Okay I know that I made an extra post this week in order to vent about something that has been bothering me. And if you want my opinion of the responsibility of self-publishers when it come to their work read here. I had planned out a lot of things that I wanted to do with this blog before I started. None of my ideas included venting my frustrations. However in this case my frustration connects directly with what this blog is about. Books.
Earlier this week a friend had mentioned online that his new book will be out at the end of the month. It is the sixth book in a series and I have only had the chance to read the first three. I decided since I needed to get out of the house I would go over to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of the forth book. Now to clarify this is an author who is being published by one of the major publishing houses. In the past I have had no trouble locating his books in bookstores, although sometimes they don’t have the one I am looking to pick up available. I stopped off at the local Barnes & Nobles, and immediately went to the section the book should have been in. Scanning to his name in the alphabet I could not locate any of his books. So I checked an other section that it might have been in. No sign of any of his books. I went to Customer Service and checked. They did not have a copy of the book I was looking for in stock at that or any other of their stores in the area. The nice young lady that helped me offered to order it for me. I declined and told her I would check elsewhere and if I could not find it would let her know. Up until this point I was not bothered or annoyed
I headed out and tried to think of where the nearest other bookstore was located. I was not sure so I decided to just head over to the nearest mall and see if the bookstore there carrier what I wanted. I made my way over and found a good parking space, went inside and located a directory of the mall. Bookstores were listed in the section with gifts & accessories. Brookstones, Spencer’s, and two different tobacco shops, but no bookstore.
Anyone who knew my brother and I growing up will understand We were always stopping off at the local bookstore. Whether it was the one downtown or at the local mall. I remember days spent after high school sitting on the floor in the back of the
store reading the first chapter of a book before I purchased it. To this day I can tell you the exact location of the bookstore in three different malls that I have not been in for twenty years. Of course they probably aren’t there any more. What will surprise more people probably is that I am writing this at all. I am the one who for years has screamed the virtue of ebooks. I have owned a kindle since before most people knew what they were, and yes I did end up buying the book on my kindle.
This is not a rant about the loss of books to ebook, and it is not about the lack of competition in bookstores. The market has not changed enough that it has caused what I am talking about. A mall is the first place that many people in this country go to shop.
I lament the fact that it is not a higher priority for a mall to have a bookstore to service it’s customers. Their are several different Movie theaters in most towns in this country. Hollywood puts out enough movies to have dozens of screens per cinema, but the people are not clamoring to have more bookstores. I makes me doubt the times we are living in.