Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love/Hate Wednesday


This bookseller's perspective on author interaction etiquette. Good points here. I am TOTALLY guilty of facing out client books. Now I feel shamed; and you know what, for a good reason - it IS much better to make friends with your local booksellers and garner support with honey rather than treachery!


I needed a new section this week, because I wanted to finally touch on a subject that's been cropping up: books as general product.

The biggest battle right now on this is between Amazon and Hachette; if you need a refresher/sum up on that battle, read this. Today, I read a post in PW about removing the suggested pricing from book covers (in order for retailers to have more flexibility to determine pricing and margins).

Part of the argument for both of these situations boils down to treating books like toilet paper. Ok, maybe toothpaste. Or socks. (You get it; just a manufactured product).

But. The thing is. There's so much more behind books than the paper and ink (or screen). It's really broaching into the question of creativity: what's it worth? Does the medium it's expressed in really make a difference? Can you really force it into the same box as a pair of shoes? (And even then, a designer has the right to charge whatever they want for the shoes - whether you buy it or not should be up to you *coughneutralityslippingcough*).

What do you think?

ETA: I don't mean to simplify or lump together either of these situations, by the way, just point out a thread of similarity behind both, and how I'm feeling about that thread. :)


  1. Hi, Natalie. That article on bookstore etiquette is fascinating. I knew some self-publishers will really compete to get into normal bookstores, but I didn't realize the length some of them will go to. Authors in general should keep in mind that if we want someone to sell our product, we shouldn't be an ass to them in return, I guess.

    When you say that some people want the price removed from books so that retailers can pick their price, do you mean the retails also expect to pick the amount they pay the author, or would they all pay the same price and absorb whatever they couldn't make back?

    1. Good question; they mean that they would make buying a book more like buying a sandwich at 7/11- the 7/11 stickers the sandwich and that's the price, without you seeing if it's discounted, or what the suggested price, say from the sandwich company the 7/11 bought it from, thinks it should be. That doesn't mean the sandwich company (who would be the publisher) gets any less, though. But there's no perceived value without a printed retail price - like at Marshalls, when you feel like you're getting a steal because it's "worth" whatever the retail tag says, but you're only paying 40% of that!

  2. Oh wow. I read the article about bookstore etiquette. I can't believe someone would walk into a bookstore and set a bunch of books on shelves. I'm not sure that would ever accomplish anything! My friends and family have been guilty of moving my books to higher shelves. I tell them not to do that because it's alphabetized, but I'm not sure they're getting the message!

    I knew someone who managed a bookstore who complained that authors would come in, sign all of the books in the store that were theirs, and slap Autographed By stickers on--all without even speaking to any of the store employees. This apparently is a no-no. I always introduce myself and ask if they'd like for me to autograph some copies, but now I have established relationships with specific local stores, so I'll probably just head straight there when a new book comes out!