Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is this real?

There's an interesting email exchange here on the Seattle Mystery Bookstore blog between an author who wanted to arrange a signing and the store owner.

The author is published by Amazon. The store owner said "no dice."

In reply the author said Amazon is actively promoting indie store events.  Quoting now "The results have been spectacular. Hundreds have been showing up at these events. It is a tremendous show of support for the independents."

This is in the past tense. As in this has happened.

My question is this: has it?


I'm very VERY interested to hear from bookstore owners, authors, or event attenders who have been part of any reading at all (not just crime fiction) held at an indie store that was promoted by Amazon.


I'm skeptical simply because I don't think the crime imprint at Amazon, Thomas and Mercer, has actually printed a book yet. Their website refers to the books as "coming soon."


But I don't want to start jumping up and down screaming "fowl" (yes that's intended as a joke; an oblique reference to Mr. Little and the velocity of the sky) without doing some research.


So, is this real?

17 comments:

Deb said...

Oh man, I want to know too! I love my indie bookstores, and if there is a way Amazon can work with them, great. But I'm skeptical as well.

Keary Taylor said...

When they say they're published by Amazon are they meaning Createspace, Amazon's POD service? I am self-published and use them, and if that is the case here, I've never heard of this kind of a program. I must investigate!

kitty said...

Sorry to go off topic, but did I miss the contest winner? The contest was a couple of weeks ago.

Laura said...

Doubt it...

caraellison said...

Janet, what did you think of BJ's main point, which is that Amazon was eating alive indie bookstores? Agree, disagree?

ryan field said...

I hadn't heard anything about this. In fact, I read a piece this week somewhere that said bookstore owners are now charging admission for author appearances because people are coming to hear the author but aren't buying any print books. Interesting.

libertybaybooks said...

I own Liberty Bay Books, Indie bookstore. I had an event w/Craig Lancaster, pub'd by Amazon. Craig had to bring books as I couldn't get them from Ingram POD, we shared in sales. Amazon people came to event. ALl was fine. I did make money at event. SO good for all.

Josh said...

This exchange is fascinating, to say the least. I certainly think it was educational for the author-or at least hope it was-and it provides some great behind-the-scenes industry perspective for booksellers. Ironic, s I just posted an article about the necessary evolution of bookstores in competition with ebooks and virtual markets, if anyone's interested - http://write-strong.com/?p=543

Janet Reid said...

LibertyBayBooks, when you say "amazon people came to the event" do you mean people who heard about the event via Amazon publicity? And do you have an estimate, even a rough idea of how many?

Shakespeare said...

Speaking to Ryan Field's comment, I've never heard of any indie bookstores charging for entrance to an author's reading. The author's engagement while reading from and discussing his/her book(s) is often the MAIN and sometimes the ONLY reason I purchase the book. I cannot possibly count the number of times an author has sold his book to me in person, through a session like this one.

Why would anyone go to an author's reading and not buy a book, unless the presenter was uninteresting or the attendee already owned a copy? And how would that hurt the bookstore? Those who come in would probably still peruse shelves and make other purchases while there. Certainly, those who primarily read e-books could make a difference, I suppose.

alaskaravenclaw said...

Technically, it's the present perfect tense.

Charging admission to an author's event, with the exception of maybe 25 authors in the world... I can't see that working.

As for why someone wouldn't buy the book at the event, two reasons come to mind:
1. person already has the book
2. person has no money.

ryan field said...

Shakespeare...I blogged about this the other day. I didn't mention the post because I hate hocking my blog on someone else's blog. Here's a link to the NYT piece where I read it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/business/media/22events.html?_r=2&src=tptw

Mark Fenger said...

Here is a link to a blog post about the Liberty Bay reading. It appears there were actual Amazon reps there.

http://www.shellistevens.com/blog/2011/02/10/oh-what-a-relief-it-is/

Rebecca T. Little said...

Oh wow, my husband got a mention ;)

Seriously though, I think you may be on to something. Curiouser and curiouser. Maybe someone from Amazon would like to comment? ::listens to the crickets::

Stuart Neville said...

Here in Belfast, there is often a charge for top author events. For example, James Ellroy, Lee Child and Tess Gerritson events have had an admission charge. They are the minority, though, and the charge is more to cover the cost of a larger venue - these readings have audiences in the hundreds. Between 600 and 700 for the first Ellroy event, in fact.

When I toured Germany last month, most of the events had an admission charge, usually around 10 EUR. And a few of them had 100+ audiences. Bear in mind this is for a first novel from a new author, and these kinds of charges and audiences are the norm.

Ricky Bush said...

Hmmm...Amazon's flying this guy around with an English professor and they are sending out representatives to book signings also. Dang. I wished they'd reply to my e-mail about how to go about submitting to them.

Melissa said...

The big local bookstore here in Austin doesn't have Amazon events that I know of. I'm sure if Amazon wanted to host a confab, they could, but I'll bet dimes to donuts an admission fee would be in place. If a hard copy book isn't for sale at the store, everyone's just using space free of charge. Not too fair for the bookstore.

I have had to pay an admission fee to see certain big name authors, e.g. Hilary Clinton, which I could apply to a book purchase. But I'm like a lot of people ... who goes to a book signing and doesn't buy the actual book? Of course, unless they already have it. That's poor form.