As an entrepreneur of sorts I love this time of year. A few days off at Christmas have recharged the batteries and allowed us to seek absolution for all the things that went wrong last year. And the master plan for 2014 remains pristine, intact, unruffled by reality. Here’s the gist of it.
WHS High Street has been through a rough patch, and we’d like to help. To get them back on their feet we’re offering a £10m consignment deal. They consign the cash to our bank account, and we supply the goods at standard terms with no extra charges. As an additional incentive to ensure that the books we send them are actually sold, we introduce a retrospective invoice for any goods returned to us unsold.
Waterstones: sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. We’ve resolved to hold the line at the 90% discount we agreed with them last year. I know this is tough love, but as the man said, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Our communications with other publishers to make sure they toe the line on this issue have been conducted verbally in secure locations, so there’s no point in sending in Mr Plod to confiscate our hard drives.
Amazon. This is the big banana, and will require some deft footwork. I’m going to blow my air miles on a ticket to Seattle and settle things mano a mano with the man himself. Bezos and I have a lot in common, not least our respect for the opinions of others and our enthusiasm for space travel: we should be able to sort things. A former chairman in a former life once explained to me that all businesses are fundamentally identical except in the number of zeroes in the financials. No need to worry, then, that Amazon turns over $75,000,000,000 against our $5,000,000. We’ve got the content, he’s got the sheds and the servers. A simple share swap should do the trick. 47% for Jeff and 53% for HoZ. Job done.
If you read this, please respect that the contents are confidential, for your eyes only. Experience does suggest that the best way to prevent leaks is to hide your message in plain sight on a publisher’s web site...