Via io9.com, faltering bookseller Borders is stocking fewer SF/Fantasy books from midlist authors.
For new entrants into the field, even a compelling debut may not be enough to get the follow-up reshelved, and proportionally less writers are getting enough exposure in magazines to build word-of-mouth for that successful debut. As [author Tobias] Buckell says, the cutbacks appear to come from on high, not in individual stores.
While Pat Cadigan and others have played with the notion of boycotting the slumping Borders chain, it’s hard to see how that’s going to get the second largest bookseller in the U.S. to order in larger quantities.
This impacts many well known, consistently selling authors, and even more so new authors with no previous track record of sales. On the site Wild River Review, fantasy author Greg Frost suggests:
My solution is no different than all the writers who’ve shouted from the battlements before me: Buy your books from independent bookstores; the ones that have survived the onslaught, the ones that we hope will arise to fill the gap.
If you’re in the U.S. and you don’t know where such stores are, go to www.indiebound.org and look them up. If you want to shop independent booksellers online, go to Powells or Elliot Bay Books. But if you love the tactility of the book, then buy locally from the small shops that are struggling to maintain your right to pick up an assortment of good books and flip through the pages.
The shrinking market bothers me on two fronts. First and foremost, I am a science fiction and fantasy fan. I like choice, I like variety, I enjoy good writing. I love the experience of finding a new, fabulous author and spending several evenings curled up lost that new world. Under the current publishing and bookselling system, that experience is going to become rarer and harder to find.
Second, I am an aspiring writer. I don’t have a lot of time to write, so it’s going to be some time before I even attempt to have something published. Will the system even be accessible to new authors at that point? In today’s age of splintering small presses, electronic media and self-hosting, what will the bookselling world look like in ten years?