Today is World Book Day!
Bookstore chains like Borders and WaldenBooks have gone the way of Marshall Field and Woolworth. Houston's legendary Brazos Book Store's Mark Haber says we might be surprised to learn the industry is thriving. "People are still reading. People are still buying books. I think independent book stores are doing well. There are more opening and many are making a good profit. Books are a very small-margin product, so they must be selling a lot of books.”
Although online book sales are successful - it's good to have help when you don't know what book to read next, or just want to "talk books" to another reader or ask some advice. Haber continues, "We help people by first asking them what they really love. Then we suggest another author that we think they will love just as much. We also ask if they would like to change direction, and suggest an author or specific book that many of our other customers have enjoyed.” And you can still keep your tiny attention span. "We have seen an up-serge in books that are a little slimmer, almost to the size of a novella.That could certainly be the result of shorter attention spans we all seem to have now thanks to the internet."
Haber also says that Amazon can't hold events with authors in the store like bookstores can, either. Last night they hosted 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers. Stores become a part of their community and usually support a book group as well and local authors. “We do have books from local authors who may have self-published. We like to support them with book-signing events. Mostly, however, we sell from more traditional publishers.”