While running errands this weekend, I stopped into my local brick and mortar large chain bookstore, feeling the urge to possibly engage in some impulse book buying.
And I left empty handed.
Why you ask?
Pretty much the same frustration I have every time I enter a brick and mortar location of a large chain bookstore these days — the lack of space actually given to books coupled with the lack of selection once you actually start browsing the shelves. As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I am perpetually frustrated by the lack of any substantive selection in the “new” section. I often feel as if a lot of what’s put in this section is classified wrong. I get that supernatural romance novels are selling well these days, but that’s not the only thing being published in the world of science-fiction and fantasy, for heaven’s sake!
Of course, there are also the tie-in novels, which I am not above admitting that I’ve read more than my fair share and I’ve enjoyed them. But I’m at the point with a lot of tie-in novels that I’m so far behind in the ever-increasingly continuity driven, interconnected, you have to read six books before this one and four books before those six to understand or enjoy what’s going on, that seeing these tie-in novels only reminds me how far behind I am and how much out of control my to-be-read pile is and that adding ten plus books to enjoy one new one doesn’t seem like the most realistic goal. (Yes, that was a run-on sentence, but I hope it conveys my frustration and my thought process.)
Please don’t get me started on the ever-growing issue of having book three of a series but not book one in stock. Nothing frustrates the side of me that wants/needs to read a series in order to be curious about book three, but not able to find book one on the shelf. (This extends to my local library as well, though I will admit they’re doing better about having as much of a series as they can available to either check out or put on reserve).
While browsing, a thought struck me. I recalled seeing that the Hugo Awards were announced last weekend and so I decided I’d look for the newest winner, Ancillary Justice. Pulling out my smart phone and connecting to GoodReads, I found the author information and began to skim the shelves, hopeful to spend a little discretionary income on the book. And I found no copies of the book in the store. I even checked the store’s “find a book” kiosk to find no copies in the store.
I could understand if this were some niche book that few had heard of, but this book just won the Hugo Award for heaven’s sake! Couldn’t we spare some space for a copy or two so that impulsive shoppers like myself could pick it up. I will admit I hope that maybe I was just behind the curve and that the one or two copies they did have were sold out, but given my earlier frustrations with the store, I highly doubt it.
And they wonder why so many readers go to the on-line retailers to buy our books….
For the record, I managed to leave said brick and mortar chain without purchasing a single book.