Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ann Arbor Media Group No Longer Publishing Golf Books

This is not good news for authors and readers.

Ann Arbor Media Group, of which Sports Media Group is an imprint, will not longer be publishing golf book. Sports Media Group published my first book, "To the Nines."

SMG traces its roots back to golf book publisher Sleeping Bear Press. Lynne Johnson, head of Product Service Management at AAMG, wrote in an email that the decision was based on on the fact the golf book market has changed dramatically.

"Our decision in the golf market is more a gradual process than a one-day, press release type of event. While doing golf books at Sleeping Bear, we sold largely to a reader interested in golf history and architecture. In our recent sales with AAMG, we found less of an interest in those topics (Perhaps because more has been done there in recent years? Perhaps because those readers are aging?). Sales were more modest and as a result we signed fewer new projects each year. At the same time, our business model evolved to do more custom publishing and fewer trade sales (a non-returnable market as opposed to a returnable market). We might do a course history for the club, but not an instruction book. It's been a gradual process for us but we've decided not to sign additional books in the trade golf area."

Johnson says there might be signs of hope in the new media areas.

"It is a sad occasion of sorts. I've worked in the golf stuff since 1994. We had a good run with those high-end architecture books like the (Brad Klein's) Ross book and I'm afraid some of those projects won't be done any more now that the bookstores rarely carry a book that sells over $40. Good news that perhaps ebooks will give some of the shorter run text only projects life without printing a bunch of copies? I can tell you that publishers are really scared about the cheap ebook market currently, with good reason probably."

So while publishers are scared and trying to figure out what the future will bring, writers are left with fewer and fewer places where they can pitch legitimate book ideas and those dwindling group of golf book fans will have fewer titles to add to their collections.

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