PBS Book Service ?

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:11:25 PDT
I think that Kew doesn't wholesale its books except now, apparently, 
to Amazon.co.uk. In any case, when NARGS had a book service, they 
were not able to obtain Kew books, and I don't think the AGS book 
service offers them either. Jim mentions Oxford UP (for which I 
presently work), but of course they wholesale their books readily and 
also offer substantial sales, especially toward the end of the 
calendar year. Timber Press will also sell small quantities wholesale 
to groups to resell at events such as study weekends, and they will 
take back the surplus sometimes, depending on the title.

NARGS discontinued its long-running Book Service two years ago 
because it was a big money-loser. They could not sell books as 
cheaply as Amazon does, nor could they pay the manager of the book 
service enough to compensate her for her time and space. The AGS has 
a substantial publication program of its own (including excellent 
books on bulbs), as well as a very large endowment, both of which 
NARGS lacks. The PBS is nowhere near large enough to support its own 
book publications (though we might consider digital publications on 
CD-ROM or DVD, which are much cheaper to produce and distribute).

The alternative to a book service, and one that NARGS chose to adopt, 
is to list books on our website with links to Amazon.com, having 
contracted with Amazon to be an "affiliate." When someone clicks the 
link on our website and then purchases the book from Amazon, the PBS 
will get a small percentage of the purchase price. You can see how 
this works by going to http://www.nargs.org/.

I've noticed that some books not supplied by Amazon.com, the US 
service, can be obtained from Amazon.co.uk, so it's useful to check 
both when you're looking for something obscure, especially a non-US 

I was amused by Jackie's comment that the Marin County Library was 
willing to purchase any book she suggested. If all public libraries 
operated within a tax base like Marin County (one of the wealthiest 
areas in the United States), more people could enjoy that privilege. 
Here in Oregon, at least one county has had to shut down its public 
libraries recently because of falling revenue.

Regarding Marek's problem getting access to botanical journals, you 
will find that if you search for information on a particular plant, 
you often end up at a journal site such as JStor, where you can read 
only the abstracts unless you are a subscriber. Most university 
libraries subscribe to these services, so if you can get access to 
their terminals you can read or even print out the articles there. 
Some universities extend such access to alumni, too. Individual 
subscriptions to journal and reference sites are quite expensive, but 
the institutions pay far more; however, it is a great saving in shelf 
space as well as paper and shipping. It is sometimes possible, 
though, to get access to a journal article by searching out the 
author's personal web page (often part of an institutional website), 
where he or she may have posted the article -- or be willing to 
supply a digital copy if asked nicely.

Finally, if anybody wants to know about "fair use," I can explain that.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

Jim Waddick wrote:
>         Perhaps this is time for the PBS to step in. Regular book
>sellers expect a very low number of sales of expensive specialized
>books, thus you will find no discounts at amazon or barnes/noble. ,
>But, even when a book is published at a seemingly high price to a
>small specialized audience, the publisher is often quite willing to
>make a deal for a quantity purchase to a direct targeted audience.
>         I suggest someone from PBS approach Kew Publications and see
>if they can negotiate a discount for a quantity of books.   I did
>this for a book from Oxford Univ. Press a year or so ago for another

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