Prior to having two books published last year, I hadn’t given much attention to the bookselling world. Sometimes I’d buy a book from the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) at the Biennial Convention or National Training Conference. Or from Barnes & Noble if I happened to be there. Or from Amazon if there was free shipping. Book purchases were really about convenience, since all the books seemed to cost generally the same.
In fact, when you think about it, why would an organization like NAP go to the trouble to maintain an online bookstore? For one, NAP publishes original works related to parliamentary procedure that may not be available elsewhere. In addition, NAP has a retail bookstore with non-NAP created works, and it’s convenient if members can buy such books at industry events or have one place to find meeting procedure related publications. But how can organizations like NAP make any money selling books against online superstores?
Thanks to two wonderful publishers (Penguin and SIU Press), I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to about the business of book publishing. Terms like “short discount” vs. “trade discount” vs. “specialist discount.” Basically, the way it works is that NAP contacts the many different publishers of works of interest to the parliamentary procedure world. Depending on many factors, including the book category (trade, educational, etc.), number of books, return rights (i.e., consignment), and even specific publisher, book resell prices can vary significantly. Some books have to be purchased by the selling organization (they’re not on consignment), which means there’s a loss if the reseller can’t sell the book.
These many efforts lead to this: a reseller’s prices are based on fairly fixed financial policies and formulas. Some books can be purchased by an organization like NAP at a discount; then if the books are sold, the reseller can keep some of the difference. However, if a reseller can’t net a certain amount from the sale, it doesn’t make sense to carry the book. While shipping costs can add a bit to the final cost, I’m willing to pay a bit more knowing that the purchase helps my professional organization, even if just a little.
NAP sells both of my recent books on running better meetings (thank you, NAP!). I can’t pass up an opportunity to promote books, so here’s some information on both (and the links that follow will take you to NAP’s bookstore):
[Links updated to latest books based on the new Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition).]
- Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track is a quick go-to guide that provides details on the most used motions, appropriate informal procedures for smaller boards, and general advice for shortening meetings. It was the #1 “hot release” in its Amazon category, as small a category as that might be. A recent review of the book can be found at Book Review: Run, Don’t Walk, to Buy Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track.
- Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition is a user’s guide to Robert’s Rules that uses questions-and-answers to cover the most misused and asked-about provisions, including those that apply to larger membership meetings. Notes and Comments has received the Phifer Award from the National Communication Association.
[The reviewing side of Publisher’s Weekly posted great reviews of both books, and each was selected as an “Editor’s Pick,” which is described as “a book of outstanding quality.” If of interest, the reviews can be found at Reviews are in for New Parliamentary Procedure Books!]
Whether you’re interested in my books or others related to parliamentary procedure, I encourage you to visit and buy something from the NAP bookstore. A menu allows items to be sorted by name, category, price or popularity. There are more than 100 products available.
And you’ll purchase with the satisfaction of supporting your professional organization!