Thursday, February 20, 2014

Giving Money To Bookstores Is Not The Solution, But Thank You Anyway

This morning, as I was listening to NPR, I heard the story that James Patterson would be giving a huge sum of money to independent bookstores article on this fantastic donation, it got me thinking.

While I do love the fact that Mr. Patterson is giving back to a business and an industry that has really helped him get to where he is now, I think those of us in the industry need to be aware that we were part of that problem. We cannot blame the business models of bookstores. We cannot blame the government or other groups for the struggles bookstores are having. We have to look to our own habits. Think about it.

Although we scream and yell about how the big mean and scary monster of Amazon is picking on the industry, go and examine the links you as authors put on your webpages to promote books. I think you will find that many are linking those titles to the organization we are afraid of. In this case, it is very similar to complaining about the Canadian Geese doing their business all across our parks, and yet we sit out there and feed the pretty birdies.

Although we scream and yell about how we cannot find bookstores any more, think of the number of authors and publishers who are now moving to an entirely digital format for their books.

I know authors justify their actions by saying things such as, "I just want to promote sales and I am not getting paid enough from the publishers!" That might be true, but we have to ask, where do the publishers get the money from to pay the author? From book sales and yes, print books are going to bring in more revenue for you... but we are steering the readers away.

And now we are faced with bookstores closing because of those decreased sales. For myself, I have to drive 30-45 minutes to get to the nearest Barnes and Noble (my Borders that was 8 minutes from my house closed in the first round). If I want a book, I am simply stuck.

I am sorry to say this, but many readers are also part of this equation. I have said this before, but I will say it again. If you like a particular author, you need to support that author and that author's publisher by buying that book in a retail store. Sure, used bookstores are fun, but the only one who makes the profit is that store owner. No money is making it to the publisher or the author. And yes, the same goes for those great "lending libraries" we see in gyms and lunchrooms.

Maybe this is a chicken before the egg issue. I don't know? I do applaud Mr. Patterson for making this move, however, I think this is simply a band-aid. We are not really addressing the issue.

It is now the end of February. I challenge all of us involved in the publishing industry to start to promote getting those books back into the hands of the readers. We can do it!

1 comment:

  1. This certainly is food for thought! Thanks for a good wake-up call.