Monday, August 8, 2016

Signed books - a service prized by SNB patrons (UPDATED 6.19)

Signed copies of in-print books is a service Stuart Ng Books provides for patrons.
For several years, I kept a map in the store. It was an adventure to add a push-pin on the map each time we shipped to a new location. The map quickly filled up. Stuart's world-wide mailing list continues to grow. For many of his patrons, Stuart is their only access to books that have been in the hands of the artists that made the illustrations.
Of course, online searches reveal listings for all sorts of books at "loss-leader" discounts. Cut-rate pricing seems like a benefit to some customers... but it a challenge for indie booksellers to compete with.

UPDATE June 2019 --
Amazon, for example, built its empire on the business model of selling books at a loss. It was never their goal to make money selling books. The goal they achieved was driving competition out of business, and using book buying as the gateway to a user-friendly, one-stop source for all on-line consumer purchasing. Now Amazon dominates. Their business model of deep discounts and "free shipping" -- which was never really free, just marketed to customers that way and absorbed by Amazon -- keeps them on top. Now generations of online shoppers are conditioned to expect these perks. Small indie businesses cannot operate at a loss, or on a monopoly's margins.

Why do patrons select to support Stuart? How can he afford to offer in-print books that are readily available for less at other sites? 

SNB patrons buy books from Stuart for the unique benefits he provides.

When Stuart carries in-print books, it's so he can add a service for his customers. He can't match the steep discounts... but discounters can't match the value Stuart adds to the books. Patrons put a premium on what Stuart's relationships and access brings to their book buying experience. With in-print titles, Stuart is often able to provide signed copies. This is a personalized experience benefit massive websites can't match.

Stuart's patrons enjoy buying books that have passed through the hands of leading artists. Having that connection to the creative source that inspired a film or project they're interested in is priceless. And of course... mail-orders are packed to Stuart's exacting standards. 

Behind the scenes, Stuart works hard to coordinate signing opportunities via his relationships with artists and studio creative personnel. He and his team often travel with boxes of books to a studio. They co-host the signing with the artists and/or studio staff. Stuart goes the extra mile to make sure the artists know their time is appreciated. The artists enjoy knowing their autographed copies will go to fans and collectors who might not have another way to meet them.

Stuart's stock of signed, in-print books is constantly changing. Once in-print signed copies sell out, it's not possible to re-stock. Don't delay if you see a signed in-print title on the SNB website that meets your needs. It might not be there for long.


When this post was published in August 2016, these were active links for signed books -- in a range of price points --  currently in stock:

Art of Inside Out   $95

The Meanwhile Adventures... art by Brian Adjar .. signed with a drawing  $20

Little Golden Book, Disney's Princess and the Frog ... signed by Lorelay Bove $8

In August 2016, aritst Steph Laberis had recently signed Stuart's stock of her two just-released Little Golden Books.

Stuart provided a link on the website (featured here on the blog!) so customers could pre-order copies with two options... just a signature/inscription... or signed book with a color sketch. The prices for these pre-orders. $5 and $10.

Here are samples of the signed books with sketches that went out to some of these mail orders..

Steph signed the remaining copies of these two books .. so right now, all the copies at the store, and available for mail order, have her signature. More about Steph's career.. and more art images... in this July post:

She also signed copies of this Ronald Searle tribute book "Searle in America" ... joining the signatures of other contributing artists for this title.

Below is original pen and ink art of Steph Laberis ... her contribution featured in the book. 

Stuart carries many in-print Little Golden Books that feature artists working in the fields of illustration, animation and comic art. These are the artists Stuart's customers are following.

Little Golden Books have an easy price point for all levels of collectors. The subject matter is charming. They make fun gifts for all ages. These books in Stuart's stock are often signed by the artists.

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