Friday, February 18, 2011


A few years ago I was on a book tour with Michael Blake (author of Dances with Wolves). Our mutual agent set up our schedule; notifying Borders and Barns & Noble plus some independents. This was all planned out. Michael was promoting his newest book, INDIAN YELL and I was signing and selling PARTNERS. We paid our own expenses; airfare, car rental, hotels and meals. We also paid for the advertising. Without exception, we’d arrive at Borders or B&N and a large number of people were there to buy books (mostly because of Michael) but there were very few books on the shelf – 50 people in line to buy our books and the store only ordered 12 of Michaels and 4 of mine? This was a guaranteed deal for them – authors signing books. Book stores are allowed to return unsold books! So it’s really very little risk for them. SOoooo, the dummies are gonna go bankrupt. They owe billions and a lot of people will be out of work. I should be gloating but it’s bad for authors. Unfortunately, this will cause a domino effect. Publishers and book printers had to cater to these people. All the books in all the stores will be returned to the publishers. What will that do? Yep, cause financial chaos and the ones who are financially marginal will crash and burn. A few of the larger publishing houses will hesitate to take on new titles because the same may happen to B&N. The big box business model the last twenty years wiped out most of the independents. Where are they gonna sell books?
ON-LINE or by eBook.
One would think that as an e-book author I would see this as a good thing. Perhaps in the short run but over the long haul, I believe the book industry will suffer. Fiction and non-fiction will survive but what about the coffee table books? Children’s books? Libraries?
I suspect the book industry will be re-invented over time. Independent bookstores may fill the gap between on-line and e-book. But personally, I believe the authors lose in the long run.

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