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DigitalGhost
05-11-2010, 10:34 PM
(I donít know if this is the right place for this thread, but I didnít know where else to put it. Mods, feel free to move it if thereís somewhere else it would fit better.)

The other day I was at the bookstore.

Five seconds after entering, my thoughts went something like those of a kid in a candy store: Mmm, the smell of paper! Lookit all the pretty booksÖ brand newÖ every single book had an author who managed to get it published. I bet I can do the same thing. Wow, wonder what it takes to get a whole table of your books up at the front of the store? Hmmm, where shall I go first?

After wandering past the teen fiction shelves (which Iíve all but outgrown anyways, but I always look): I am so sick of all these vampire books. Although there was a Twilight parody there that made me giggle when I glanced at it.

Decided to go haunt the science fiction and fantasy section for a while. Wow. Most of these books look like clones of each other. More vampire books, only with trashier covers than the ones in the teen section had. Okay, this one looks like high fantasy, maybe itíll beÖ never mind, Iíve read that plot before. Man. Fantasy seems to be turning into a formulaic genre to rival romance. Maybe I should find a new favorite genre.

Went to the general fiction section in search of something more interesting. If I find one more historical novel entitled [Somebodyís] Daughter or [Somebodyís] Sister, Iím gonna scream. How many of these can they have? ÖOh, I remember reading those books over there, you could have switched the main characters from one book to the other and it wouldnít have made any difference to the plot. Sigh. I think Iíll pass on the literary fiction, too.

I wandered through the nonfiction and ended up hanging out in the history section, which was stocked with a seemingly never-ending supply of fascinating tomes.

**

Okay. Iím not saying that I found nothing to interest me fiction-wise, because I did find a few books that looked pretty good. And I know that you canít always judge a book by reading its back cover and flipping through it briefly, although that usually allows me to tell at least whether itís going to stink. But it seems like lately, whenever Iím at the bookstore or the library, I end up disappointed. No, I donít want to read another fantasy about defeating an evil empire or questing for the Yada-Yada of Whatever. No, I donít like that token romance subplot shoved in there. Constantly I wonder: where are all the good authors? Where are all the fresh stories?

I feel guilty about thinking about books this way. Iím supposed to devour books, breathe them in, right? And I do Ė the good ones. But there are never enough good ones, and as for all the ones that I think of as mediocre Ė what right have I? The author must have done something right, after all; they finished a whole book, and they sold it, and I have yet to do either of those things. I can harp on their prose for being awkward or dull or whatever, or on their plot for being hackneyed or pointless, but right now, I don't have the skill to outdo them. Don't I owe these authors whoíve already done what Iím trying to do more respect than that?

Are my standards for books too high? It seems nervy for me, a wannabe, to come out of a huge bookstore (a temple of literature!) and say that there are not enough good books in the world. I'z confused.

Stormhawk
05-12-2010, 12:17 AM
I'm pretty much the same way, and it makes me feel like a bad person sometimes. -_-

I go to the SF/F section, and basically weep because all I see are vampire books, or other paranormal romances, I honestly didn't think it should be so hard to find UF that isn't PR (about the only time I can do that is when I head to a bookstore about an hour away).

Else, they're HUGE fantasy epics, rehashing the hero's journey, that all seem to meld into each other.

I mean, I usually end in YA instead, because that seems to try harder than adult fantasy. There seems to be a wider variety in the type of story available, rather than simply "hot chick on cover does badboy X creature". -_-

suki
05-12-2010, 12:36 AM
Okay. I’m not saying that I found nothing to interest me fiction-wise, because I did find a few books that looked pretty good. And I know that you can’t always judge a book by reading its back cover and flipping through it briefly, although that usually allows me to tell at least whether it’s going to stink. But it seems like lately, whenever I’m at the bookstore or the library, I end up disappointed. No, I don’t want to read another fantasy about defeating an evil empire or questing for the Yada-Yada of Whatever. No, I don’t like that token romance subplot shoved in there. Constantly I wonder: where are all the good authors? Where are all the fresh stories?

I feel guilty about thinking about books this way. I’m supposed to devour books, breathe them in, right? And I do – the good ones. But there are never enough good ones, and as for all the ones that I think of as mediocre – what right have I? The author must have done something right, after all; they finished a whole book, and they sold it, and I have yet to do either of those things. I can harp on their prose for being awkward or dull or whatever, or on their plot for being hackneyed or pointless, but right now, I don't have the skill to outdo them. Don't I owe these authors who’ve already done what I’m trying to do more respect than that?

Are my standards for books too high? It seems nervy for me, a wannabe, to come out of a huge bookstore (a temple of literature!) and say that there are not enough good books in the world. I'z confused.

Honestly, and not to snark, but this made me laugh pretty hard. Either your store has a miniscule selection or you're not trying hard enough. So...I say go to the library instead and ask a librarian to assist you.

But I'm an adult who reads a broad section of fiction - a lot of it YA actually - and even many of the YA books are meaty and fascinating and terrific reads (and not at all the shlocky stuff you describe). No way have you "outgrown" all of them. ;)

So, either you *are* judging books by their covers or you're not really trying to find books you might like in fiction or your shopping in a store with a bad selection. And it's possible that many of the books aren't to your taste, I'm not saying it's not. but turning up your nose to the entire YA section makes me think you're intentionally ignoring a whole section of terrific books because you want to believe you've "outgrown" them.

Now, there's notthing wrong with prefering nonfiction or historical books, but this reads very much like me at your age, thinking I was so far beyond all the books available. ;)

If your store selection is unsatisfactory, get thee to a library, introduce yourself to the librarians, explain what kind of books you enjoy, and ask for recommendations.

~suki

Cyia
05-12-2010, 12:39 AM
Dude, you just managed to insult about 97% of the writers on this board in one post. I think that's probably a record. It's not the genres, it's you.

suki
05-12-2010, 12:42 AM
Dude, you just managed to insult about 97% of the writers on this board in one post. I think that's probably a record. It's not the genres, it's you.

Yeah, that, too. ;)

~suki

Bubastes
05-12-2010, 12:42 AM
Dude, you just managed to insult about 97% of the writers on this board in one post. I think that's probably a record. It's not the genres, it's you.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Either your bookstore sucks or you're not looking hard enough. Whenever I go to a bookstore or library, I'm overwhelmed by the variety of wonderful choices I have.

Phaeal
05-12-2010, 12:58 AM
( Constantly I wonder: where are all the good authors? Where are all the fresh stories?


:hi: Yo! Dude! I'm over here! :hi:

Now, all you have to do is get me an agent and publisher, and you're set.

;)

PS: I have to laugh to see all the "Blankety Blank's Daughters/Wives/Sisters," too. I mean, how come all these people can only be identified by their relationships with other people? And where are all the "Blankety Blank's Sons/Husbands/Brothers?" Oh, wait, I see the point now. Silly me.

Shadow_Ferret
05-12-2010, 01:05 AM
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Either your bookstore sucks or you're not looking hard enough. Whenever I go to a bookstore or library, I'm overwhelmed by the variety of wonderful choices I have.

Me too and unless I go in with a list of what I want, I become so overwhelmed as to get confused (I actually forget EVERY author's name that I like) and I just go pick up the latest Sci-Fi mag and leave.

Soccer Mom
05-12-2010, 01:19 AM
It's just plain old ennui. It isn't the books. It's you.

I'm not offended. I get that way too, actually. Go do something else for a while and then come back to reading. The books will be shiny again.

Miss Plum
05-12-2010, 01:58 AM
DigitalGhost (Dudette), I defend you. Murphy's Law, corollary X: 95% of everything is crap. What's in bookstores right now has not been winnowed out by time. In Dickens's day, he was outproduced or outsold by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (the namesake for a bad writing contest), "Captain Marryat" Charles Lever, and authors of the "penny bloods."

Cyia et. al., your excellent works are sitting on bookshelves cheek-by-jowl with literary chaff. It's no insult to you to say so.

Shadow_Ferret
05-12-2010, 02:04 AM
You're mistaken. Murphy's Law is "anything that can go wrong, will."

You're quoting Sturgeon's Second Law, 90% of everything is crud.

dgiharris
05-12-2010, 02:34 AM
I've read over a thousand SF/F books and less than 3% of what I've read involved vampires or werewolves.

