Saturday, June 21, 2014

Books, Publishing, Wobbularity

This:
How many of you in the past twenty years or so went into a chain book store and came out with no books and disappointed?  You remembered perfectly well going to the convenience store around the corner and against your will spending your last dime on a paperback because it looked so good, but now here you were, in a chain store, surrounded by metric miles of books and unable to find anything you even wanted to look at.
     Yep.  RTWT.

13 comments:

Sdv1949 said...

Thanks for the link, it was awesome.

Overload in Colorado said...

This seems to mesh with the whole Hugo deal, as well as blogs from Larry and Marko.
The Hugo deal hits this from another direction: if the Big 6 are only publishing PC books, all the authors should be PC.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Why I quit going to the bookstore. I was probably single-handedly responsible for the closure of the Borders at Keystone at the Crossing...:-/

Tam said...

I must confess to being caught off-guard by her saying she couldn't find anything to read in book stores in the '90s...

No Stephenson or Gibson? Stirling or Sterling? Turtledove or Drake or Weber or Bujold? No Hogan or Koman or PourNiven or... well, I could go on. ;)

jefferson101 said...

I can read a few of your list, but some of them leave me stone cold, and if you read very much, you will run out fairly soon.

And now? The Fantasy pretty much all sucks, and what passes for Sci-Fi is mostly dredged from the bottom of a septic tank. Pournelle and Niven are the exceptions that prove the rule that most of the folks who write Sci-Fi nowadays don't know enough about Science to use a GPS or Google. And that's all I'm going to say about that one.

I'm like the article suggests. When I was in College, and for a few years thereafter, I'd skip lunch to get a paperback out of the rack at the store. Nowadays? I can spend an hour in the bookstore, and walk out with nothing, unless I go to the History or Biography sections, and those are getting fairly poor too.

I got to get me a Kindle so I can do this whole E-Book thing. I'm about to decide that it's not just a passing fad like CD's or Cassettes were, and go ahead and jump on it. I still do hard copy, in general.

Bear said...

"I must confess to being caught off-guard by her saying she couldn't find anything to read in book stores..."

Didn't surprise me. I've experienced it enough that I haven't been in a chain bookstore in... 7-8 years? You mentioned Hogan- I went to a B&N looking for one of his books (Anguished Dawn maybe, don't recall for sure). They didn't have any Hogan books. At all. I browsed the shelves for something/anything, alone in the SF/fantasy section. Most of what I could find were reprints of stuff I disliked years before, lefty existentialist crap, military SF (which I mostly hate; personal preference) and shelf after shelf of series garbage that never did interest me.

My all time favorite book store was an indie shop in Alamogordo, NM. I'd go in every week, sometimes twice a week. Half the time I didn't need to hit the shelves (but did anyway) because the owner would set stuff aside for me as he unpacked the latest shipment. As soon as I walked in the clerk would pull out a bundle of books from under the counter and call out, "Carl, [forgot his name] thinks you'll like these!" As I recall, he was always right. (Granted, I may have been one of -- if not the -- his best customers; I was buying 10-20 books a week. Occasionally more. Books were my biggest expense after rent.)

Roberta X said...

"Books were my biggest expense after rent." +100! Guilty as charged, your Honor -- and proud of it.

Tam said...

The key words there were "...in the '90s."

As far as the "...haven't been in a chain bookstore in 7-8 years", don't worry. Give it another year or two and you never will again, unless Bibles-A-Million remains the world's largest hobby business longer than it should. Amazon is doing for the big boxes what the big boxes did for the local independents.

Robin said...

Barnes & Noble will die soon but they will because of their own actions more than Amazon's.

B&N ceded control of their shelves to publishers and only belatedly tried to figure out how to follow their customers desires.

Robin said...

Up for some weapons grade Krazy?

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/may/29/self-publishing-revolutionary-reactionary-authorpreneurialism

Tam said...

That... made no sense whatsoever. :o

Robin said...

What's more frightening, IMO, is that the author of that incoherent screed is convinced that he's brilliant ...

Mark Philip Alger said...

I must confess to being caught off-guard by her saying she couldn't find anything to read in book stores in the '90s.

As I'm sure you get, Sarah's engaged in a SLIGHT bit of hyperbole, there. But the deep truth is that the volume of available Good Stuff™ dropped off sharply. And also, too, but, any number of my favorite mid-list authors appeared to drop off the scene. Did they quite writing? No. The publishers even bought their rights. They just did a 5,000-copy lay down that stayed in the boxes at the (chain) store and got returned. And counted against the author's permanent sales record.

The 1990's may have been hard for readers, but it was the graveyard of many a mid-list writer's career. One example: PC Hodgell.

M