Friday, October 7, 2011

Dinosaur death dance.

Independent bookstores are like the little mammals who scurry among the rocks trying to survive, while the giant dinosaurs are fighting to the death above them.

This seems more true now, than ever.

A few days ago I wrote about Kindle Fire getting exclusive e-rights to the top 100 DC Graphic Novel: titles like, Watchmen, Sandman, and Fables. You know, the evergreen books I sell on a constant basis.

I thought this might be the biggest problem e-readers would face; the Balkanization of the backlist (and frontlist, I suppose). If most all available books aren't available on most all formats, it is going to prove pretty frustrating to most readers.

Well, Barnes and Nobles reaction to the Kindle/DC deal was the pull out all 100 of the graphic novels from their brick and mortar stores.

Let the Exclusives begin!

I've always maintained that -- all other things being equal -- I thought I could compete with the big chain stores on price. That is, I didn't think price alone could wreck my chances.

What really hurts me on new material is the inequality of distribution. Getting stuff later than other stores, or not being able to get it at all. Exclusives, to me, are destructive to the marketplace. I wonder if they even prove advantageous to the big stores, when all that happens is that each store stakes out an equal number of exclusives, thus canceling out the advantages.

This is why I've concentrated on classic and cult favorites; I can neatly sidestep all the game-playing and discounts that go on with new bestsellers -- especially hardcover bestsellers.

Even there, I can sell a book if it fits my format well. I've sold the new Neal Stephenson book, Reamde, in hardcover, and I've sold a bunch of copies of Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin, and the second Patrick Rothfuss book, The Wise Man's Fear.

So, little mammal that I am, I keep on scrambling. I figure there's a chance the big boys will do so much damage to each other, I'll inherit the earth. Meanwhile, the massive asteroid -- e-books -- is about the slam into the earth and wipe out the dinosaurs. Heh.

By the way. Those 100 top DC graphic novels that Barnes and Noble no longer carries?

I've got most all of them in stock.

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