We found out a few days ago that Shocklines is closing down. Matt’s made the public announcement so I can post about it now. It’s sad to see a staple of the scene shut down. Shocklines was the first to carry our books and I’ve enjoyed working with Matt since the beginning.

I really admire the way he’s chosen to bring things to a close though. He decided he was in over his and head but he’s not just shucking his responsibilites. He’ll make sure that all the customers get the books they’ve pre-order and all the publishers get paid which means he’ll still be running the store for 6 months to a year. He also plans to keep up the Shocklines newsletter and do what he can to spread the word about new titles.

All that being said, the landscape for small press horror looks kind of grim right now; first ProjectPulp, then Clarkesworld and now Shocklines. I wonder if there will be any new stores to take their place? Luckily for us sales for most of our titles have been growing through other sources.

On a personal level, I really feel for what Matt is going through. As he described it, the business just got too big for him but not big enough to cover extra employees. He felt if he spent all his time he could make it work but it was a lonely, miserable place to be. I think he’s making the right decision but what a tough one! When you work so long and hard on a dream it has to be hard to let it go. Running a business is difficult and when things go wrong you only have yourself to blame. It can be easy to get depressed and lose sight of the good things.


  1. Re: Bust @ Amazon

    Haven’t looked into it too much, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be cost efficient. Think I would need to buy some ISBN numbers to sell single issues. Could sell subscriptions since I have an ISSN, but I’ve always thought that Amazon took 60% of the sale (maybe Jen could correct me), and if that’s true, I’d probably end up losing money since I try to keep the cover price low.

  2. Anonymous

    Re: Bust @ Amazon

    We did use a program on Amazon for awhile called Amazon Advantage. You can get a lot of the info about it at http://www.amazon.com/publishers. It does require your product to have an ISBN though and there is $29.95 yearly fee. They also want 55%.

  3. Re: Bust @ Amazon

    It’s pretty mind-boggling that Amazon makes more money off a sale than a publisher (although I guess it’s not much more, but they don’t have to deal with production costs). Suppose that’s the reason why small press books seem so expensive, at least before the discount that Amazon gives their customers. Don’t really know how that works.

    It’s probably too late to get an ISBN for the next issue since I just received the proof. May consider using Amazon Advantage for the following one.

    So I’m assuming that the usual way books get listed, Amazon deals with the distributor rather than directly through the publisher? And Amazon Advantage is all about working directly through the publisher?

    Why don’t you use the program anymore? Afterbirth tried it out. Seemed to have some problems with it, like having books that were available listed as being unavailable.

  4. It’ll be interesting to see how many small presses survive. Especially those whose entire marketing scheme seems to be spamming the message board.

  5. Yeah, I’ve been wondering that myself. Early on with RDSP Shocklines was our primary source for sales and we could have continued to focus on special editions, chapbooks and other non-mainstream formats. But to tell the truth it was so much work too get a special edition done that I couldn’t bare the fact that it might only be read by 100 collectors.. It also didn’t seem fair to the author. But that business model seems to have been working for quite a few small presses.

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