Just off the top of my head, here are some SF/F books that will knock you on your ass.

1. Ender's Game -Orson Scott Card
2. 1632 - Eric Flint
3. Black Sun Rising - C.S. Friedman
4. Nightfall - Robert Silverberg and Isaac Assimov
5. Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
6. A Hymn Before Battle - John Ringo

I could easily give you a list of 100 SF/F books that will blow you away.

IMO, the SF/F genre is unique in that you can take all the qualities and attributes of man and pit them against situations that just do not occur in the real world. And so, the result is something that is unique and very special.

SF/F is so much more than just elves and vampires. Your statements just belay your ignorance.

Seriously, read any of the books in my list and you will understand just how silly your statement is.

As a SF/F reader, i'm hyper sensitive to your sort of comments because SF/F has been disregarded as 'serious' literature for the better part of the last century. Truth is, SF/F is just as legitimate as any form of literature. And it is so much more than elves, dwarves, werewolves, and aliens.

okay, end rant :rant:

Mel...

Mr Flibble
05-12-2010, 02:53 AM
No not everything is crap. But there are a heck of a lot of vampire/paranormal romance novels. My local book shop's SFF dept has a themed display - it usually gets changed every week or two. For the last month there's been nothing but vampire novels(I get to change that Saturday when I do a signing. I may substitute other books:D), and the ten bays that were all sorts of fantasy are now divided - three + are devoted to PR.

But book shops go with what's selling and so do publishers. If people want to read that, then that's what they sell. All it means is what you like to read isn't the hot fashion of the moment. I suspect PR readers feel the same when there's a glut of High Fantasy, or Romance readers bemoan the dearth of Historicals when what they want is more Bridget Jones.

If you look hard enough, you'll find plenty of non vampire stuff( or insert pet hate here) there, and plenty that isn't 'ooh look, a quest!' Good books abound.

When what you like to read isn't the hot trend, you just have to look harder is all.

thothguard51
05-12-2010, 03:13 AM
Readers habits do change. Even readers who are writers. Over the years, I have been through the detective, fantasy, science fiction, western, spy, horror, mystery, and general fiction stages -- numerous times. Leave a genre for a while, come back in five to ten years and its all new again. Repeat as neccessary...

But yes, if you're so bored with reading that you can't find any genre to hold your interest, then maybe its time to take up visiting the art museum, deep sea fishing, or bowling...

Miss Plum
05-12-2010, 05:19 AM
You're mistaken. Murphy's Law is "anything that can go wrong, will."

You're quoting Sturgeon's Second Law, 90% of everything is crud.
Note, I said "corollary X."

Sturgeon's Second Law is too generous.

Irysangel
05-12-2010, 06:36 PM
Dude, you just managed to insult about 97% of the writers on this board in one post. I think that's probably a record. It's not the genres, it's you.

This. Yikes.

Also? Go to Goodreads and browse around to see what other people recommend if you have a favorite author or two. I've found lots of recommendations that way.

Also x2? It's normal to come out of a bookstore and feel like you didn't find anything to read. Happens to me all the time. It just means that you're restless, not that everything on the shelves is crap.

ChaosTitan
05-12-2010, 07:15 PM
You can actually leave a bookstore without finding a book to buy? :eek: My wallet wishes I had that kind of problem.

AceTachyon
05-12-2010, 07:26 PM
You can actually leave a bookstore without finding a book to buy? :eek: My wallet wishes I had that kind of problem.
I have to fight this, CT. Otherwise I'll spend a couple hundred on one visit. And I go to the bookstore a lot.

So it's usually just one book at a time.

Usually.

But oh, there's so many I waaaaaant.....!

Wiskel
05-12-2010, 07:57 PM
There is more to enjoying books than reading the ones shops want to advertise.

I'm a comics collector. There's a thrill to travelling for 2 hours, going to a collectors fair, searching through the stocks of a room full of dealers and going home with that one single issue you've been after. the fact I spent 20 times as much on petrol, parking and admission fees doesn't matter.

For me, a bad trip to a bookshop is one where I've got 10 minutes to find something. I never do.

A good trip is one where I have an hour or so to kill and can really explore the place. then I'll find more to buy then I can afford....but finding that one gem that I've never heard of, or actually remembering the title of a book I from a review that interested me and hunting it down is half the fun....especially if I can't remember the author's name.

There are also some interesting games to play in bookshops. The Borders I used to frequent had a coffee shop on a balcony with a view over the science fiction section. On several occassions I've picked a book based on the impression it's cover makes at a distance of 50 feet. I know that's not how you're meant to do it, but I'm sure the author of the book didn't mind (if you want a sale then sunsets look nice at that distance)

Craig

RemusShepherd
05-12-2010, 08:32 PM
What you see in bookstores is not representative of what authors are writing. It is representative of what marketers and acquisition managers think people want to read.

For some reason they assume that having read one vampire novel, everyone in the world will then want to read another, rather than something fresh to cleanse their palate. There is a tremendous lack of creativity going on, but it's a lack on the part of the gnomes who run the bookstores and publishers. They will chase a concept until it is run into the ground.

Lyra Jean
05-12-2010, 08:35 PM
You can actually leave a bookstore without finding a book to buy? :eek: My wallet wishes I had that kind of problem.

This is why I only go to the bookstore when I have money to spend on books. Because if I go into a bookstore I'm going to spend money.

Toothpaste
05-12-2010, 08:38 PM
Whenever I read a post like this I see someone falling prey to marketing people. Because the only explanation that these were the only books you saw is that all you were looking at were the display tables in the sections you described (or that you were in a very small bookstore). The fact is that yes, there are current trends and those trends appear front and centre. Publishers pay good money to have their trends front and centre. It is up to you as a reader and future writer to go past the obvious marketing and check out the book shelves, see the other books out there that are also published but might not have had the same financial push and thus not wind up on the front display tables.

Because, I'm sorry, you're just wrong. There are many other YA books out there not about Vampires, just as there are many epic fantasy/SF novels that have their own unique properties. And to say that there isn't, well, that's just absurd.

CloudyDay
05-12-2010, 08:43 PM
What you see in bookstores is not representative of what authors are writing. It is representative of what marketers and acquisition managers think people want to read.



I agree with this. I went to the bookstore with a list because I didn't want to feel overwhelmed. I just knew there would be more books for me to buy than what I'd allowed in my budget. There were only 2 books in the store that were on my list. Most of the others were sad imitations of another more popular title. Keep in mind that these missing novels were titles published by major houses yet I couldn't find them in the store. I had to order them. I guess that's what makes ordering online so popular. The selection isn't chosen by what someone believes will sell instead of what I want to buy.

ChaosTitan
05-12-2010, 08:59 PM
What you see in bookstores is not representative of what authors are writing. It is representative of what marketers and acquisition managers think people want to read.

For some reason they assume that having read one vampire novel, everyone in the world will then want to read another, rather than something fresh to cleanse their palate. There is a tremendous lack of creativity going on, but it's a lack on the part of the gnomes who run the bookstores and publishers. They will chase a concept until it is run into the ground.

Publishers and bookstores are BUSINESSES. So yes, publishers are going to buy books they think people want to read. Why on earth would they buy books they didn't think people would want to read?

In bookstores, like any other retail business, floor space is money. If having eight copies of Twilight on the shelf pays their rent and their employees? You better believe they'll carry Twilight. Or Angels & Demons or the latest Grisham novel.

Bookstores carry what they can sell. If bookstores prefer to order books from lesser-known authors and smaller presses, rather than put them in stock on the meager hope someone will buy it, then it's a business decision. Those top sellers and books that "lack creativity" are what keep your local bookstore open.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 09:00 PM
*cross post*

The selection more or less has to be based on what someone thinks people will buy. And quantitatively speaking, I suspect they are probably pretty good at it. They need to buy product that will sell through and based on a single digit profit margin the the books store's ability to take risks is fairly small. For the same reason I can't buy vegemite in any of my local supermarkets--which annoys me but there you go. It's not popular here.

Monkey
05-12-2010, 09:01 PM
I agree that you've fallen victim to marketing gone amuck. The bookstore is going to buy more of whatever is selling well, and is going to put the things that draw the most attention front and center.

