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Sunday, January 04, 2009

An open letter to the Barnes & Noble at Polaris Mall
Dear B&N,

I like your store. Really, I do. Ever since chain stores drove most of the indie booksellers in the Columbus area out of business, you've been the most easily accessible bookstore in our part of town (The Book Loft is hanging on, God bless 'em, but we don't get down to German Village that often). Your store is spacious and pleasant, the restrooms clean, the coffee smells good, and I could probably set aside my feelings about your being part of an evil mom-and-pop crushing chain except for one little thing: you act like local authors don't exist.

I checked your shelves today. No Gary Braunbeck. No Tobias Buckell. No Charles Coleman Finlay. I didn't check for Rosemary Laurey, but you probably don't stock her, either. All of these authors are recently published by big houses, and so their books should be dead easy for you to order.

I can understand if you've decided author readings and such aren't your style (the Easton B&N has been happy to have us), but seriously, could you at least stock local books? You are a part of the community, aren't you? Would it kill you to act like it? Would it really kill you to set aside a foot or two of shelf space to acknowledge that Central Ohio has a pretty vibrant writing community?

Instead, we're treated to twelve square feet entirely dedicated to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books. That's okay. I'm sure she's running low on 24-carat gold flakes to mix in with her morning oatmeal, and she needs the extra push you're giving her.

Here's the thing: we authors tend to be book junkies. We buy a lot of books. So do our friends. And so when we go to a place that obviously doesn't care about us local writers, it makes decide to window shop instead of doing actual shopping. Today, we could have easily bought $60 of books from your store. Instead, we left with a shopping list, which we'll fill on Amazon (which is arguably also evil, but is cheaper and at least carries our backlists) or save for our upcoming Book Loft safari.

Anyhow. Just something to think about.




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