So I was tagged in this Facebook post by a Barnes & Noble store in Oregon, and it made my day. That’s my book The Seventh Pleiade in the center of the display case for LGBTQ+ Science Fiction/Fantasy!
Folks may not realize what a big deal that is for a small press book. Display space in bookstores is pretty much eaten up by the big five publishing houses, who according to Flavorwire make up over a third of the book market, They pay big money to have their new releases prominently displayed at sellers like Barnes & Noble, and adding to that competitive factor, bookstores are getting smaller and many are closing shop. In these conditions, small press authors like me are lucky to have their books in stock at brick-and-mortar retailers, let alone in prominent places like the special dsplay case above.
I’m frequently asked by friends and family members: They didn’t have your book at so-and-so bookstore in my neighborhood. What’s up with that?
The answer is a couple of things. First, the shrinking number of bookstores, which are also shrinking in size, means that bookstores are buying fewer books to sell generally since they don’t have the space to stock them. Second, the people who decide which books to sell (bookstore buyers) give preference to books published by the big five since those corporations have more marketing dollars. Third, bookstores are buying smaller quantities of new titles, and unless a book has amazing sales, they’re unlikely to order more to have on display once their first order runs out. I did a check of three of my books at BN.com using their Check Store Availability link, and I was saddened to find that none of them show as in stock at any of their stores in my zip code region – the NYC metro area, one of their biggest markets in the country.
The Seventh Pleiade was pretty widely in stock when it first came out in November 2013, and Banished Sons of Poseidon got into a respectable number of stores back in 2014. Sadly, few B&Ns and independent bookstores stocked The City of Seven Gods, probably because it’s not young adult as well as the modest sales from my earlier two books.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t buy those books. You will just have to order them from your bookseller, have them home delivered or pick them up from the store. And, if lots and lots of people ask for them, some stores might start stocking them again. 🙂
Many thanks to the B&N store in Eugene for helping to spread the word about The Seventh Pleiade, and especially to author/blogger Ben Brock who works there.