I like browsing the bookstores, especially this time of the year. It’s only natural, I suppose, something that most writers like to do in their spare time. I mean, you have to get out there, see what’s been published. Right?
This time of the year there are people buying books who don’t buy at any other time of the year. I remember this time last year when my book was newly out, I walked into one bookstore that was buzzing with shoppers. I’d been there a few weeks earlier for a book signing and so the staff knew me. When they spotted me amongst the shoppers, they asked if I would sign another batch of books that had just arrived, then placed a “signed by author” sticker on the cover.
Local books were stacked up everywhere, and waiting to be placed on the shelves. I’d never seen that particular store quite that busy.
Of course every store has their own way of displaying books, with different categories—Health and Fitness, Biographies, Children’s, Local, etc. It makes sense. You want a certain type of book you know what section to head in.
Many of the bookstores I’ve been to display my book in the local section. There seems to be quite a number of people who like to support local authors. Many of them buy all their books in that section especially during the Christmas season. I think it also says something for the bookstore. It lets the local writing community know that they are supportive of our local talents.
One day last week, while out with a few friends shopping I mentioned that the particular bookstore in the mall we were in displayed my book in the teen section and how I felt it was lost among some of those huge sellers that are on the market now.
Why wasn’t it in the local section, we wondered?
You’ve gotta love friends who take it upon themselves to find out the why. So while they marched into the bookstore and asked, I
hid waited at a safe distance for them outside one of the other shops. They were gone for what seemed like a very long time.
The answer they were given was that this particular store only displays non-fiction books in their local section.
My friends were not giving up easily.
So why is *******’s book in that section— it’s fiction? (The lone fiction title there I might add. Could be it was put there by mistake.)
The worker finally bowed out, saying that she works in stationary….I guess some questions defy answers.
Now, while I understand that each storeowner has a right to display books where they wish, I question the choice of this particular bookseller to omit fiction from their local section. Not everyone looking to buy local, steers away from fiction. In fact, it might encourage those looking for local books to buy some of the great fiction that’s being published in our region.
Ah well, I appreciated the effort my friends made. I certainly wouldn’t have had the nerve to ask this myself. On the other hand, I’d speak up quick enough about some one else’s book. It feels different when it’s your own. At least, it does for me. Guess I’m just not a pushy broad.
This leads me to ask several questions:
Are you one of those book buyers who like to support local authors? Do you like to see fiction and non-fiction displayed side by side in the local section?
For any of the authors out there:
Have you ever entered a bookstore and asked to see where your book is displayed? Would you let the bookstore know if you thought it should be displayed in the local section? Or do you even think it matters what section you book is displayed in?