Tuesday, July 1, 2008

If You Want To Keep It Use It!

1 comment:

Gladys Hobson said...

Keep what? Your Independent Bookseller!
If you want to keep it — use it!
This excellent piece of advice applies to many things in life. Not least to our buying books from Independent Booksellers. Why, when we can get books cheaper elsewhere? I can give a number of reasons why.
They are supportive of new talent. It is incredibly difficult for new writers to find a publisher. As a general rule, publishers are only interested in books that have the potential to be blockbusters. To a certain extent it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They have the power to push their products with thousands spent on promotion. Many excellent writers, often of niche genres, turn to self-publishing as the only means of getting their work noticed and read. Sometimes this has led to mainline publishers taking it over. But the catch is that it takes a lot of sales or excellent reviews by notable reviewers to bring the book to the notice of publishers like Random House.
Here is another catch. Very few branches of major booksellers will stock self-published books. Hence, the value of Independents.
Independents are usually helpful and friendly places to visit. They are ready to order books and go to long lengths to find what is wanted.
I have read that two Independent Bookshops close down every week. This is sad. A wonderful prize-winning bookshop in a Derbyshire market town, closed down after only a few years. It had so much going for it: an attached coffee shop, a wide range of books on two floors, friendly staff, regular author signings and everything you could possibly ask for. (They tried out one of my books and went on to sell 28.) But with competition from the “Big Boys’ in publishing who have plenty of clout, price-cutting Super Stores, market stalls and charity shops, obviously it became too difficult for their business to be viable. The pattern is repeated all over the country.
Do we want to have our choice narrowed? Or be told what to read through expensive promotional techniques? Do we want everything in our lives to be determined by big business?
The first week of July 2008 is Independent Booksellers week. Our Ulverston bookshop is hosting a number of authors who are signing their books. The Tinners’ Rabbit Bookshop on Market Street is a great place to visit: full of character and with friendly staff. I will be signing books on July 8th 10am-noon. See you there?
(Note: All of my books can be ordered over the internet from The Tinners’ Rabbit Bookshop: bookshop@thetinnersrabbit.co.uk)
My publishing website is http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk