Monday, December 5, 2011

All the beautiful books.

Oh, man. There are a lot of books.

I am resistant to 'best-seller' lists, but I'm a sucker for 'best-of' lists.

I go to sites like Flavorwire or Shelf Awareness, and they show the cover to a book and I want it. They list books in a theme, and I want them all. They mention a book that is "like" other books and I got to have it.

I have a feeling that there is some quid pro quo going on in some of these lists. Reviews and ads do seem to coincide a lot. But if they seem cool, I guess maybe that doesn't matter.

Just looking at the liquidation sites, it's amazing how many cool books seem to have fallen between the cracks of publishing and selling. Good looking books, with interesting subjects, but obviously they didn't sell enough.

There's room for only a few at the top -- and they aren't always the best, obviously. In fact, the reason I don't look at the best-sellers lists is because they are mostly atrocious. I'd say about half of the books are readable, and maybe thirty percent are good. As a general rule.

Pulp, and faux literature. (This is not to say, genre -- to me genre can be as good as anything Oprah recommends, and often better -- no, I'm talking about the lowest common denominator of these types of books.) The hardest thing for me to do is not roll my eyes when someone says they like a horrible author. (And here, I'm not actually talking about the quality of the writing so much as the sleazy, jump on the bandwagon, calculating nature of so many best sellers.)

Meanwhile, there's a book over there that is totally original. But I can't sell it, because the customer has never heard of it.

I can't read all these books -- but I can get a general sense of them. I use that instinct to buy books, and my store reflects that. If I'm right, I'll sell enough of them. If I'm wrong....

Well, I can't be wrong.


Leitmotiv said...

Here's a cool flow chart utilizing NPR's top 100 Sci-fi/Fantasy books.

Andy Z said...

Look, evidence to back up what every bookstore owner already seems to know:

Duncan McGeary said...

Sf signal.

Curse you for showing me this site.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, I don't think I see this behavior in my store much, but....yeah.

They never were my customers....that's the way I look at it.

H. Bruce Miller said...

I confess to sometimes browsing in B&N, finding a book that looks worthwhile and then checking to see if it's available as an e-book. But the motive isn't price -- it's convenience. I'm tired of buying books, reading them once and then having them clutter up the house for years. Or decades.