10 Comments

  1. Great post, Sean! I remember a few bookstores in our town when I was young, or store with book sections. I could browse for hours! Heck, my beta reader and I still do, but we only have one store big enough to do it in.
    I never, ever looked at reviews. I still don’t. I pick a book off the shelf and test read. Or click the handy “look inside” button online.
    What’s the fate of our Word World? I’m not sure, but I will always read, and I will always write.

  2. so true about the what amazon did with books. Pizza and a book… you might be onto something 🙂 I don’t know of any independent book stores in my area. There are a few used book stores, but even they are suffering because it is so much easier and cheaper to buy online. Used book stores sell books 1/2 off the cover price, but you can go find an online bookseller selling it for $.01 + $3 shipping and you don’t have to leave your house. I miss browsing too.

  3. Good observations, Sharon. See … I think bookstores need to make book browsing the “in” think, you know? Our big local indie bookseller here in Saskatoon is McNally Robinson Booksellers. They really do think outside the box.

  4. Jill Rowan

    Yep, what you said. I’m becoming increasingly dejected, wondering whether it’s really worth all the poverty and misery to achieve my dream of being a successful – as well as published – writer. I’m sick of having to think about book sales (or in my case the lack of them) and how to obtain them, and what works and what doesn’t. As the corny old phrase goes, I just want to write.

    What used to make me buy books in the ‘old days’? Yes, it was browsing. Initially I joined ‘The Book of the Month Club’ (now that was a long time ago!) and browsed their mag for books I wanted – hardbacks at that time. Then it was bookshops, and endless browsing for maybe my whole lunch break. I could spend many hours in a SF bookshop – and sometimes did. I borrowed library books as well, but there were many books I wanted to own, to read again. And there still are. Mostly I borrowed library books of non-fiction, but when I did take out fiction books that again was from browsing, from looking through the shelves, taking my time and picking up those that sounded interesting.

    I suppose the contemporary method with Amazon is looking at ‘people who bought this book also bought’, or looking at the top selling books, but there’s no real replacement for those bookshop and library shelves, is there?

  5. Cynthia W

    I don’t know what the answer is – I used to love browsing at Barnes and Noble and then they just added too much other stuff and not enough books. Plus, it seems like they were always pricey – unless I could find something on the bargain shelves.

    I don’t mind paying more at an Indie store, but I’m not paying more at a big box. I’ll even order something and wait from an Indie store – B&N, not so much. Plus, B&N just doesn’t stock a lot of interesting books anymore – it’s all about the bestsellers.

    I do like browsing at the library, but, again, they aren’t really focused on things outside of the mainstream, so I go there for series books that I don’t want to wait for the paperback. Because, unless I’m going to read something more than once, I’m not shelling out for the hardcover.

    I used to browse using various book clubs and buying my books that way, but I really like the convenience of an eReader. For one thing, I can buy books and have them right away, so I’m never without a book. For another, I can adjust the font, which is a real plus for my middle-aged eyes. And it’s just a more comfortable reading experience, especially for longer books. I do still buy ‘real’ books if it’s something that I want to own and look at though, just not as many as I used to. Because – the space, oh, the space. I just can’t cram any more books into my house.

    I don’t think that books will ever go away and I don’t know that it was any easier to catch a break 30 years ago either. At least this way, there IS a way past the gatekeepers of traditional publishing. If not self-publishing (because for every great book, there is a 1,000 terrible books), at least through the indie publishers.

  6. Tam Morris

    I used to buy from the scholastic books catalogs when I was a kid. Once I was older I joined a couple of book clubs. I would buy books recommended from friends and family. I still do. Now that I have started back writing I have bought a ton of books from authors that I have met either online or at a writer’s conference. I think now is one of the best times for author’s. They have more control and more options than ever before. True, there are some terrible books that are self-published, but in the past the good self-published may have never have seen the light of day because a “gate-keeper” didn’t like it.

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