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, February 25, 2010

indie-d indeed

I was in the Posman Books location in Grand Central Terminal last night, and if you wonder why I often don't shed tears for the demise of the beloved independent bookstore...

They have two copies of books by Scott Mackay on the shelf, including his book Phytosphere, which is out of print for long enough that we have a reversion of rights.

They don't have and never have had a copy of a Lost Fleet book by Jack Campbell. These books are not only in print, but have made the NY Times bestseller list.

And there's no sign that they will be getting any copies of the Warbreaker mass market by Brandon Sanderson, or the Warded Man mass market by Peter Brett, as two examples of March releases that I would expect will enjoy strong sales.

So they clearly don't have anyone buying the sf and fantasy who knows anything about sf and fantasy. They don't have very good inventory management, because their relatively small sf/f section has plenty of books that just aren't very likely to sell.Based on the concentration of odd books they have from the DAW/Roc list, it's clear they look at the monthly NAL mass market catalog more closely than some others which may imply that the Penguin sales rep is better than some of the others that call on this account.

Now, I love all my book children equally, and I was certainly happy when the Scott Mackay books came out that Posman was carrying them. At the same time, I do get that weekly Bookscan report card and I get royalty statements, and I know which books are selling and which are not. Independent bookstores are just much more likely, especially away from the categories like lit fic or children's they really care about and which motivate the owners, to have sections like this that ooze inattentiveness.

1 comment:

Jon Sprunk said...

I never thought of it from that perspective. I guess I was brainwashed to always think that independent trumps chain store. I suppose it's a case-by-case argument.