Thursday, December 06, 2012
For The Love Of The Book
I heard an interesting conversation the other day. An independent bookstore owner said he was sick and tired of folks coming into his store just to check out what they can buy on Amazon.
Really. Who does that?
Why do people use the bookstore as a showroom for Amazon? Well, the answer is simple. Price. And unfortunately, the "look inside" feature on Amazon is not enough for some folk. They like to see the book first. Sounds crazy, but it's true.
Unless, of course, you buy e-books. But that's another story.
Just like everything else, the cost of a book has gone up. I had to sympathize with the store owner, and yet we all know it's a dying business. Personally, I love the bookstore experience. Browsing, taking my time to leaf through books, the smell of coffee, the soft chair to sit and read a chapter or two. Discovering a new author and buying that debut novel! I love it. And I've begun to use Amazon as a place to find books I want to buy in bookstores. It's my own personal fight to keep the brick and mortar stores alive as long as possible.
I remember when my publisher was debating on whether or not to make my novel, Televenge, a hardback or trade. Hardback novels, especially for debut novels, are "prestigious" and supposed to show a certain amount of "class" for the author. It's been said that some of the bigger book reviewers won't even review a trade. But these times ... they are a-changin'.
Televenge in hardback would've cost upward to around $35.00. It's 580 pages, after all. My concern ... I wanted people to buy it! Some readers only have so much money in their book budget. So we decided on trade paperback, at the low cost of $19.95. What a deal. And I still got reviewed by The Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.
You've heard me say it before, but I love the feel and smell of paper and ink. A book you can hold in your hands, whether old or new, is a wondrous thing. That's not to say that e-books aren't great, because they are. They've got their place and lots of folks love them. But the entire bookstore experience is what I'm talking about today. Before it all goes away, like Blockbuster video and Woolworth's, enjoy your time in your nearest independent bookstore. Buy birthday, Christmas, and Mother's Day gifts from your local book merchant. Browse the store, notice the little things, the smells, the feel of the books, the light in the room, burn it into your memory. Because one day, that's all it will be. A memory.
Blessings to you and yours.