Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Bring About Your Own Demise

I'm going out on a limb here with a pretty startling statement...

"Book sales drive this industry."

I know, I know, I might be a bit out there on that one, but it is true. No seriously, sales do drive this business.

As I look around at writers that are struggling, or book stores that are going out of business, I have to return to that single phrase that book sales do run the business. Sure that seems obvious but the demise that I started this blog out with is really coming from many of you as well as a couple of other small issues that I'll bring up later.

1) SHARING BOOKS - This one really infuriates me as an agent who wants to see his authors make sales. Let's say one of your relatives buys one of your books and, like a good relative, loves the book. They believe in you, they say, and they want to see your sales go up. So they "pass the book on" to their other relatives. Now this might seem insignificant, but everytime they pass it to another relative, that is one sale that does not happen. Of all the people out there, they should be buying your books. Not a discount. Not at a "family gets it for free rate." They should be paying and you should be encouraging it!

2) USED BOOK STORES AND BOOK EXCHANGES - Yes, I know times are tough. Yes, I know these stores are independent and small businesses which we do need to invest in. HOWEVER, when you buy a book that is "used" there are no profits ever returning to the author. What is worse, is that those sales are NEVER recorded with the publisher. Remember, your sales determine whether or not the publisher wants to continue with your contract. Look, I am not saying to avoide these stories. In many cases, they have new books that they got from the distributer. Buy those.

3) E-Books vs. Print - Hmmmm, which one makes more money. I am always amazed at how many people wait for the book to come out on e-book because it is cheaper. Sure, but does that help out the author? No! Sure they do get some of the profit, but in the end, it is less than the print copies. And where do we get these from? Not those book stores we want so desperately to stay open. We get them from those external sites, some of which aren't connected with a book store directly.

The point is, if you want to see the book stores stay open, as authors, you need to be the first to get out there and start shopping IN the stores. I don't want to hear the ease of shopping factor. I don't want to hear about the cost. Make an effort!

Bookstores need your business to stay open. Do something about it!



  1. I was just about to blog about a similar topic!!

  2. I see your points--but at the same time, when I take a risk on a new author, or an author I haven't read before, I usually prefer to borrow from the library or a friend, or buy the book used or discounted. If I like it, I become a loyal buyer. If not--well, I don't. So--is there any value in these outlets as long-term marketting elements?