You might consider venues that carry a wider selection of books, especially older books.

If you're into SciFi, I have this nifty book called "The World Turned Upside Down" that has a really cheesy cover but features excellent stories...here, I found a link:
http://www.amazon.com/World-Turned-Upside-Down/dp/1416520686

If you want fantasy with a twist of humor, I always recommend Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novels or Steven Brust's books on Vlad Taltos, the assassin.

But there's just SOOOOO much out there! Seek and ye shall find, my friend. :D

If you're enjoying historical right now, there's nothing wrong with that. Just don't casually browse the display stands of a local bookstore and come to the conclusion that every book out there is trite and done and not a good read.

ETA: Love your avatar, by the way. Mine was made while playing Spore, hence my "location". :D

DeleyanLee
05-12-2010, 09:10 PM
The vast majority of customers want "the same but different" than what they enjoyed last time. In the current market, that last time was a lot of vampires and paranormals and famous people's female relatives. Of course that's what is going to be out for the vast majority of customers to find.

But even in the greatest swell of any trend, there are always other things--things that are waiting to turn into the next trend. Things that people will sit back and wonder "Where did THAT come from?". Y'know--the overnight successes that have been around for 10-20 years before the spotlight finally shines on them.

I also often find myself overwhelmed at my local bookstores. I know the feeling that everything I'm looking at is the same shit I didn't want to read last year or for the last decade. Story of my life. And there's the additional problem of not wanting to chance on a new author I know nothing about because my reading time is extremely limited and precious. However, if I'm not willing to do that then I've got no leeway to kivetch about not having something better than the same old-same old popular stuff that's easy to find.

Fun catch 22, isn't it? ;)

CloudyDay
05-12-2010, 09:12 PM
Publishers and bookstores are BUSINESSES. So yes, publishers are going to buy books they think people want to read.

Question-not an attack. Please don't take this as an attack. I do not mean this in any snarky way. I'm just posing a question.

With so many statistics hitting the web about how publishers and brick stores are losing money, do you think there might be something wrong with their opinions of what we want to read?

DeleyanLee
05-12-2010, 09:18 PM
With so many statistics hitting the web about how publishers and brick stores are losing money, do you think there might be something wrong with their opinions of what we want to read?

I'm not sure if the fault lies with the bookstores. If there's fault, it might lie with the publishers. They're where the bookstores have to buy from, after all.

Or maybe it's both. Don't know.

CloudyDay
05-12-2010, 09:26 PM
It might be both. I know I had a list of something like 11 books and could only find 2. Now those 9 other books I ordered online. If I hadn't those authors wouldn't have made a sale and all because a bookstore didn't want to carry those titles. Now those 9 other authors might lose many many more sales if this process is repeated. Their numbers hurt and they have a hard time trying to sell their next work. Then a marketing department of a publisher decides not to buy a different work based on another author's numbers. I mean a great story may be a great story but if it doesn't sell then what's the point. Just considering a few things.

ChaosTitan
05-12-2010, 09:37 PM
Question-not an attack. Please don't take this as an attack. I do not mean this in any snarky way. I'm just posing a question.

With so many statistics hitting the web about how publishers and brick stores are losing money, do you think there might be something wrong with their opinions of what we want to read?

Honestly, I think more of the issue has to do with simple economics, rather than the actual books. We all know what the economy has been like and it's affected bookstores pretty heavily. And the somewhat outdated returns system isn't helping. There are a lot of different things at play.

I work in retail. Our store carries specific items. We try to carry a variety of merchandise in a variety of styles in order to meet our customer's needs. Most of the time we do a good job and can help our customer find what they came in for.

But our floor space and purchasing flow is limited. We can't carry everything to suit everyone's needs. It's impossible. And we know that if we don't have it, they'll probably go elsewhere to find it. It can't be helped. So we do our best to choose what will sell based on past sales, don't buy more of things that flop, and we pay attention to current trends so we can stay ahead of what folks want.

All retail business--be it a bookstore, a clothing store, or a home furnishing store--are struggling.

As an author, it sucks if a store doesn't have my book in stock. But I know that if someone really wants it, they'll either find it at another store or order it online.

ChaosTitan
05-12-2010, 09:41 PM
I hadn't those authors wouldn't have made a sale and all because a bookstore didn't want to carry those titles.

Now I have a question for you. :)

Of those nine titles not in stock, did you go to the circulation desk and ask if the bookstore normally kept them in stock and just happened to be out?

That's happened to me several times when I've gone in for a title that I couldn't find on the shelf--it was just out of stock, but on order.



Now those 9 other authors might lose many many more sales if this process is repeated.

Why? In the end, the books were purchased so the author gets the sale. Maybe the bookstore lost a sale, but not the author.

DeleyanLee
05-12-2010, 09:46 PM
It might be both. I know I had a list of something like 11 books and could only find 2. Now those 9 other books I ordered online. If I hadn't those authors wouldn't have made a sale and all because a bookstore didn't want to carry those titles. Now those 9 other authors might lose many many more sales if this process is repeated. Their numbers hurt and they have a hard time trying to sell their next work. Then a marketing department of a publisher decides not to buy a different work based on another author's numbers. I mean a great story may be a great story but if it doesn't sell then what's the point. Just considering a few things.

If you're concerned about an author's work being carried in the bookstore, why didn't you special order the book(s) into the bookstore. That, more than anything, alerts the store's buyer(s) into the fact that there IS demand to have that book carried.

By ordering it online, you defeated your stated purpose. And, depending on the bookstore you frequent, they'll often ship directly to your own home at no/little additional charge--just like the online stores do.

Likewise, if there's a book you know that's coming out that you know you want--go down to your bookstore 30 days before the release date and preorder it. That, also, alerts the store buyers that there IS a market for this author/subject and will generally mean they'll order at least some extra copies besides yours to be stocked.

You want bookstores to succeed, you've got to buy from them.

A.C.
05-12-2010, 09:48 PM
I get what you're saying.

I usually do hours of research online (usually on Amazon) to see what I'd like to read and then go to the bookstores to see if I can find what I want. (If you're going to Borders or Barnes 'n Noble, you can look it up online if they have the book you want at your local bookstore.) And even then I end up buying a crappy paranormal romance masquerading as UF because those babies are EVERYWHERE.

While most books are crap or just plain average, there are some really good ones if you look hard enough. I’ve tried reading some really popular UFs but found them to be either average (Dead Witch Walking) or just plain awful (Magic Bites), so I wouldn’t go by popularity. Most people don’t have good taste.

On the other hand, it probably is you. I know I go through phases where I read one genre and then I get sick of it and move on to another. (I used to read mysteries...now I can't stand them.) Then there are phases where I don't read at all. It happens. It seems like you’re interested in history right now. If I went to the History section of my local bookstore right now, I’d think every book there was either boring or crap because I’m not into history.

Anyway: The only authors that will get offended by your post are probably the ones that are writing those crappy PRs that should be shelved in Romance, but somehow end up in Fantasy.

(Note: By "crappy" I mean “not my thing”...I know there are lots of readers out there who enjoy reading sex scene after sex scene...I'm not one of them. That's what porn is for. ;))

Shadow_Ferret
05-12-2010, 09:48 PM
Question-not an attack. Please don't take this as an attack. I do not mean this in any snarky way. I'm just posing a question.

With so many statistics hitting the web about how publishers and brick stores are losing money, do you think there might be something wrong with their opinions of what we want to read?

Their opinion is based on sales. Not sure how else they could do it.

As far as having books in the bookstore, again, that's based on sales. If they think there is a market for the book, they'll stock it. If they don't, you can always special order it (and save on S&H from the online purchase).

It's a disadvantage brick&mortar stores have over the Internet. They don't have a huge storage area to anticipate sales of every book out there. They have to pick and choose and they base it on anticipated sales.

CloudyDay
05-12-2010, 09:49 PM
I did ask at the desk. They offered to order them for me. I thought that would be silly when I could order them and have them shipped to my house.

I just worry about authors when readers don't look outside the bookstore for their material. I made my list from online reviews and an author site who is an auto buy for me.

Shadow_Ferret
05-12-2010, 09:53 PM
Anyway: The only authors that will get offended by your post are probably the ones that are writing those crappy PRs that should be shelved in Romance, but somehow end up in Fantasy.

