A disturbing number of writers are apparently being effectively blacklisted by bookstore chains, even though some of these writers’ books sell pretty well. Gregory Frost witnessed this first-hand when good sales and repeat printings for his novel Shadowbridge weren’t enough to induce a U.S. chain to stock the sequel, Lord Tophet (actually the second half of what should have been one long single volume, but that’s another story). Greg rises above the level of rant to explore why this might be so:
The publisher is required by its owner to turn out bestsellers with assembly line regularity. The dying megastores need the extra income at the same time that they have begun to winnow other titles by those already handicapped authors. In the frenzy of rewards and discounts and product placement, the entire industry has completely lost sight of what it once was in business to provide: Good books. We the readers are the ultimate losers in this rigged game.
My solution is no different than all the writers who’ve shouted from the battlements before me: Buy your books from independent bookstores; the ones that have survived the onslaught, the ones that we hope will arise to fill the gap.
Writers pre-published and otherwise, of course, have an even better motive to support indies. The chains are not our friends. They limit your choices — and your purchases pour money into a dying business model anyway. Whatever chains may be today, they are not the future.
[In my next life, I’d like to be a cat in a bookstore by Glynnis Ritchie]