Saturday, April 02, 2005


By and large, men and women are pretty evenly split when it comes to the severity of their particular gender's specific health maintenance routines.

However, there is one particular procedure that women can only guess about. It starts when the doctor tells a man to "assume the position." There is nothing like a prostate examination to give one a certain Zen-like perspective on the world.

The way that Ingram accumulates all returns and passes them back to us for credit, is another example of how all of us, large and small, in this industry continually "take it in the shorts."

Long known as the "cesspool" of returns, when a distributor or chain goes under, Ingram always finds a way to make a nice profit from the adversity of their ex-customer. And who is going to get the shaft in the ass? You, me, and every other publisher. And I have it on good authority that there is another good sized distributor that could (not will) go paws-up. So stock up on the KY-Jelly because you are going to need it.

Is the Tennessee Mafia ever going to collect returned inventory and store it for later sale? Not on your life. They are going to ship it back to you as fast as they can.

What a deal. Say they sold and owe you for 50 copies of one of your books, to the amount of $500. And lets assume that you have other distributors or wholesalers who might have supplied some chain with, say 100 copies of your book. These 100 copies come back to Ingram. It will wipe out what they owe you and they may even decide to assess you a debit for the other 50 books. So instead of them owing you $500, you now owe them $500, plus they kept the $500 they were due to pay you. If you do business with Ingram, my best advice to you is that you better get ready for that rubber glove.

It is the way of the world for publishers to be reamed. It is one of the laws of nature. Why is this? Because we have no countervailing force or power to be used against the overwhelming leverage that Ingram has over us. In a Zen interpretation of the world, each force always has an opposite force to keep it in balance. Unions vs. management. Congress vs. President. Insurance companies and regulators. Auto companies vs. environmentalists.

What is the Zen body of force that surrounds us small publishers and which we hope will exert equal and opposite pressure on Ingram? Unfortunately for us, there is none. In the same manner that you know when you are at the doctor's office that there is no way you are going to get out of "assuming the position," our karma precludes that we will be hosed by Ingram; and there is no force great enough to prevail against them.

The purports of Zen, as well as the ancient Vedic literature, is an attempt to explain and justify to us what seems to be an imperfect world. And yet in all my readings of the old texts, I have yet to understand why the PMA refuses to stand up and exert the power that it surely has. Where are the protestations of the Executive Director? Where are the howls of protest from the president and the PMA board? Zen fails me here. The power is there, but is goes unused, even unnoticed.

Dare we look to Brian Judd for help? What about Jerry Jenkins and his empire? Maybe Dan Poynter or John Kremer might speak in our behalf? Fern Reiss? No, that is not to be. These are all private citizens or profit seeking organizations who don't see OUR troubles as being THEIR problems.

As for the PMA, indeed, it does not take a Zen master to realize that the more problems we publishers have, the more it would seem that we need the advice and assistance of Jan Nathan and Associates.

So my children, do not look to others to do what you need to do yourself. There is no one out there to help you. Indeed, as my old friend Don would say, " The father, son, and holy ghost have caught the last train to the coast."

So as we publishers are still being forced to "assume the position," I ask myself the eternal question. What is the real meaning of life in this industry? What is our real position in the publishing cosmos? Who will speak for us? Will you? If not you, than who?

Do you have the courage to write to Ingram to complain? Do you have the courage to write to PMA and complain? Do you have the courage to write to the AAP and complain? Do you have the courage to stop doing business with Ingram and anyone else who insists on returning inventory? If you don't, than stop complaining.

Maybe you need to ask yourself if you are part of the problem... or part of the solution?

What is YOUR response when Ingram tells you to "assume the position?"

"Ah, grasshopper, you ask so many questions."

Alan Canton, President Adams-Blake Company --- Adams-Blake Company provides the JAYA123 service to small businesses of all types. JAYA is an order-entry, billing, invoicing, inventory, royalty, and financial system used on the web ....nothing to download or install... and it cost all of $14.95 a month. "It's cool as a moose." Try the free demo at at: ---


Since today's Rant hit the wires I've been inundated with questions about which distributor (IMO) could be in trouble and maybe on the road to going 'paws up.'

I won't tell ('cause I don't want to end up in court), but find out who these people own.... and put 2 plus 2 together. (Oh, and DO notice the date! Am I on top of this stuff or what?)

While I'm never in doubt, I could be wrong (indeed, I hope I am) but those of you who have been around these parts and who have read A Saturday Rant for the past ten years know how it all starts.

Also, remember that over the years I have a pretty good track record in calling these plays. Forewarned is forearmed (not to be confused with fore-play!. You heard it from A Saturday Rant first! Snooze and you lose.