(Note: By "crappy" I mean “not my thing”...I know there are lots of readers out there who enjoy reading sex scene after sex scene...I'm not one of them. That's what porn is for. ;))No. A lot of authors were offended. And if you mean not your thing, say it. There are many here who do write those books. Respect the author.


I did ask at the desk. They offered to order them for me. I thought that would be silly when I could order them and have them shipped to my house.

I just worry about authors when readers don't look outside the bookstore for their material. I made my list from online reviews and an author site who is an auto buy for me.

It's silly to support local bookstores?

CloudyDay
05-12-2010, 10:00 PM
It's silly to support local bookstores?

Sometimes. When they devote so much shelf space to vampire lovin. They don't ship to my house either. They would hold my items at the store. I vote for who supports my reading habits. I do that with my dollars. I tried the store although their prices were higher and they charge tax that I don't have to pay online. I felt I did my part. I didn't feel like I should have to spend more gas and time. When they choose to limit shelf space to not only vampires but merchandise dedicated to them, I go elsewhere.

CloudyDay
05-12-2010, 10:01 PM
BTW-shipping is free when you order from most online places.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 10:03 PM
So now you are dissing not only paranormal romance but work that includes substantial erotic content and so is "porn". Hmm.

A.C.
05-12-2010, 10:06 PM
No. A lot of authors were offended. And if you mean not your thing, say it. There are many here who do write those books. Respect the author.

I think if an author is offended by comments like those they should either try harder or grow a thicker skin. In my opinion if you love what you write, you shouldn't care what other people think of it.

As far as respecting the author, no one here is disrespecting anyone expect by maybe being honest. Welcome to the real world: not everyone is going to like what you write. This pretty much goes for any creative profession out there. If I hated a movie, I'm honest about it. If I hate a song, I say I do. Why should it be any different for authors?

ChaosTitan
05-12-2010, 10:07 PM
While most books are crap or just plain average, there are some really good ones if you look hard enough. Iíve tried reading some really popular UFs but found them to be either average (Dead Witch Walking) or just plain awful (Magic Bites), so I wouldnít go by popularity. Most people donít have good taste.

On the other hand, it probably is you. I know I go through phases where I read one genre and then I get sick of it and move on to another. (I used to read mysteries...now I can't stand them.) Then there are phases where I don't read at all. It happens. It seems like youíre interested in history right now. If I went to the History section of my local bookstore right now, Iíd think every book there was either boring or crap because Iím not into history.

Anyway: The only authors that will get offended by your post are probably the ones that are writing those crappy PRs that should be shelved in Romance, but somehow end up in Fantasy.


Actually, I wouldn't worry. Your post, particularly the part I bolded, probably managed to offend everyone else the OP missed. :rolleyes:

A.C.
05-12-2010, 10:08 PM
So now you are dissing not only paranormal romance but work that includes substantial erotic content and so is "porn". Hmm.

I didn't say it was porn, but yes some of it pretty much is. Just not as good.

Shadow_Ferret
05-12-2010, 10:10 PM
Sometimes. When they devote so much shelf space to vampire lovin. They don't ship to my house either. They would hold my items at the store. I vote for who supports my reading habits. I do that with my dollars. I tried the store although their prices were higher and they charge tax that I don't have to pay online. I felt I did my part. I didn't feel like I should have to spend more gas and time. When they choose to limit shelf space to not only vampires but merchandise dedicated to them, I go elsewhere.

Guess I visit my bookstore regularly enough that having it shipped there isn't an inconvenience. Especially since I've seen so many independent booksellers who've gone out of business. I prefer going to a store to look and feel and read the books instead of browsing through pages Amazon specifies.

And vampire loving is in. They be foolish not to carry it. I don't begrudge them offering what's hot.

And most of the online stores I've looked at don't give you free shipping unless you spend over a certain amount, which I don't.

ChaosTitan
05-12-2010, 10:13 PM
I think if an author is offended by comments like those they should either try harder or grow a thicker skin. In my opinion if you love what you write, you shouldn't care what other people think of it.

As far as respecting the author, no one here is disrespecting anyone expect by maybe being honest. Welcome to the real world: not everyone is going to like what you write. This pretty much goes for any creative profession out there. If I hated a movie, I'm honest about it. If I hate a song, I say I do. Why should it be any different for authors?

Thing is, there are ways to be honest and voice an opinion without being disrespectful. And since AW's only rule is "Respect your fellow writer" it's a line we all have to learn and be aware of.

willietheshakes
05-12-2010, 10:14 PM
Sometimes. When they devote so much shelf space to vampire lovin. They don't ship to my house either. They would hold my items at the store. I vote for who supports my reading habits. I do that with my dollars. I tried the store although their prices were higher and they charge tax that I don't have to pay online. I felt I did my part. I didn't feel like I should have to spend more gas and time. When they choose to limit shelf space to not only vampires but merchandise dedicated to them, I go elsewhere.

Wow.

(no, there's nothing else I can say without getting banned.)

DeleyanLee
05-12-2010, 10:16 PM
And most of the online stores I've looked at don't give you free shipping unless you spend over a certain amount, which I don't.

Or you buy an annual membership fee (about $80 last I looked) which gives you free, upgraded shipping for the year. That deal makes no sense to me. I mean, all I did was prepay for the shipping--and more than I usually spend for it in a year.

Gotta love it. (don't know why, though)

A.C.
05-12-2010, 10:20 PM
Thing is, there are ways to be honest and voice an opinion without being disrespectful. And since AW's only rule is "Respect your fellow writer" it's a line we all have to learn and be aware of.

I don't think I was disrespecting any particular author on this board. And while I might hate the work, that doesn't mean I'm dissing the person behind it.

We all know how hard it can be to write a novel-length work. But I'm not going to sugar-coat my opinions of certain books especially if I spent money on them. Thatís why I said writers should have a thicker skin. Just because someone doesnít like your novel, doesnít mean they hate you.

brainstorm77
05-12-2010, 10:36 PM
I just have issue with bookstores in general. Everytime I have went, I have never been able to find the book I was looking for.
They do offer to order it, but again, what's the sense if I can go online and get it delivered right to my door with free shipping?
Yet, they are a business and will stock what sells, makes sense, since they have to stay afloat.
Note: I *heart* VAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

Toothpaste
05-12-2010, 10:51 PM
CloudyDay: I felt I did my part.

It depends what your goal is. If you just want a book, then order it online. But if you want to support authors in general, then it makes so much more sense to get the bookstore to order it. This alerts the bookstore to potential interest in the books, which then in turn means they might order a couple extra for the shelves, which then in turn means people who might not otherwise will stumble over the books in the store and buy them, which will then in turn cause the bookstore to re-order the books. You ordering it online gives money to the author, but has no lasting positive impact.

Saying you are doing your part when really you are simply being lazy (preferring being mailed the book as opposed to going to the store to pick it up) isn't exactly helping authors. I have no issue with people just buying books because they don't care how they get the book, but you claim to want to help, and, well, your method doesn't.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 10:52 PM
The thing is if the bookstore is too far away and you don't go there often, it is only natural that they cater to people who do go there very often, may of whom buy romance (50% of the fiction market), many of whom like vampires. Bookstores generally cater to their highest volume and most loyal customers. You know that lady you sometime see buying 20 black and red covered paperbacks at once? People like her.

dgiharris
05-12-2010, 11:30 PM
Some of the statements in this thread make me question whether or not some people are actually writers.

I have yet to walk into a bookstore and walk out without a book.

Books are my crack cocaine. Nevermind that I have shelves full of books I've yet to read.

I read a book a week and have more or less held that pace since I was 13.

My latest trend is reading by author, so I will pick an author at random and give a book a go.

I've found a couple of real gems out there, like Tony Ballantyne, Jack Chalker, Anne Bishop, and Eric Flint to name a few.

Of course, i've stumbled onto plenty of dogs...

anyways, as for bookstores, i prefer to give my business to the mom and pop second hand bookstores when I can. Namely because they are 50% the price of the major bookstores. Downside is they rarely have the latest and greatest books. Upside is that they usually know their craft and can actually recommend you a decent book when you have no idea what you want to read.

So I love the service aspect.

