Monday, August 25, 2014

A Campaign To Get Books To The Readers - A Challenge!

If you're like me, it has been pretty dang frustrating being able to get my hands on a book to read. Where I live, it was great because there was a Borders just 5 minutes from my house. If I wanted a book, I could just buzz in and pick one up.

And then they were gone.

So I turned to my local stores such as Walmart and the local grocery store. I could almost always find something there. But now, the stores are replacing the book shelves with "seasonal items". Instead of reading, I can now pick up a 12th Man Banner to stick someplace and celebrate the start of the NFL season.

For many of us, we are stuck with either ordering a book online. But now we run into two issues. The first is for those of us who still like to read a REAL book with REAL pages. Now we have to wait for it to show up. Look, if I want a book to read, I don't want to wait 5-7 Business days for it to arrive. So I can try the second approach and order an e-book, but now I am forced to  read it on a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader. While this is certainly convenient, it doesn't replace that great feel of a book.

I am tired of hearing all of the excuses of why the books are not there for the readers. In publishing, the readers are our lifeline. If they aren't reading because the books are not there, we lose out as writers, agents and publishers. Our product is just not selling.

I started thinking about this last weekend and the gears started to turn. We simply need to convince those book sellers (the stores, the book stores and so forth) to get those books back on the shelf. This isn't going to be something a single person can do. It will take a massive effort. I figure if ALS can create a huge campaign of raising money with people dumping ice water on their heads, we can do the same things with getting books back on the shelf. This needs to go viral if we want it to work.

So here's the thought...

I say we start getting letters to the stores around us. Demand the books are put back on the shelf. I don't care where they get them from, just get the dang things back on the shelf. I've even drafted a small note (see below) that can probably be copied and put on 5x8 note cards for even more mass distribution.

But wait, we can do even more. I say we start to push Barnes and Noble and the book stores to open up more stores. Barnes and Noble could easily do this. We don't need the full size stores offering a gift section or coffee shop - these can be "extension stores". Heck, call them Barnes and Noble Mini. What do they sell? Books!

As someone in the publishing business, we have to be more proactive about getting our products sold to the consumers. I think we have all (writers, publishers and agents) taken a too passive approach to selling the books. We tossed them out there in the hopes people would buy them. That has to change.

So let's make that change!

Feel free to take this letter below and copy it off. Carry these around with you all of the time and hand them out. Let's get this to go viral!

Dear Store Manager,

I am a reader. I like to read books and unfortunately, your store has either eliminated the books from being available to readers, or have significantly reduced the supply of books to make way for other things that may sell quicker. Consumers are often told to just ask the store manager if they want to get a particular item and the store can "special order" it. So I am asking.

I want books!

Reading is not just something people do when they are bored. Reading promotes learning, discussion and a sense of community. By decreasing or eliminating books from your store, what is it that you are promoting.

I am therefore requesting my "special order". I don't just want one book, I want books to choose from. I can promise you there are readers out there. They will buy the books if they are available. This is very much like the line from A FIELD OF DREAMS. "If you build it, they will come."


A Concerned Reader

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