Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Why I Don't Go to Bookstores Anymore
Being the good host and uncle I am, we trekked out to University Village, where there's a huge Barnes and Noble store. Two stories, music, movies, and more books than you could shake a stick at. Thousands upon thousands of them, all begging, like pups in a pound, to be given a good home.
Personally, I rarely go to bookstores anymore, which might surprise you. I'll tell you why.
First of all, I immediately get pissed off at Barnes and Noble and their Nook device. Why? Because they allow Nook owners to read ebooks in their stores for up to one hour...for free. I have a lot of books available for the Nook, many of them shorts (which can be read in an hour), which means the free policy robs me of any royalties I might get. Why buy the book when you can read it for free in the store?
But my Nook quibble is minor. What really makes me not want to go in bookstores anymore is, as an author, I find them depressing. Even more, as a gay author, I find them doubly depressing.
It's Pride month, and I searched in vain throughout this ginormous store for a LGBT section. There wasn't one! And I really couldn't find even many gay-themed books, which made me sad.
But what really gets me down (like rainy days and Mondays) is the bookstore itself and all those books. All those books! It almost makes me want to throw up my hands and surrender (or at least throw up). How on earth does one compete with all those books upon books upon books? Going back to the dog pound analogy, one has to wonder how any dog/book ever gets adopted when the pound/bookstore is so huge?
Fortunately, I am a glass half full kind of guy, otherwise a trip to the local Barnes and Noble would send me into the deepest pits of despair. I see it this way: somehow, I do manage to sell my own books, even though you'd have to order one to get it into my local B&N. So I'm very grateful that, with all this massive competition, there are still readers out there who not only seek out, but actually spend their hard-earned dollars to see what I've dreamed up.
And when I think like that, I realize I'm a pretty lucky guy.
One more note: when I walked into the store, I said to Melissa, "Don't let me buy any books." I have a to-be-read pile at home that rivals the Sears Tower. But did she listen to me? Did I listen to myself? No, I snatched up a copy of God Still Don't Like Ugly, the sequel to God Don't Like Ugly, which I had just read.