Go to a major bookstore, ask for a recommendation for a good book, and watch the look on the clerk's face. 1/2 of them haven't voluntarily read a book in years which I always find ironic.

That's like working in a restaurant and never tasting the food.

Mel...

Irysangel
05-13-2010, 12:06 AM
Some of the statements in this thread make me question whether or not some people are actually writers.

I have yet to walk into a bookstore and walk out without a book.


I've walked into a bookstore plenty of times and not come out with a book. It could be because I just bought six the week before. Or I'm looking for a specific kind of book (last week I was looking for YA fantasy fairy tale retellings and couldn't quite find what I wanted) or it could be any number of things.

I don't think that it makes me less of a writer. Though if I am reading this thread properly, it seems that a lot of people think I am less of one because of what I write.

(And no, I don't need a thicker skin.)

dgiharris
05-13-2010, 02:57 AM
Sorry,

didn't mean to imply that if you can walk out of a bookstore without buying a book you aren't a real writer.

I just can't do it.

i'm a bookshop's best customer because whenever they see me, they know i'm buying something :)

:tongue:

Mel...

Annayna
05-13-2010, 03:24 AM
*sigh*

Shadow_Ferret
05-13-2010, 03:37 AM
Sorry,

didn't mean to imply that if you can walk out of a bookstore without buying a book you aren't a real writer.



Did too! :tongue

Regular bookstores? I'll leave with a fiction magazine or a comicbook if I can't remember the authors I wanted to find. Still, the regular book prices are a little, um, pricey for me.

But get me in a used bookstore, which I frequent regularly, I come out with handfuls. (Just don't let CeCe know. She'll get angry.)

ElsaM
05-13-2010, 05:17 AM
Did too! :tongue

But get me in a used bookstore, which I frequent regularly, I come out with handfuls. (Just don't let CeCe know. She'll get angry.)

I know the feeling! We went on a week's holiday recently and I bought ten books from a local used book store to take with us. My husband thought I seriously overestimated how many books we needed. Not only was I right, a couple of those books were fantastic and I'm so glad I read them.

Vampires and paranormal romances aren't my thing so I stay away from the promotional tables at new bookstores. There are plenty of other subgenres in the shelves, if you've got the time to browse. Properly browse, not just look at the cover.

Fillanzea
05-13-2010, 05:48 AM
I rarely rarely buy books because I don't have anywhere to put them. However... I'm also very prone to novel ennui. If you are a picky person and don't want to read the same thing over and over, you might have to look harder to find a book you really want to read, because the big marketing dollars are in the books that appeal to a really broad audience.

Read a book recommended by a friend with good taste, in a genre you don't usually read -- that's how I found Sarah Waters, who combines literary elements and pulpy elements in a way I find totally addictive.

Read a book in a genre you like, originally written in a language besides English -- that's how I found Haruki Murakami.

Browse the staff recommendations table at your bookstore -- mine had "Meet Me in the Moon Room" by Ray Vukcevich, an absolutely beguiling collection of weird SF/F short stories.

I'm a YA librarian, so I try to read every issue of the Horn Book, which is for my money the best journal there is reviewing children's books. And sometimes it takes a well-reviewed picture book or poetry book or nonfiction book to break me out of a rut.

There are so many books published every year that it's almost inconceivable that there isn't one that's going to be just right, if you dig up new channels of recommendations.

MaryMumsy
05-13-2010, 05:58 AM
In Feb I went to the Borders down the street. I wanted one book already out and to pre-order for an April release. The book already out wasn't in stock. They ordered it for me, shipped free to my house. Shipping was free because it should have been in stock. I ordered six copies of the Apr release, the author is a friend and I gave them as gifts to other friends. Because I ordered six books, one was free (order 4 books, get the 5th one free, and they don't need to be the same book), and because I ordered six books the woman writing up the order whipped a coupon out from under the counter and I got free shipping on those also. So I got seven books, only paid for six, free shipping on everything, all delivered to my house, and hopefully helped keep the brick and mortar store one mile from my house open for me to browse in.

MM

CloudyDay
05-13-2010, 06:07 AM
It depends what your goal is. If you just want

Saying you are doing your part when really you are simply being lazy (preferring being mailed the book as opposed to going to the store to pick it up) isn't exactly helping authors. I have no issue with people just buying books because they don't care how they get the book, but you claim to want to help, and, well, your method doesn't.

I decided to limit my comment and send a private note. Let's just say the lazy comment is enough to bring out the fight in me. I was only trying to show the problem with catering to a certain book buying type. I didn't expect to be insulted or attacked. I don't just claim to want to help, I do. I also work for a living. Now I will leave this forum. I have too many other things to do than put up with bull. Apparently I don't belong here.

aadams73
05-13-2010, 06:11 AM
I'm another one who can't go into a bookstore without finding something, as well as seeing a dozen more books on the shelf I'm dying to read. But there are only 24 hours in a day, alas... :D

To the OP: maybe you're experiencing book ennui, as someone already mentioned. I've been there, wanting to read but nothing grabs me. What worked for me was switching up genres. I looked outside my usual territory and found stories that sparked my interest. Problem solved.

Or maybe it's just a marketing malaise. God knows the publishing industry loves trends, especially when it comes to covers. It's easy for them to blend together in one big samey glob so that nothing leaps out, slaps you about the head and says, "Buy me!"

Start flipping some open. Read a few lines. Read a few pages. See if something captures your attention. You might be pleasantly surprised. There are some seriously great books out there, plenty of fresh stories, and they don't always have covers that accurately reflect what's on their pages.

If you want a good place to start, make a list of AWers' books and take that to the bookshop.

Shadow_Ferret
05-13-2010, 06:18 AM
So sorry if my full time job, family, and own writing, reading and living a life keeps me from trolling the bookstores every week. There are times I have trouble getting to the grocery store. I will take your advice and never ever shop at another bookstore.

It's about priorities and scheduling time. I have the same thing. Bookstore is something we do as a family. If reading and supporting authors and local bookstores is important to you, you'll find a way. If not, you'll take offense to someone making a point about how ordering books from a bookstore is better for authors than ordering them online.

PEBKAC
05-13-2010, 06:26 AM
I love bookstores. I must spend between $50 and $150 a month on books (I hope my wife never sees this post). I'm addicted! I don't have enough time left in my life to read everything I've bought,yet I can't help buying more. At times I'll read two or three books a week. Other times, things get really busy at the office, I put in long hours and don't have time to read anything but a magazine here and there for months. Even then I still have time to buy more!

A.C.
05-13-2010, 07:36 AM
I don't think that it makes me less of a writer. Though if I am reading this thread properly, it seems that a lot of people think I am less of one because of what I write.

(And no, I don't need a thicker skin.)

If you're referring to my comments, I don't think you're less of a writer for writing in a genre that I don't enjoy. Just because I don't like a certain genre, doesn't mean that I think people shouldn't be writing or reading it. I thought that was pretty clear. Iím just one person with an opinion; I have no idea why anyone would get offended by that. And to be honest, the only reason I was so harsh on PRs is because I bought one thinking it was an urban fantasy. False marketing is my main problem here, not an entire genre which Iím mostly not familiar with or interested in.

benbradley
05-13-2010, 08:31 AM
It depends what your goal is. If you just want a book, then order it online. But if you want to support authors in general, then it makes so much more sense to get the bookstore to order it. This alerts the bookstore to potential interest in the books, which then in turn means they might order a couple extra for the shelves, which then in turn means people who might not otherwise will stumble over the books in the store and buy them, which will then in turn cause the bookstore to re-order the books. You ordering it online gives money to the author, but has no lasting positive impact.

Saying you are doing your part when really you are simply being lazy (preferring being mailed the book as opposed to going to the store to pick it up) isn't exactly helping authors. I have no issue with people just buying books because they don't care how they get the book, but you claim to want to help, and, well, your method doesn't.
I want to do that, but as far as I know there's no way to tell what's in stock at a particular brick-and-mortar megabookstore. If I could look up a book I want online and a website can tell me it's at a particular store at a particular location I'm going by, I'd stop in an buy it.

I can do that in our rural-ish library 11 miles away, I know what's on the shelf and what's checked out and if a title is even carried at that location (it's part of a three-county library system). The nearest megastore is about 25 miles away, and I usually go to one further away because I usually go a different direction.

