Thursday, May 23, 2013

Updates on life, and the Fall of Barnes & Noble

Back from a fun trip to Seattle (and a less fun, but necessary trip to San Jose).  

First off I'd like to congratulate my brother and his partner on their marriage!  Being able to witness my brother getting married was definitely one of the highlights of my trip and of my life.  I love my brother very much, and I just know that he's going to be happy.

Second, I want to thank librarian Anna Koval and the kids at the Casa Grande High School Book Club for being so freaking awesome.  Anna emailed me that they'd read Deathday for their last book of the year, and we set up an impromptu Skype visit.  I was totally nervous, but the kids had some fantastic questions, and I had a really great time.  Seriously, if these kids are the future, then we're going to be in good hands.

I got to read some cool books while I was gone.  The Archived and Name of the Star were two highlights.  As was The Golem and the Jinni (which I'm almost finished with).  

One thing got on my nerves though, and made me start to wonder whether Barnes & Noble, the last major chain bookstore, deserves to fall.  Now, as a writer, I think BN is a great company. I've bought books there for a long time.  I love browsing their stores and try to purchase books from them whenever possible.  And if you've read my blog for any length of time, you know my feelings about the dominance of Amazon, and how I think it's bad for our future.

So here's what got me thinking:  I've been waiting for Andrew Smith's WINGER to come out since he first announced it.  Even though I took a ton of books with me on my trip, I wanted to buy WINGER and read it immediately.  There wasn't a nearby bookstore in San Jose, so I figured I'd be able to find it in Seattle.  Nope.  Three Barnes & Noble stores, including the one downtown, listed WINGER as out of stock.  I was floored.  They weren't carrying it.  I checked around my home.  None of the BNs in Fort Lauderdale were carrying it either.  

I looked in the Hudson Bookstores in the airport, but they didn't carry it.  I tried to find a nearby indie store, but couldn't find one.  

Here's the thing:  WINGER isn't some small book that's been out for a while.  It came out May 14th.  Long enough for the stores to have it, but not so long that it might have been sent back to the publisher. It's also not a book with no buzz.  It's got more starred reviews than the rest of the books released that week combined, and it was reviewed in the New York Times.  The New York Freaking Times.  And Andrew Smith has published numerous award winning books.  

There's simply no reason WINGER shouldn't have been stocked in these stores.  And yet, it wasn't.

I went out of my way to find this book, and couldn't.  In the end, I had to order it from Amazon.  Sure, I could have ordered it from my local BN, but they should have stocked it!  Not only is BN going to lose sales of this book from people who sought it out and couldn't find it, but they're going to miss out on a ton of sales from people who don't know it exists and won't see it's rad cover begging them to take Ryan Dean home.  

People are questioning whether BN will still be around this time next year.  I'm wondering whether they deserve to.  I want them to be here...I love spending money there and perusing the rows of books, but when they make it so difficult to buy books from them, and seem to actively push me toward Amazon, I feel like they're digging their own grave.

Go buy WINGER.  

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