Some current notes from TrineDay.
Our most controversial and suppressed books are at the printer, and suddenly TrineDay gets hit with outrageous returns from a Skull & Bones related company. Why would "the boys" own the largest book distributer to libraries and be in the position to cause financial harm to book publishers that print suppressed material?
The Franklin Scandal is at the printer, we were expected to ship first week of August, but the struggle continues, we just received word from printer, their press went down last week for several days, and they are hoping to have it to us by the 12th. Nick will sign the copies as they arrive and then the pre-orders will be shipped out. Priority mail orders hopefully will be received by the August 17th, media mail orders should be received by August 24th.
Paradise Lost? is also at the printer, will be shipping around August 15.
More news of other titles next week.
Below find our latest from MilleganStews.com detailing our "returns problem" with Baker & Taylor, who have pragmatically taken $25,000 out of our cash flow that is effectively our ability to promote and print our books. Please, if you are able, order a book or two from TrineDay, to help us through.
“We are shaping the future and delivering it for you.”
The above headline is the slogan for Baker & Taylor, “the world’s largest distributor of books and entertainment.” Baker & Taylor began in 1828 as bookbindery in North Carolina, and the firm grew steadily, becoming the largest supplier of books to libraries and one of the main book distributers in the U.S. In 1970, the family-owned company was bought by conglomerate W.R. Grace and Company, which then in 1992 sold it to the world’s largest private equity firm, The Carlyle Group. They sold it to the private equity firm Willis Stein & Partners in 2003. Then in 2006, another private equity firm, Castle Harlan Partners acquired Baker & Taylor. Proudly declaring today on Baker & Taylor’s website, that it is “the world’s largest distributor of physical and digital content,” and that Baker & Taylor is “shaping the future and delivering to you” — yours and mine.
While I do not know directly about you, Baker & Taylor has had a hand in shaping TrineDay’s future, and I wish I could a say for the positive — for TrineDay sells books.
TrineDay, an Oregon company, has had to face many challenges. The firm founded early in 2002 — on a borrowed $5,000 shoe-string — had its first “trouble” after our third book, an encyclopedic volume of over 700 pages, Fleshing Out Skull & Bones began selling well, enabling our small company to really grow. Our first book, America’s Secret Establishment had also been about the secret society, The Order of Skull & Bones. We were finding a niche, publishing suppressed material.
Our second book, Expendable Elite, written by retired Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Marvin, about covert operations during the Vietnam War, became the focal point of a trial in Federal District Court in South Carolina, where we defended ourselves and won by a unanimous verdict a lawsuit bankrolled by the Special Forces Association. Chronicled in the Expendable Elite, the Victory Edition, the lawsuit was a “steamroller” operation designed to flatten both Colonel Marvin and TrineDay. The lawsuit did take much of the wind out of our sails, sucking up money and time costing TrineDay and Colonel Marvin over $170,000 (of which we still owe over $40,000). This burden didn’t stop us, but it kept Fleshing Out Skull & Bones from getting reprinted, and then several times when we were looking at cash flow that would allow TrineDay to reprint Fleshing Out, we would get hit with huge returns, taking thousands of dollars directly out of our pockets and wiping out tens of thousands of expected cash flow.
The book business isn’t for the faint-hearted, built upon a consignment model, the vagueness of what revenues will actually be received until one is actually paid makes planning and financing difficult. This uncertainty is partially created by the ability of stores and distributers to return unlimited merchandise.This is the nature of the business, so one budgets accordingly and sets aside a certain percent for returns. But then, some things happen that seem beyond the pale. Let me elucidate, two instances.
Now, to be fair, Baker & Taylor (B&T) may just be bad at what they are supposed to do, or maybe simply because there is little consequence for them ordering too much, and the system allows them that privilege, the situation just happens.. But the anomalies always seem to happen when our struggling cash flow is most in need.