Last November I hit a couple of Borders several times a week to be at NaNoWriMo write-ins. I bought Superfreakonomics November 1st the first week or so it was out, even though I had had the original Freakonomics for the past couple of years (bought at a thrift store for around $3) and hadn't even read that. It felt odd throughout November to have a brand new full-price-paid (okay, it was 30 percent off) I hadn't read yet. Finally I won NaNoWriMo, read them both and greatly enjoyed them. I even donated both of them to the local freethought society library.

*sigh*
Oh, that sig ...(it kinda relates to the OP's complaint, but whatever....)

I'm thinking I need something like

WARNING
Geek Zone
Risk Of Bytes

< /derail >

... Now I will leave this forum. I have too many other things to do than put up with bull. Apparently I don't belong here.
The Judge from Rural Georgia gives this a 3.4 out of 10. This flounce lacks so much style, the poster obviously hadn't even heard of the flounce faq.

And may I suggest Usenet... (refrains of One Night In Bangkok play in the background)

I love bookstores. I must spend between $50 and $150 a month on books (I hope my wife never sees this post). I'm addicted! I don't have enough time left in my life to read everything I've bought,yet I can't help buying more. At times I'll read two or three books a week. Other times, things get really busy at the office, I put in long hours and don't have time to read anything but a magazine here and there for months. Even then I still have time to buy more!
Guys, you and dgiharris... read my blog on how I inhale get books for cheap. I remember last millennium browsing technical books at the MegaBookStore, making note of $80 titles I wanted and getting them online for at most half that...and yeah, I knew back then I was guilty of hurting brick-and-mortar stores doing that.

It's a matter of delaying gratification. Ordering it online t'll get here in a few days or a week at most, but I get to BUY MORE BOOKS!

Toothpaste
05-13-2010, 09:40 AM
I decided to limit my comment and send a private note. Let's just say the lazy comment is enough to bring out the fight in me. I was only trying to show the problem with catering to a certain book buying type. I didn't expect to be insulted or attacked. I don't just claim to want to help, I do. I also work for a living. Now I will leave this forum. I have too many other things to do than put up with bull. Apparently I don't belong here.

I appreciate the private message very much, I love being called such horrific names in response to something which I defined very clearly in my previous post. I love returning after a night out to see such bile sent in my direction, such hatred. It just makes my night.

For the record, I said you were lazy with regards to this specific thing, and I quote myself: "preferring being mailed the book as opposed to going to the store to pick it up". That is it. Not in reference to how hard you work at your job, nor how you raise your children.

YOU were the one claiming that you were doing your part in helping authors, and I was pointing out that actually you were wrong in that assumption. I used the term "lazy" as you were the one who explained that you'd rather have things mailed to you than to go pick them up, when the latter would help your cause to help authors far more than the former. Further, despite what you think of me, I actually was trying to educate as I myself once upon a time would not have realised the truth of what I said to you. There was a time when I would never have thought that ordering a book at a book store would help an author more than ordering it online. I was, shock, trying to help to help your cause.

That is all.

I know you have flounced, and I know very well what you think of me. The fact that you would say such things as you did to me is just plain disgusting, I highly doubt you would ever have said such things to my face had we had the same conversation in person. The internet makes one so brave does it not. I have deleted the message, as I assumed you would not be back as you claim you are leaving for good. Otherwise I would have reported it for its very horrible content. You also said not to respond to the message which is why I am saying what I am here. But despite your opinion of me, mine was very pragmatic towards you and unemotional.

I will say this, I did pause before posting my comment for fear "lazy" might be taken the wrong way by you, but when I read over my post before publishing it I just could not see how it could be misconstrued as me referencing anything other than the specific issue at hand, and thus kept it. Evidently I was wrong. Evidently, too, I struck a nerve.

Lastly, I am sorry that you thought I was insulting you as a person and how you conduct your life, that was never my intent. I am also sorry that I hurt you so much to cause you to want to hurt me so much in return. I hate the idea that I could have said anything that would have struck you so to the core. And I am sorry for that. Sincerely. You probably don't believe me, but it's true. Again, I know that won't help as you think me the worst sort of person for what I wrote, and seeing the result I truly wish I had omitted that word. But I am sorry.

To everyone else, apologies for the derail.

Fillanzea
05-13-2010, 03:26 PM
I want to do that, but as far as I know there's no way to tell what's in stock at a particular brick-and-mortar megabookstore. If I could look up a book I want online and a website can tell me it's at a particular store at a particular location I'm going by, I'd stop in an buy it.

I don't think Borders will let you do it, but Barnes and Noble will; if you search on bn.com for a specific book, it will let you search the five closest BNs to you to see whether it's in stock.

ink wench
05-13-2010, 04:04 PM
I don't think Borders will let you do it, but Barnes and Noble will; if you search on bn.com for a specific book, it will let you search the five closest BNs to you to see whether it's in stock.Through their website, B&N will also get the book from the shelves for you and hold it behind the counter, then send you an email to let you know when it's ready. Then you can run in, on say your lunch break, go right to the counter and pay, and run out without being distracted by all the other shinies. ;)

Bubastes
05-13-2010, 04:36 PM
Through their website, B&N will also get the book from the shelves for you and hold it behind the counter, then send you an email to let you know when it's ready. Then you can run in, on say your lunch break, go right to the counter and pay, and run out without being distracted by all the other shinies. ;)

Borders lets you do this through their website as well. I use this feature all the time.

HisBoyElroy
05-13-2010, 04:54 PM
Gee whiz! A guy/gal goes into a bookstore, doesn't see anything he/she wants to read and is irritated about it... So what? I feel his/her pain.

Hey it might be he/she is not the target audience for any of this stuff. I don't go to movies anymore because they're not made for me and they don't appeal to me. I seek out stuff that is. Does that mean there's something wrong with me? I actually stopped reading novels for about 15-20 years because every novel I tried to read sucked. I read nothing but history books, happily that whole time. Learned a lot too.

When 95% of novels are crap (and to my tastes they are), that means you have to read 9 or 10 to find 1 good one. That's $80 per paperback novel. That's why I gave it up. Can you blame me?

DeleyanLee
05-13-2010, 05:16 PM
When 95% of novels are crap (and to my tastes they are), that means you have to read 9 or 10 to find 1 good one. That's $80 per paperback novel. That's why I gave it up. Can you blame me?

Just for discussion's sake: If your trend is standard, do you realize that greatly lessens the market for new authors? That, as writers, we look at that trend and see that an already tight market is getting smaller. And, as writers, many of us do what we can to keep the market as broad as possible for we and our writer buddies have a shot at publication.

So, given that viewpoint, I can see where people can blame the people like you who cut their chances of achieving their dream/goal.

Irysangel
05-13-2010, 05:58 PM
And to be honest, the only reason I was so harsh on PRs is because I bought one thinking it was an urban fantasy. False marketing is my main problem here, not an entire genre which I’m mostly not familiar with or interested in.

I actually completely and totally sympathize with picking up a book and finding out it's the wrong genre. :) I thought my books were urban fantasy (albeit light, snarky urban fantasy with lots of sex) and my publisher thought they were romance, so I have romance covers and I'm on the romance shelves. I do worry that someone's going to pick up one of my books, think there's a Happy Ever After at the end of book 1, and then get upset. So far it hasn't happened too much, but I've worked doubletime to make sure that anyone that checks my website/blog/etc knows that I think it's more UF.

I do wonder how the shelves would look if the authors got to pick the genre rather than marketing. :)

(All that being said, I am really happy to be in the romance shelves because I do read and write romance...just not that particular series as much as my other stuff.)

Shadow_Ferret
05-13-2010, 07:07 PM
I want to do that, but as far as I know there's no way to tell what's in stock at a particular brick-and-mortar megabookstore. If I could look up a book I want online and a website can tell me it's at a particular store at a particular location I'm going by, I'd stop in an buy it.



All the megabookstores I've been in, B&N in particular, they have several computer kiosks throughout the store where you can search for books and it tells you if its in-stock. I don't know if you can order it from the kiosk, I've never tried it, but I know the clerks will be happy to order it for you.

