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Negative book sales - MtnVwPilot

Jan. 17th, 2006 04:18 pm Negative book sales

Just got the latest quarterly royalty statement for my book (Building Internet Firewalls, Second Edition)... We sold, let's see,
-21 copies in Q3 (yes, the statements come 90 days after the end of the quarter).

How did we sell a negative number of copies, you ask? Well, booksellers are generally allowed to return unsold books to a publisher for full credit. So, books that show up as sold in one quarter can come back and be un-sold (as opposed to simply unsold ;-) ) in another quarter.

We're still popular overseas, though; that -21 is the net of selling 40 copies internationally and having 61 copies returned domestically. Of course, it could be that the US is a trend-setter, and the international copies will be returned later.

There was still a royalty check with the statement... Huh? How do you sell a negative number of copies, and still get a royalty check? Well, it turns out that the royalties from online publishing (which don't count as "copies" of the book) outweighed the returns. It's a small check, but still... ;-)

I had dinner last night with yesthattom, whose new book Time Management for System Administrators has just been published by the same publisher. Since it only came out in December, we're right now in the first full quarter of sales, and he won't get any solid reports of how it's doing until the end of June, over 6 months after it came out! Talk about being on pins and needles, wondering how you're doing!

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