In late 2006, Baker & Taylor began returning large quantities of Sinister Forces, Volume Three, The Manson Secret, Peter Levenda’s culmination of his magnificent thesis about intelligence agencies and their involvement with mind-control, the occult, assassinations and other strange activities. The author was appearing on national radio shows, and the book was getting some traction, soon TrineDay’s licensed distributer, IPG, ran out of books. Booksellers were calling TrineDay looking for stock, and we were scrambling looking for funds to print some more, because in another variable of the book business, TrineDay wouldn’t be paid for the books shipped for four months. Our distributer began racking up back-orders, it would take our printer at least 6 weeks to print, and TrineDay would have to come up with half the cost to start the print-run. With no books in stock the title’s momentum slowed to a standstill. Then over then next six months B&T returned a total of 802 books out of 1041 ordered, for a return rate of 77%. All other accounts had a return rate of 12%
In pragmatic terms, during the first two months of the book’s availability B&T took delivery of over one-half of the books (We are a small publisher.) and effectively kept them off the market. B&T returned a few books the third month, then the next month a few more, but also took delivery on some more. Our distributer soon was out-of-stock, and we were trying to obtain the $5,000 to start a new printing. Then B&T began returning books. Yes, IPG was able to ship some of the returns to other accounts, but by then the buzz on the book had died down and sales, though steady, slowed. TrineDay gets charged 10% for all books returned, B&T’s actions effectively took over $1000 right out of TrineDay’s pocket and over $10,000 from our cash flow. I contacted our distributer, the excuse from B&T was that they thought they were going to be shipping for Amazon. I asked if I could stop shipping B&T, I was told no, it would be restraint of trade or some such thing. And since TrineDay carries little clout and has plenty else on its plate, we made do.
Recent actions by B&T implore us to speak out. TrineDay has been very fortunate to be the English language publisher of Daniel Estulin’s international best-seller, The True Story of the Bilderberg Group.The success of that title has helped TrineDay bring to press some of the most suppressed stories out there. Just as the first of these books are about to come out, B&T has another “ordering problem” costing TrineDay thousands of dollars, curtailing our capabilities.
The Bilderberg book has been a worldwide phenomenon, beginning in Spain, the book has been translated in almost 50 languages and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Here in the United States, the book is our best-selling title, we have sold around 40,000 and have brought out a second edition. The first edition had a return rate of just under 5%. (Books may be returned—for any reason—by stores and sub-distributers to our distributer for up to several months after they go-out-of-print. You never know what is sold until they do not return. Book publishing can be a very rough business!) A 5% return rate is very good, especially when there has been a second edition to shake inventories up and draw books out of supply.
TrineDay brought out the second edition the end of March 2009. The new edition contains new information concerning the proposed North American Union. The book was well received and shipped out it’s first printing of 10,000 in about two months. So, TrineDay had to get more printed — before we had been paid for the first batch. Then B&T returned several hundred copies, just days before the new printing was delivered to our distributer, IPG, and where 1,400 back-orders had accumulated. And then B&T returned another 600 at the end of the month. In total they ended up returning 859 copies, and then during the first week of July they returned another 1025 copies. B&T has as of today returned 1844 out of 3003 copies they ordered, a return rate of 62%. All other accounts have returned 29 copies out of 7,896 ordered for a return rate of under .4%, an amazing disparity of over 61%. The practical effect upon TrineDay is to take almost $2,500 directly out of our revenue, and reduce our cash flow by almost $25,000, money that would be spent in promoting and producing our suppressed works.
Now, TrineDay will survive, we’re stubborn and will inure to endure with perseverance, hard work, luck, the help of our dedicated staff and authors, and the forbearance of our friends and family.
Again, maybe B&T is just bad at what they do, or they just have bad luck, I do not know, but the situation is definitely interesting. A firm passes through the hands of the politically super-connected Caryle Group, and is currently owned by a firm, Castle Harlan Partners, whose chief officers, before they started Castle Harlan Partners were the chief officers at Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette, whose main principal is former SEC chairman William H. Donaldson, a co-member with Carlyle’s George H.W. Bush in the Skull & Bones secret society, and then that firm appears to effect the financial fortunes of company that publishes books critical of The Order of Skull & Bones and other politically sensitive topics. Or maybe Baker & Taylor is simply shaping the future.