ETA: Sorry, I misread your post. You were wondering about stock BEFORE you got to the bookstore. :)

Toothpaste
05-13-2010, 08:33 PM
Gee whiz! A guy/gal goes into a bookstore, doesn't see anything he/she wants to read and is irritated about it... So what? I feel his/her pain.

Hey it might be he/she is not the target audience for any of this stuff. I don't go to movies anymore because they're not made for me and they don't appeal to me. I seek out stuff that is. Does that mean there's something wrong with me? I actually stopped reading novels for about 15-20 years because every novel I tried to read sucked. I read nothing but history books, happily that whole time. Learned a lot too.

When 95% of novels are crap (and to my tastes they are), that means you have to read 9 or 10 to find 1 good one. That's $80 per paperback novel. That's why I gave it up. Can you blame me?


Look. I'm just as fed up as the next person with the saturation of the market in certain genres. Trust me, I'm getting rejected across the board because of it. But I do get frustrated when people insist there is NOTHING good in a bookstore. It just takes a bit more looking. And knowing that my books are hidden on the bookshelves and not out on any front tables, I know what it's like to feel overlooked. I hear over and over again that people want books for boys, for reluctant readers, that there aren't any in the kids' section and I just want to scream, "Actually I know of a couple that are there, you just maybe have to take a few moments longer than a cursory glance at the display tables." I'm not the only author only on the shelves, I know a lot of us, and I have read a lot of us, and there is some damn fine writing out there on the shelves in the stores.

So yes, I get frustrated when I'm told that the only things being published is crap because a) I don't think my stuff is crap and b) it's simply untrue. There ARE other books out there in stores that aren't following market trend, but they don't get the same kind of love from their houses and aren't as easy to see. Once more I say that most people who say there's nothing to read in book stores are falling prey to the marketing of the big houses.

As far as no movies out there too, I hear that all the time, that there's only big blockbuster pulp now. Then I have to ask people if they saw CRAZY HEART, or ONCE, or a myriad of small films that got less publicity but were still out there in the theatres and were totally awesome. It isn't that there isn't good stuff out there, it's that, yes, you have to care to look.

It might not be fair that one needs to look harder to find the good stuff, but it doesn't mean that the good stuff isn't out there. And people like us, looking for the good stuff, can't quit because that would mean the only people looking for things will be the people who want the same old same old.

That's my point.

Shadow_Ferret
05-13-2010, 08:58 PM
I just think it's interesting that a someone would declare that 95% of books are crap on a writer's forum. Do they not think that they just insulted 95% of the published authors here?

And as Toothpaste said, to find the good books you have to dig deeper. If you don't look, if you don't research, you won't find. Don't just go in the bookstore and look at all the tables and endcaps and make a decision because those are all filled with what's popular and what is SELLING.

Honestly, if you don't do any research before you go in the bookstore, I'm not even sure how you expect to find these gems hidden amongst the general popular books.

If you're looking for Sci-Fi, go to a website that talks about the latest releases and gives you some idea of what ones might satisfy. The same goes for any other genre.

Because the book clerks aren't there to make recommendations, they're only there to help you find things. And the book blurbs themselves are designed to make EVERY book sound good.

DeleyanLee
05-13-2010, 09:19 PM
If you're looking for SF/F, the least you can do is look at Locus and see what's going on, what authors are available. I believe they have book reviews on their website.

Even Romantic Times has their reviews of SF/F books (and other genres, not just Romance) online for people to look.

If you're daring to be other than the majority, of course you're agreeing to do extra work. It's one of the hassles of not being part of the majority, after all.

A.C.
05-13-2010, 09:45 PM
I want to do that, but as far as I know there's no way to tell what's in stock at a particular brick-and-mortar megabookstore. If I could look up a book I want online and a website can tell me it's at a particular store at a particular location I'm going by, I'd stop in an buy it.

As I've said in a previous post, both B&N and Borders do have this option. You can go to their website from home, search for a book, click the "check store inventory" link, enter your zip code, and they'll show you a list of stores close to you and whether they have that book in stock or not.

A.C.
05-13-2010, 10:07 PM
I do wonder how the shelves would look if the authors got to pick the genre rather than marketing. :)

It probabaly wouldn't be a pretty picture! ;)

I do wonder sometimes how publishers decide what goes where. For example, at my local Borders, Kim Harrison's Hollows books are in the horror section! I've read the first book and I wouldn't even consider it a "dark" UF, so I have no idea why it's stocked in horror.

Mr Flibble
05-13-2010, 10:13 PM
In my local books shop all the PR is under 'Dark Fantasy'.


Because the book clerks aren't there to make recommendations, they're only there to help you find things.

The staff at my book shop do recommend :D

DeleyanLee
05-13-2010, 10:15 PM
I have one published friend whose publisher has listed her books as adult SF, but most libraries and many bookstores shelve it in either YA (because she tends to write heroes aged 18-21) or Romance (because while it's SF, there's a lot of interpersonal conflicts--but not Genre Romance).

I remember one Romance novel I adored that was shelved in General Fiction because it had a heavy SF based world and didn't seem very romance-y from the back cover blurb.

Savvy booksellers will shelve books wherever they think the most sales will come from. Diana Galbandan (pardon if I misspelled the name) was shelved in Romance even though Outlander is categorically NOT a Genre Romance--but it had tons of the stuff Romance readers adore. Savvy placement=greater sales.

Though I don't know what excuse that leaves for most bookstores I've wandered into. I can't guess what criteria some of them use.

Shadow_Ferret
05-13-2010, 11:01 PM
I have yet to see an Urban Fantasy category in any bookstore I've been in. That genre is usually mashed in the carry-all "Sci-Fi/Fantasy." Which drives me crazy, because, really, I become overwhelmed trying to go through that large a section trying to find a specific genre within it.

And sometimes UF is put in Romance. I've seen one author with books in both sections from the SAME SERIES.

So far, only Half Price Books actually has a separate Paranormal Romance section.


The staff at my book shop do recommend :D

We used to have an independent bookstore that was just wonderful in that regard. But B&N and Borders pushed them out of business. :(

Mr Flibble
05-13-2010, 11:35 PM
We used to have an independent bookstore that was just wonderful in that regard. But B&N and Borders pushed them out of business. :(

This isn't an independent, it's Waterstone's. Obviously you have to catch them when they aren't busy. But it's got to the point now where when they see me come in, they come and tell me if there's anything new they think I'll like. They also have 'recommended' tags by books they really enjoyed with little details about why.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but all the staff there love books and love discussing what's good or great and why.

ChaosTitan
05-14-2010, 03:00 AM
It might not be fair that one needs to look harder to find the good stuff, but it doesn't mean that the good stuff isn't out there. And people like us, looking for the good stuff, can't quit because that would mean the only people looking for things will be the people who want the same old same old.


QFT.

And ditto everything else in your post.

christwriter
05-14-2010, 03:58 AM
I've read over a thousand SF/F books and less than 3% of what I've read involved vampires or werewolves.

Just off the top of my head, here are some SF/F books that will knock you on your ass.

1. Ender's Game -Orson Scott Card
2. 1632 - Eric Flint
3. Black Sun Rising - C.S. Friedman
4. Nightfall - Robert Silverberg and Isaac Assimov
5. Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
6. A Hymn Before Battle - John Ringo


Yeah ... but none of them are really RECENT. As in, just published in the last couple of years. Ringo is still pretty awesome, and Flint, but Goodkind has pretty much sunk into suck.

I've had the same annoyance with SF/F lately. The older books are still awesome (just started Zelanzy's Amber series, and Steve Brust's stuff) but the new releases are dominated by vampires, demons, werewolves and women in leather and thongs. The last good fantasy series I read that wasn't released ten years ago was Catherine Asaro's stuff. And maybe Mercedes Lackley's stuff, but she's awesome anyway.

I don't agree that it's all crap. But a lot of the new books I've seen at B&N are vampires, vampires, vampires with the occasional witches-in-leather thrown in for seasoning. The last really, really REALLY good fantasy novel I read that I love more than anything was Phantasies by George Macdonald. And that one is older than my mother.

shaldna
05-14-2010, 03:13 PM
I have a system.

