Mountain N' Air Books
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Mountain N' Air Books was created out of necessity. We had just closed our sporting goods store—we sold Outdoors clothing and equipment. Cross country skis, climbing, hiking gear, and had an excellent books/maps section within the store—and had grown used to regular meals, clothing and permanent shelter.
Mountain N' Air Sports retail shop was open for exactly 10 years to the date of its closure. On April 1st 1985 we locked the doors. Paid all our bills, turn the keys to the landlord and left with decade-long lesson and an idea.
I needed a job!
The bookshelves and map cases occupy only 15% of the total store space in sporting goods store, and the books and maps inventory value was less then 10% of the goods for sale in the entire place, turning over about 9 or ten times a year. It was the most profitable department.
Purchasing and maintaining over 2500 titles, from no less then 200 publisher who resented making small shipments of one or two titles. The cost of freight and writing purchase order was an absurd. The seeds of an idea fell in fertile grounds.
Remember, I needed the job.
We started Mountain N' Air Books, specializing in selling outdoors and travel books to Outdoor Retailers and other Booksellers. Today we serve a handful of excellent clients by helping them control and maintain a balanced inventory of books and maps. We also became publishers.
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We're Now Publishers
Mountain N' Air Books published its first title, Rock and Roses, climbing and mountaineering stories told by some of the best women climbers in the world. Edited by Professor Mikel Vause. This title is now on its second edition. Sixteen new essays were added to the original book.
Rock and Roses was the first climbing book to be published in the USA, to carry on the women views of what had been a male dominated sport.
Mountain N' Air Books Publish in Full Color.
Distant Lands Travel Bookstore and Outfitters contract us to do they full color 32 pages catalog.
Since then we honed our skills and relationships with several printers and mailing houses, and now we can offer full services, working with the client from conception of the project, through designing, scanning, building it up, contracting and supervising printing, to the mailing of the pieces to the consumer's mailbox.
Mountain N' air Books Becomes One of the First Publishers to Publish On Demand.
That is when a book is published electronically, and files are stored in computers and made available to participating booksellers and libraries around the globe, in anticipation of consumer's demand for the book. Titles published on demand, theoretically, can be made available everywhere on earth, at once.
When a reader requests a POD title the bookstore can print a fresh copy within minutes—the book will look like a regular printed volume—while the customer grabs a cup of coffee or latte next door. Libraries can do it too.
Well that is how it is suppose to happen, but for now, just some of the larger distributors on earth are saving lots of money in warehouse space by using POD . There are a handful of stores around the country utilizing the technology today. The price of the equipment that will allow your neighborhood store to participate has dropped from 2 million dollars to eight hundred thousands to as little as forty thousand dollars in less then two years. The 40K machines produces books as good as the big equipment, and there are several private ftp-sites in the world that maintain hundreds of thousands of books on files already.
Established and Slowly Growing
After experiencing a few growing pains, decide on a slow growth strategy. Slowly moving forward and gaining market strengh. We decide to select our business partners carefully. We reduced the number of accounts we served, carefully chose our suppliers and renew our initial intents of best service our accounts and customers, and being more selective of what we publish.
Mountain N' Air Books is amongst a handful of pioneers of the book industry to embrace the publishing on demand method.
The POD publishing method requires very little capital outlay for the publication of a book. Does not require large warehouses, is free of freight, and it is instantaneous.
New authors are now able to launch and control their own carriers. (We can help authors with that too).
Digital Publishing and distribution.
I know many of you will read this and express your love for the written words, and your preference to read a printed book to an electronic reading device, but the path has been set in this electronic age of the virtual books, available instantly to your handheld tablet, cellular phone or computer.
Like it or not, this is the way it is going to be, from now into the future.
Mountain N’ Air Books will continue to distribute printed books and maps for as long as we have demand for them. And we are looking for a way to continue to be involved, and involve other booksellers in the process of publishing and distributing digital publications.
The tools are out there, we just have to find a working model that will work to most of us.