Lavendersheep said...

Also, don't forget that the yarns you choose for your book are mostly from small indie dyers that benefit greatly from the publicity your book generates.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

small business have away of surviving..especially with the knitters, who will be there to support you..You have a very wonderful book, that will probably be requested for the Christmas stocking...Near fear,Knitters will come through..
About the National economy..I have heard this song, sung for many, many years..Different administration, same song..
During the Carter administration, my daughter was a beginning Home Ec Teacher..guess what she was loaded down with 'peanuts' many dishes can you put peanuts...

1:06 PM  

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