What the Fire Meant to Reedy Authors


Various friends and relatives may have questions about how the fire in the Reedy Press warehouse affects me. Here’s my explanation.

All of my books were burned in the fire.  I didn’t have insurance,  but I and the other Reedy Press authors didn’t need it.

Let me explain.

They were our books, but they were our publisher’s books. We signed contracts with Reedy Press to write the books. They paid for editing, production and printing and then put the final product in the Reedy Press warehouse. They get their money from sales to stores, Amazon, etc. and pay us a royalty based on a percentage of sales.  We also get money from buying our books from Reedy at a good wholesale rate and then selling them at presentations and signings.

I know this sounds complicated, but that’s how traditional publishing works.

Reedy Press took the loss. We didn’t. They’ve got insurance, although I don’t have all the details. We didn’t have insurance because we didn’t need it.

Back in 2001, I got insurance to cover the 4,400 copies of a book I was self-publishing.  But this is different. We’re contractors, not proprietors.

Any loss for me would come from not being able to sell my books during the busy Christmas season and losing royalty money. However, Reedy is looking at doing reprints that may be available in January or earlier. I’m considering a way to limit that by selling gift certificates redeemable when the reprints come in. So my loss may not be too big. I welcome your prayers for all of us, including Reedy Press.

Does that help?


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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