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Why The Books You’re Looking For May Be Missing

March 27, 2013

ImageSo, Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble are in a fairly bitter fight about discounts and pricing.  The New York Times wrote about it last week.  The biggest impact is that Barnes & Noble has decided to dramatically cut their Simon & Schuster orders and limit display space for S&S titles.  This means that the big name authors might be a little harder to find, on the shelf instead of on a giant display directly inside the doors, but the smaller authors might be missing all together. 

ImageM.J.Rose, author of The Book of Lost Fragrances, has written a blog entry listing some of the books that don’t seem to have been picked up for in-store stock.  All of these books are still available at B&N.com, but their absence from store shelves will likely dramatically impact sales. 

Stolen MagicOne of my favorite authors, Stephanie Burgis (author of Stolen Magic), wrote a heartbreaking blog entry about how it felt to discover that the final book in the Kat trilogy was not being stocked.  Can you imagine?  You’ve worked for years to tell a story you love and then find out that a major bookstore chain isn’t carrying the final volume. Not because your sales weren’t good, or the buyers didn’t like your book.  They’re not carrying it as a negotiating tactic. 

And it’s not even a particularly good negotiating tactic.  Amazon.com has tried the same thing.  The biggest case was when they were fighting with MPS in 2010 about e-book pricing.  Amazon stopped selling MPS books in an effort to get them to adopt Amazon’s preferred e-book pricing schedule.  And IT DIDN”T WORK.  MPS held out and Amazon gave up and reinstated regular business.  Granted, they’ve added that cranky little price set by publisher tag to the e-books, but they’re selling them and the physical books all the same.

MPS sales were hurt by that.  Just as S&S sales are being hurt by B&N, but both publishers will make it.  It’s the authors and the readers who will be most hurt.  If you’re a huge fan of an author, you’ll find the books.  They’re out there!  You can order them online or from another bookstore, (like the one I work at!).  But what about the books you’d normally stumble upon as a happy accident?  Those are the ones that you, the reader will miss.  And there are probably authors out there that won’t recover from a hit like this.  Imagine being a debut author and there’s just nothing there when your book comes out. 

I don’t have a solution.  But I highly recommend you read the blog posts I linked above.  Especially, go check out M.J. Rose’s post because she’s listing books she knows are being affected.  Check them out, see if you might want to give them a read.  Then pick them up, or heck, even order them from B&N to show them that people want these books. 

And they’re all available through your local Indie bookstore too.  Just remember that.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 3, 2013 12:01 am

    Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick
    heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

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