About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


One of the responses to the Borders post makes me ask: where an author knows that a particular book or series is much more likely to be found at a particular chain, should they maybe say so on their web site? Save gas, support the stores that are supporting them, that kind of thing? May not always be one-sided in favor of one chain over the other; Elizabeth Moon can direct people to Borders for the Deed of Paksenarrion trade paperback, to B&N for The Speed of Dark trade paperback, and to both for the Speed of Dark mass market. But do you all know that the new Borders web site which will soon be replacing their Amazon arrangement, allows you to check in-store availability of any book? And that the B&N web site does the same? At B&N, there is a "Check Store Availability" box right on the search results page. At Borders, one click further since you need (at least right now) to select the title, and can then find the Store Search feature. Ed could have reserved a copy of GOBLIN WAR at his local Borders, or found another Borders that had all three, and discovered that no B&N in 100 miles had either of the first two books...

Three cheers to Michael Feingold in The Village Voice who says of Parlour Song "drably overworked material" and "another pointlessly accumulated antique" in this week's issue.


sex scenes at starbucks said...

I come your way via Colleen Lindsay. Welcome to Blogland. :)

Ed said...

That would, of course, be the smart way for me to do it. :)

On the otherhand, for me, stopping in at the bookstore is most often a whim decision. I pass either the B&N or Borders on the way home daily. On a light traffic day, if I've got nothing else pressing, I'll poke my head into the local store and see what's new. In this particular case, I remembered that Golbin War had just been released, and went to check out if the stores had it. That's what I get for living spur of the moment.

If the stores were further out of my way, I'd be much more inclined to check availablility beforehand.

Its still frustrating to see a store stock book one, and book three of a series, and not book two. Especially since I know that they've been stocking book one for quite some time (I bought my copy of Goblin Quest there, and by the next week/visit, it was replaced.) but I haven't seen book two in stock. I'd hoped that when the new book came out, there'd be an uptick in which books they carried, and I'd grab both at once. I was disappointed to see that not be the case.

Jim C. Hines said...

You know, I've wondered about that myself. I know one chain is more goblin-friendly than another, but should I mention that on my blog? Should I encourage people to shop goblin-friendly stores?

Or would it make more sense to ask people to stop by the stores that don'i stock the books, in the hope that if enough copies are ordered, maybe the chain will change its policies?

Anonymous said...

I think authors *should* mention such things on their web sites and blogs. I know some folk do say that it is shameless promotion, but-- why do most of us follow author blogs - to discover who the writer is behind the book, and, when the next one is coming out.

Blogging does have an influence on sales as far as I can see. It's better than tv advertising. We vicariously get to 'know' an author behind the book jacket photo. And, yes, it does make me buy more books.

It's fun knowing that CJ is learning to skate. That Kate Elliott likes to canoe, that Ebear has conversations with her cats.

When we get to know these people we feel more powerful. We can go into a bookstore - it's 'Chapters' here in Canada, turn out their books face front on our own. Stand at the counter and demand a novel not in stock. (Loudly). Point a customer to a well-loved author with confidence.

When I go into a big chain bookstore it annoys me when only the BN authors are stocked in reams. I want to discover new people to read as well as my favorites, and, as a 'budding' author myself it just sends more disappointment to my possibilities if I am never going to get a chance to shine. Even if B & N are saying it isn't just the BN authors, it's going to seem like it. If I walk into the store and only see a few books on the shelf that will make me quite angry. Yes, I can order anything off the Internet. That never beats going to the store. My kids always loved it, too.

The Brillig Blogger said...

I don't think re Jim Hines chains pay enough attention to special order volume to justify having people go to stores that don't have a book so they can order it, wait for it, go back. Not unless maybe there's a spike where scores of copies are suddenly ordered, in which case there's probably something else going on as well. Send people to where they can instantly gratify themselves. For your Goblin books, they screen their order against the store rank to determine which books got a GOBLIN QUEST to begin with, which stores sold QUEST determine which got HERO, how many copies they sell ongoing determines if they continue to carry it. You don't want to have someone place a special order at the cost of losing a sale that might be the difference between your book staying or not where it already is.

Greg Gunther said...


I enjoy reading your blog topics, but your choice of tiny blue fonts is killing my eyes.

Please try a larger font. Perhaps in Arial and a darker charcoal color. Just a suggestion.

Adrienne said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, and can I say I love your blog's name! Awesome. I could even say "frabjous"!

One thing (and yes this is totally sticking my nose where it does not belong), I am afraid I must agree with with Mr. Gunther. The bright blue writing is a bit much on the eyes, personally. It isn't a big deal for me, my eyes are still pretty good, but you may consider going a shade darker or something.

If this is obnoxious I apologise and please feel free to visit my blog and diss my colour choice as well. I am sure it is not to all tastes.

Again, welcome!

Aimless Writer said...

Buying a book should not be this complicated.
I like when the author's site just says "Click here to buy the book."
Take me anywhere--have credit card--will shop!