When I go into my local Waterstones (Belfast) I head right, I go through the horror and graphic novels first, then the sci-fi and fantasy. Then I head around the corner to the teen, and then to the back to the kids books for something my my little one, and then I glance through the general fiction on the left hand side of the shop. and straight to the tills

Terie
05-14-2010, 03:44 PM
I've had the same annoyance with SF/F lately. The older books are still awesome (just started Zelanzy's Amber series, and Steve Brust's stuff) but the new releases are dominated by vampires, demons, werewolves and women in leather and thongs. The last good fantasy series I read that wasn't released ten years ago was Catherine Asaro's stuff. And maybe Mercedes Lackley's stuff, but she's awesome anyway.

Seriously, you're not looking very hard. I can't keep up with the market at all (day job + writing + Very Slow Reader + too much internet = falling behind) and even I can name several new fantasy series (and one SF, of which I read very little) from the past couple of years that don't have 'vampires, demons, werewolves and women in leather and thongs':

Robin Hobb (Rain Wilds Chronicles)
Carol Berg (Collegia Magica)
Elizabeth Moon (Vatta's War [SF] and Paladin's Legacy [F])
Lynn Flewelling (new Nightrunner books)
John Twelve Hawks (Fourth Realm)
Jennifer Fallon (Tide Lords)
Sarah Monette (Melusine, The Virtu, etc [no series name])
Ken Scholes (The Psalms of Isaak)

These are just a couple from my bookshelf and aren't even the tip of the iceberg.

Don't blame writers if you can't find something that tickles your fancy. It doesn't take much research at all to find Really Good Stuff to read. It shouldn't take a dedicated reader much effort to look past the front-shelf marketing and see what else is available.

Irysangel
05-14-2010, 06:31 PM
Some publishers have very specific wants, so it also helps to check out the line. Like Juno/Pocket - their current line is all urban fantasy. I know Orbit has a really good mix of traditional fantasy with UF. You might check them out. Del Rey has a few series that are historical fantasy (Naomi Novik, CC Finlay).

Rhoda Nightingale
05-17-2010, 07:59 AM
I've been frequently disappointed by books, but only after I've actually, y'know, read them. The available selection isn't the problem, and the fact that the OP completely sideswiped the entire YA section because of "outgrowing" speaks volumes about his/her inexperience in looking more closely at the titles buried a little more deeply in the section.

My favorite author right now is Scott Westerfield. I'm reading his Uglies and Midnighters series rabidly, and then I'm moving on to Leviathan, which is still in hardcover. That's all YA, and Midnighters is dark and spooky enough to be considered a proper horror series--sans vampires.

As for SF, I'm currently 100 pages into Mira Grant's Feed, which is a horror/sf crossover. Zombies, but not as you've ever seen the done before. Lots of socio-political stuff, and it's fantastic. That's only been out for about two weeks.

Keep looking. All you have to do is move past the display shelves. My "Books To Read Next" are piled up three stacks deep on my bedroom floor, and I know they'll keep me going for several months at least. This isn't even factoring in all the book-buying I'll inevitably do every time I go into the Borders. (At which all the employees know me by name and gives me recs on stuff all the time.)

As for books being too expensive, and not wanting to spend money on them just to be disappointed: I understand the concern. Libraries exist for a reason. I hit mine up twice a week.

Chasing the Horizon
05-17-2010, 09:39 AM
I never find anything I want to read at the bookstore either. I think I'm just a horrible browser, because I go online and get recs, and the books I wanted were right there all along, lol. I'm blinded by all the shiny covers or something.

If you want something to read, ask AW. That's what I do when I run out of books from other sources. I just start a thread saying exactly what I'm looking for, and let the collective master brain of AW speak its wisdom. :D

Acey
05-17-2010, 09:51 AM
I just felt the need to say that I find it pretty awesome how much drama was caused within three and a half pages: private messages, personal insults, dramatic exits and denunciations, and misunderstandings galore. Woo!

poetinahat
05-17-2010, 10:42 AM
I thought the original post was good-humored - it conveyed a punter's impressions, not an indictment of the publishing industry, and it was a bit hyperbolic, just to make a point. I thought the OP took pains to explain that position. I'm one of that 3% who wasn't offended, I suppose.

As to this comment:


Just for discussion's sake: If your trend is standard, do you realize that greatly lessens the market for new authors? That, as writers, we look at that trend and see that an already tight market is getting smaller. And, as writers, many of us do what we can to keep the market as broad as possible for we and our writer buddies have a shot at publication.

So, given that viewpoint, I can see where people can blame the people like you who cut their chances of achieving their dream/goal.

Let me make sure I understand: if I'm a writer, my patronage of other authors is obligatory? If I don't buy as many books as I can, regardless of my interest in them, I'm actually partly to blame for someone else's failure?

Sure, mutual support is good policy and also good karma. But I'd like to argue that I'm interested in supporting writers whose works I like - let's call them, from my view, "good writers". They're the ones I want to support. I sympathise with HisBoyElroy's point that, while it's admirable to take a punt on unknown titles and authors, there are practical limits. It gets too expensive not to be a little circumspect. The flipside is that, if a work does excite me as a reader, I'm hugely likely to buy the next one -- or maybe even another that can be compared with it somehow (i.e. "in the tradition of..."). So, once a good book gets a name, it might draw several times its value from me over the medium term.

On the, um, bright side, if the book market is that insular - if it depends that heavily on writers themselves - then at least we poets can take heart that everyone else is nearly in the same boat we are!

SPMiller
05-17-2010, 10:53 AM
Most of the bookstores I've been to, even the ones selling used books, tend to segregate the vampire/werewolf stuff from spec fic, so it's easy for me to only look at spec fic.

Miss Plum
05-17-2010, 06:00 PM
I thought the original post was good-humored - it conveyed a punter's impressions, not an indictment of the publishing industry, and it was a bit hyperbolic, just to make a point. I thought the OP took pains to explain that position. I'm one of that 3% who wasn't offended, I suppose.

I'm 100% with you!

DeleyanLee
05-17-2010, 06:15 PM
Let me make sure I understand: if I'm a writer, my patronage of other authors is obligatory? If I don't buy as many books as I can, regardless of my interest in them, I'm actually partly to blame for someone else's failure?

Believe it or not, I have run into this attitude from unpublished authors time and time and time again.

Please note that I never said I agree with it--it was just a point where I could see people blaming someone for their shopping preferences. As idiotic as that might be.

Rhoda Nightingale
05-17-2010, 07:11 PM
Let me make sure I understand: if I'm a writer, my patronage of other authors is obligatory? If I don't buy as many books as I can, regardless of my interest in them, I'm actually partly to blame for someone else's failure?

Sure, mutual support is good policy and also good karma. But I'd like to argue that I'm interested in supporting writers whose works I like - let's call them, from my view, "good writers". They're the ones I want to support. I sympathise with HisBoyElroy's point that, while it's admirable to take a punt on unknown titles and authors, there are practical limits. It gets too expensive not to be a little circumspect. The flipside is that, if a work does excite me as a reader, I'm hugely likely to buy the next one -- or maybe even another that can be compared with it somehow (i.e. "in the tradition of..."). So, once a good book gets a name, it might draw several times its value from me over the medium term.
This is another reason I use libraries. I read without paying a cent, and if I like the work, I go out and buy it. Sometimes after paying for things like rent, bills, gas, food, and then waiting for a few paychecks, but I always buy the ones I think are quality. It's a good policy. I do it with movies too.

Just for emphasis: libraries. Helping poor folks discover new authors all the time. Don't forget them!

That said, I tend to snap up AW author books whenever I see them, regardless.

Toothpaste
05-17-2010, 08:11 PM
For me it's about intent. I don't think anyone is obligated to do anything. My responses in this thread were all towards an individual who outright stated that they wanted to help writers with purchasing their work. My response was to that sentiment and that alone.

I will say, however, when you are on the bookshelves in bookstores, when you are published and learn just how much power the bookstores have over, well, basically your career (trust me, if one of the big bookstores doesn't stock your books, you are almost certain to not have a successful book - obviously there are rare exceptions) you do start to have a reaction when you learn people's buying habits. When you KNOW you are hidden in the shelves and just how many people don't take the time to browse, it can hurt and be frustrating.

All that said, I still don't believe anyone has to do anything, nor that writers hold obligations to their fellow writers. But if you are actively trying to help other writers, if that is something you have decided for yourself, surely there's no harm then in me pointing out what would help the most?