Without further ado:
Anonymous @ 10:15 AM asks: "How much input does Sales have with titles and covers?"
A lot, especially if it's backed up with the magic words "the buyer(s) hate/love this cover/title for XYZ reason(s)." If all the buyers at the major chains and the bigger indies hate a cover, it'll probably be sent back.
Anonymous @ 10:58 AM asks: "If most books don't earn out, how do editors calculate the advance they offer?"
I'll get back to you on this one, and don't let me forget. I've got a P&L/acquisitions class later this fall and will pass my hard-earned education on to you.
Monkey Mama asks: "Who drinks more, sales or marketing folks?"
Rogue Novelist asks: "How many trees were downed to accomodate [the trillions of manuscripts that are trashed daily]?"
Well, apparently the US book publishing industry uses about 30 million trees each year, so somewhere in that neighborhood.
Thomas Taylor asks: "What ever happened to [the Espresso Book Machine]?"
As Jenny noted, the Espresso Book Machine is alive and well! More to come on this interesting device.
Marianne asks: "I'm curious about the jobs of buyers and whether they exist all over the country or if there are only a few (in NY?) who buy for all the stores in the U.S. (I'm talking the major chains like Barnes and Noble). How might one become a buyer? Thanks!"
So sorry to have missed your question, Marianne. The answer is that buyers exist for major chains and retailers wherever those corporate offices are (for B&N, New York City; for Borders, Ann Arbor, Michigan, &c). Indie stores have their own buyers, often the owners.
Becoming a buyer at a major account is difficult work, and many buyers have been editors/agents/book sales reps/other significant figures in the industry for a number of years before becoming buyers. If you're interested, you can periodically check the corporate job listings for Barnes & Noble and Borders to see if anything that interests you crops up.
More to come on Monday!