I replied yesterday to a post about what was happening in the market. I’ve blogged elsewhere about this, but not in depth here, so I thought I’d do so today. Bookstores have problems keeping books stocked, buying books that don’t sell in quantity, tieing up their stocker’s hands stripping covers and sending them back, (paperbacks don’t go back to be resold, they are stripped, covers sent back, and contents recycled.) The time the stockers spend costs the story money. So the big chains have all instituted changes that directly affect you, the book reading public, and you the writer.
First, up front, near the registers, they will only stock new books by bestsellers and new books by unknowns. Your fav author who is not a bestseller? His/her book is back in the stocks. Er…stacks.
Second, they are cutting the numbers of new books they will buy. Rather than stock, say 100,000 books in the store, they are stocking say 65,000. Roughly 2/3rds the previous number. They are making them all face-out, which is nice, but if you want an author’s backlist, (previous books you have not yet read by this wonderful author you just discovered) you have to special order it in the store or from Amazon. Amazon is gonna love this change BTW.
Third, they *may* only keep the new books on the shelves (in any quantity) for one month. So, if you don’t go to the book store every month, you may well miss a release. And a writer has only 4 weeks to make him/herself noticed in the market. Which totally sucks, pardon my English.
Fourth, they are dictating to to publishers the length of the books they will carry. They have discoverd that they make the same profit on a book that is one inch thick as a book that is three inches thick. One book takes up very little shelf space. The other…well, it takes up more. Duh. Plus the price of paper is going up fast. So publishers are now specifying the length of a book to writers. And they mean business. I had to cut BloodRing by 24,000 words. Of course, that meant that I was a fourth of the way through Seraphs, but still, it was tough to do.
Can I understand why chains are doing this? Yes. Do I like it? Not really. I want to write what I want to write. But I still want to have it read by the buying public. And if I fight, that ain’t gonna happen.
Faith — who has about 50 more pages to write in the WIP, Skinwalker.