Finding a safe place on today's book publishing battlefield is no easy task; more so, charting a growth position for an uncertain future. For example, bookstores, mainly the large and regional chain stores, which have long been the mainstays of retail book sales, are disappearing at an alarming rate (a la Borders and now Barnes and Noble). The dwindling 3,000 small, independent bookstores are being heavily stressed to stay open as well. But that's nothing new -- it's been coming for a long time and it hasn't yet played out. No, it's much bigger than that. What are some of the major hurtles I see facing publishers like Savant today?

IT'S THE ECONOMY, not just locally, state-wide, regionally and nationally, but internationally as well. And, hey, that's being "fixed," isn't it? I don't think so. The only fixes I see these days are quick, easy tactical ones that, in-the-end, are strategically lacking. Only multi-national corporations are poised to survive, and then, largely based on constant public monetary infusions from the heavily-burdened middle class.

We're supposed to be moving to a more classless society, aren't we? If so, then it's a move from a large middle class with a small, lower (or "entrance") class, to a small but infinitely rich upper class, with a contracting middle class, and a rapidly increasing destitute lower class. No, it's not the economy, it's fallout from the war going on between the large super-national corporations whose sole goal is increasing profits, and who's new motto is weirdly similar that of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Take everything, give nothing back. I'm not against super-national corporations per se, it's their unflagging pursuit of power, control and ultimately world market domination that's causing the problem and this is unlikely to go away anytime soon. And, while the big dinosaurs fight, the small mammals scurry about simply trying to survive -- waiting for the dinosaurs kill each other off. That's where, at this moment in time, I see most small businesses, including most small, independent publishers.

IT'S RESISTANCE TO MUCH-NEEDED INNOVATION, but, of course, that's hard argue, given the unprecedented speed of innovation going on all about us in today's society. We have more innovations presenting in our society than we have uses for them. The problem isn't resistance to new innovation per se, but resistance to key innovation in situations where large, heavily-vested, monetary interests already exist. Like "petroleum-based energy." Like "automobile-based transportation." Like "tax-based governance." Like the new emphasis on the "business" of medicine, education, and welfare, rather than the desperately needed human services. There's simply so much potential profit still to be squeezed from these situations, that it feels frightening to let key innovation happen.

IT'S THE MARKET. Notice I didn't mention "investment" anywhere above. That's because, through some of the most subtle and targeted advertising ever, the word no longer retains it's original meaning. Investment used to mean providing principal to an effort, in hope of excess return, but with the principal guaranteed. The U. S. government initiated FDIC "insurance" in an attempt to stave off the total disappearance of "investment" in the financial markets, and, even so, today, investment is simply a synonym for "gambling," that is, providing principal to an effort with the hope of return of principal and maybe increased return. Maybe. In today's "investment" sector, there are few instances where principal is, in fact, guaranteed. Gambling, under the pseudonym of "investment" has become so endemic as to become a foundation of business: to do business today, it is expected that the business will raise capital by "gambling" with other folks money under the guise of investment.

READERS ARE "NATURALLY" CHANGING FROM READERS TO WATCHERS; that is, there's a massive ongoing shift from the printed word (aka "books") to more pleasurable, mult-sensory-engaging audiovideo presentations (aka "movies" and "video games"). What can I say? It certainly looks that way. Is it really a "natural" shift made possible by increasing audiovideo technology, or an "unnatural" one being impressed on folks in an attempt to "develop" these new high-tech markets?  I think both. With the introduction of "self-publishing," the quality of books continues to drop to the point where even I, a devoted lover of books, am loathe to pay for a book, or, for that matter, accept a "free" read these days. That's not to lay blame on the "self-publishing" movement, after all, publishers were, like other mega-corporations, resisting anything new for authors and works that had a million-dollar sales history, thus limiting the introduction of new material. But, that is to lay blame with publishers, as well as distributors and large chain booksellers who no longer even know their individual products.

I've tried my best to introduce a new business model that addresses each of the above, and to put it into practice with Savant Books and Publications:

It may indeed be the economy, but I've structured Savant to do well in times of plenty and in times of poor. Everyone's income within Savant is based on net item sales, without restriction on how high it can be. I've introduced the concept of a full-service publication house that offers no-fee, royalty-paying "in-house" publishing, "in-house" distribution at better rates than most large distributors, and even our own unique Savant outlet bookstores.

It may indeed be the resistance to much-needed innovation; however, at Savant we innovate anyway. Our innovations run from printing books, CDs and DVDs "on-demand, to genre/topic merchandising, to "popup" bookstores, to the creation of aBooks.

It may be the market and current business approaches, but at Savant we're "in the black" and remain so, growing "organically" as profits dictate. We invest in publicity and marketing in a way that we always get return of our investment principal, and commonly, more, by encouraging those involved to be involved sharing the work, risk and rewards.

Readers may be moving from books to eBooks and to audio-video productions, but we believe as a company that if the reading material is enduring, literary quality, "with a twist" that, in the end broadens a reader's world point of view, our products will by their nature re-engage reader interest. All this while offering new writers the opportunity to present their best work to a traditional-style publishing "family" irrespective of whether he or she has an agent or not.

Savant Books and Publications is well-poised for whatever the future brings, and is uniquely positioned to slowly grow until the right moment presents, and then to take-off and soar. If you're interested in literacy and the written word, consider joining the Savant team as an author, poet, musician, audio-video producer, editor, proofreader, cover artist, or bookseller.