Friday, October 19, 2012

"I carry new books." "Really?"

Well, let's see here.

I've gone downtown nearly everyday for nearly 30 years, and I don't think I have ONCE been bothered by cigarette smoke.

A ban is totally unnecessary and will only add to downtown Bend's aura of elitism.


This isn't meant to be political.  err... well, yes, kinda, no, no, not political.

Watching Obama on the Daily Show, he's just a lot more fun than Romney.  I shudder at four years of Mr. Square.


Have gotten two of the critiqued manuscripts back for The Reluctant Wizard.  Sarah was pretty strong in her criticisms, which I asked for; and Jim was candid.  I'm not actually looking closely at what they say until I'm done dealing with this round of I'm Only Human.  Then I'll set it aside and look at the first book, and so on, back and forth, until I think they're ready.

THEN I'll think about how I want to market it.


Interesting article on Huff Post about how Newsweek didn't so much die as commit suicide.  That magazines have actually been up the last few years, albeit at lower than old levels.

Anyway, that's the same way I feel about books.  Borders didn't so much as die as commit suicide.  Barnes and Noble slit their wrists and will slowly bleed out.

Hell, the publishers started committing hari kari before their enemies even landed on the island.

Bookstores have been folding blaming e-books, when it really was damage from the big stores and Amazon, but most especially their own bad business decisions; not changing with the times, or making the wrong changes (i.e. going away from books and into the coffee business, or the 3rd space business, or whatever....)  Carrying a sufficient inventory of good books should keep a bookstore open, in my opinion.

These stores didn't so much die as commit suicide.

So I call Hooey.   Books ain't going anywhere.

Linda had a brief downturn at the peak of the e-book hype, but has since come back.  My store has seen mostly increases since if first put new books in -- despite almost no locals being aware that I carry new and used books.

I was talking to two downtown store owners, one who is right across the street, and in the course of the conversation I mention I carry new and used books.

They both express surprise.

I point to my store window and say,  "See I have J.K. Rowlings, and The Cloud Atlas, and The Hobbit right there in the window."

So we talk about other things for awhile.

Later in the conversation, I'm mentioning "new" books and they both express surprise that I carry "new" books, despite the earlier words.


I depend on word of mouth, but most especially on walk-in traffic by visitors -- who don't have preconceptions and see books and automatically credit me for being a bookstore.

Nothing is harder to break than preconceptions. 


Anonymous said...

During the summer we frequently had "urchins" hanging out near our entrance smoking. Our doors are usually open if the weather is nice...I politely asked one of the kids if they could move down away from the alcove (where everyone must go through to get to our doors) so that our customers did not have to walk through a cloud of smoke, and so the smoke did not get funneled into our store. The youth replied that they were 10 ft. from our doors and I could go !@#$ myself. These are the ones that hang out for hours in one spot...not the worker on a coffee/cigarette break. This is probably more of an example of a different problem, but the smoke smell lingered in the store for hours as it blew in every time the door opened. That was the first time that I noticed a smoking "problem" downtown. It may not be a problem at your store, or nearby, but if you are unlucky enough to have the situation we did, or are located next to the spot where everyone takes a regular smoking break...I can see it being a problem for some.

Duncan McGeary said...

Do you think a smoking ban is a good idea? I mean, I can see your point of view.

You're right, I don't seem to have that problem (nor the loiterers...)

I'm worried about the messaging.

Is this a way to discouraging loitering?

Duncan McGeary said...

That might be a very clever way to discourage loitering -- of course, it would have to be enforced.

Like I said, I do worry about downtown not seeming friendly to locals.

Steve said...

I have always been supportive of smoking bans in enclosed spaces (stores, restaurants, bars, etc.), and do not think it is detrimental to the business (in general more folks will paronize the bus. if they don't have to deal with secondhand smoke). I generally do not support smoking bans in public (sidewalk, park, beach) areas...but navigating a cloud of smoke is a deterrent for folks. In dealing with the loiterers this summer, I could see shoppers make a wide arc (or as much as the sidewalk allowed) around the smokers...which took them away and around our door. We definitely lost browsers, but dedicated or return customers were likely not deterred. I have qualms regarding a downtown smoking ban, but I don't know if it would really send an "unfriendly" message...I need to think about that one some more.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"A ban is totally unnecessary and will only add to downtown Bend's aura of elitism."

Couldn't agree more. The smug, smirky, my-lifestyle-is-better-than-yours attitude that too many Bendites (especially Westsiders) have developed over the last 10 or 12 years is one of the least attractive things about this burg.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Unless somebody is standing next to you and blowing smoke in your face, second-hand smoke in the open air is not a problem. I think the impetus behind this idea is that certain holier-than-thou people object to the very IDEA of smoking.

If I recall correctly, this idea was floated a number of years ago and was shot down by the council.