RITA eligibility, part II

I mentioned the RITA kerfuffle briefly last week.  There’s been some discussion on the rwa-org listserv (ha ha, “some” discussion) about it, and one of the things that has come up is a not-quite verified comment that “mass produced” means “listed in the Ingram’s catalog as returnable to the publisher.”

To which I have to say. . . wha?

Let’s see if I got this one right.  RWA’s goal is to advocate for authors and to advance romance publishing.  Got it–fine, I understand that.  Good.  Publishing is in turmoil.  I won’t say “in crisis” although surely it is a crisis for the editors who were fired, the imprints that were closed, and the authors who were abandoned in the dust-ups that are still ongoing.

And one of the major issues–one that I have seen listed far and wide from industry professionals on nearly every side of the fence–is the somewhat byzantine system of returns.

I understand this might not be the actual criterion used by RWA for defining “mass-produced” since I did not see an official proclamation.  I also understand that it probably was not chosen with great forethought–just that when push came to shove, someone had to come up with a definition and that was it.  But if you’re going to advocate for authors, can you not use as a criterion of minimum professionalism something that people believe is killing the publishing industry?

2 thoughts on “RITA eligibility, part II

  1. I agree – once again it shows a lack of foresight. And in an indirect way it’s allowing booksellers to set the definition. That said, since the returns system does currently exist, it isn’t the worst way of drawing the line – it does take a legitimate & professionally run publisher to be able to accept returns.

  2. And, of course, there are publishers who accept returns but whose books aren’t listed in Ingram’s. Ellora’s Cave is suing Borders for returning books it claims Borders had no intention of trying to sell (a bad faith claim), but those books aren’t listed in Ingram’s.

    Ah, the machinations…

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