Thursday, July 31, 2008

SNB FAQ

Who or what is STUART NG BOOKS and how do you pronounce it?

Stuart Ng is a person. You can read about Stuart’s background on the “about us” page on the website. Ng is a Chinese surname. The Chinese pronunciation doesn’t translate to English, so the English pronunciation is equivalent to the suffix “ing” as in drawing or painting.

Why aren’t these import books available in English?

Stuart attends the Angouleme festival in France each year and meets with many foreign publishers. He is always encouraging them to produce English translations. However, we have no control over if or when any of the import titles will be translated. The French publishers aren’t interested in producing English versions. They're French. They're willing to license the rights to do English translations, but historically, licensees who have attempted to provide English translations of these books have not sold enough copies to recoup the expenses involved. The company that produced the English translations of Blacksad went bankrupt. The Loisel Peter Pan series had 2 English language volumes, but they didn’t sell well enough, so the rest of the series is in French only.

Stuart has hand picked all the titles we import. We were the first US source for Sky Doll and Songes:Coraline. We are pleased to provide US exposure for the books we import. We derive no financial benefit when a book is translated.

Translating these stories is more challenging than just plugging in the equivalent English words. French story telling sensibilities are different. It is nearly impossible to translate cultural references and vernacular. As a result, the English translations that have been produced in the past were often disappointing

Since Stuart doesn’t speak or read French, one of his main criteria for selecting an import is that the art alone must convey some sense of story.

Why do some titles sell out so quickly?

We are a small company with a limited budget for inventory. We simply cannot afford to purchase hundreds of copies of every book. We do our best to anticipate demand for certain titles, but there is always the risk that demand will exceed our supply. We encourage patrons to contact us and let us know if they can commit to buying a title from us. This helps us budget our inventory and allows us to stock up on a specific title to meet that need. Delays in re-stocking popular import titles can also contribute to sell-out situations. We are at the mercy of publishers, shippers, and other variables when trying to re-stock imports.

Why are some of the books so expensive?

Stuart works hard to price the books fairly, and he himself does most of the work at all levels to make the books available on our website. Out of print books are in limited supply. When you buy a $10 sketchbook at a con, remember that you ALSO PAID the admission cost, transportation, lodging etc to acquire the book at that rate, not to mention your time. For many of the titles we carry, we are the only US source for the book. This means Stuart must establish relationships with galleries, artists, publishers, distributors, and shipping companies to get the book into our hands to supply to our patrons. With import books, there are additional steps involved. All of this effort takes time and money, but the result is, we are able to bring you a selection of books not available anywhere else. You are able to order the book from us off our website, get information about the book, and have the book shipped to you in a timely way, protected from damage. When we order books, we do not get the same level of service we are committed to provide to you. Each time we order a new round of import books, we are subjected to unexpected delays, translation and transportation issues, non-delivery of paid goods, exchange rates, customs holds, etc. The price of the books is the result of many factors, including the value of the book and the service involved to bring it to the US for our patrons to enjoy. By providing you with a large selection of titles, all in one place and in a range of prices to suit your needs, we save you the time and effort involved in finding these books for your reference library.

Why don’t you sell some of the popular books available at other stores?

There are many wonderful art books and artist sketchbooks. We couldn’t possibly carry every title available. Many books can be purchased through traditional retail book stores, on line, or at our colleagues such as Bud’s Art Books (formerly Bud Plant Comic Art), Secret Headquarters, Meltdown, Nucleus etc. Our niche is finding and offering the books you can’t find anywhere else. There is the occasional overlap, but in general, if you can find it other places we try not to stock it.

Can I get scans of the original art?

We prefer when possible to sell originals in person. The artists enjoy learning what inspires a collector to purchase a particular work. Since the artist knows the story behind the artworks creation, they also enjoy learning how and why it moves on to a private collection. We do scan what we can, but we are not a gallery. Our primary focus is book selling. Part of the issue with scans is, of course, unauthorized replication of the images off of our site.

Do you publish a printed catalog?

After many years of producing printed catalogs, we have had to suspend this service for the time being to meet the demands of the website. Our older catalogs are prized collectors items now, for the details about the books and artists listed.

1 comment:

Oxnard said...

I tend to buy quite a few books on art and illustration over the course of the year. I also pick-up quite a few sketchbooks too and for this I am phenomenally grateful that Start Ng Books isn't like my local bookstore. Anyone can sell newspapers and the latest issue of Cosmo (my fashion bible)but I don't get enlightened when I go there. The local bookstore also doesn't give me something that Stuart does on a regular basis; a sense of wonder and excitement. Because of you, I know who Pierre Alary, Ronnie Del Carmen and Claire Wendling are. This of course is just the tip of the iceberg and to mention all the great artist's I've been exposed to thanks to you would require something resembling a novel in length. I don't say it enough but thank you for doing what you do. And thank you for doing it so well.