Cutting communication to the bone

One of the Ngaio Press books I sell by mailorder is WOOL: a history of New Zealand’s wool industry. I co-wrote it with Bill Carter and published it ten years ago.

There are a few cartons left and while it’s beyond bookshop marketing now, I quietly reduce the pile at the end of every year by advertising it in the New Zealand Farmers’ Weekly. Every year I wonder if I’ll make a profit over the cost of advertising and every year I am pleasantly surprised.

One thing that has always amused me, in comparison to mailorder selling of our other books, is the minimal nature of farmer correspondence. Usually I get a cheque plus a scrap of paper on which the purchaser has scrawled “please send a copy of WOOL to [address].”

Today I didn’t even get that. Just a cheque and a clipping of the advertisement. He’d already written his name and address on the back of the envelope; why waste energy writing it again?

The message was perfectly clear and the book is on its way.


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