I have been having some success in getting my book into several of the local bookshops around my hometown of Maynard MA. I decided to try my luck at some bookstores in nearby towns so I headed on over to Concord MA. You'd think that I had traveled from Kevutu to another planet. I entered the Concord Bookshop and asked if they carried books by local authors. From the first look from the guy behind the desk I knew I was in for trouble. He had this look like: "Oh no! Not another one!" I guess there are a lot of writers in Concord. Yea, I know it's the town of Thoreau and Emerson and all the rest but if they had been given that kind of look from their booksellers we might have never heard of them. Maybe everyone who thinks she is the new Thoreau or Emerson has moved to Concord and now hounds the local bookstores.
When I was directed to another person in the shop I was given a piece of paper stating the policy guidelines for getting books on consignment. The first line told me that I would have to pay a $100 fee just to be considered. The paper explained that the money was necessary for paying for shelf space and the time and energy it took to put that book on said shelf space. Really? I want that job.
Is this what bookstores have come to? They are losing sales from customers so they are going to make it up by dousing struggling authors. I know I'm no Thoreau or Emerson but I'm no Trump or Buffet either. I'm lucky if I make a couple of bucks from a single book sale. How many books would I have to sell to justify paying a $100 shelf fee. What if all the bookstores adopted this policy?
The internet may ring the death knell of bookstores and may be the only saving grace left for authors.