What’s the Future of Bookselling?
A TRIP TO A BOOKSTORE
WE HAPPENED to step into a Barnes and Noble bookstore the other day. The experience set the wheels in my head turning– reawakening ideas I’ve had for a while.
On one level the experience was disheartening. An enormous store filled with tens of thousands of titles of well-packaged books on every possible subject– with about seven customers in the entire gigantic place, counting the two of us. As it was, there were two clerks for the store– several registers sitting closed, as well as an information counter. We eventually found a stray clerk to help us– the other was at a front register which seemed a mile away.
I’ve often thought that while big box stores may work in some instances, they aren’t ideal for books. You need large turnover– one would think– simply to pay for leasing, lighting, and heating the monster places. High-ceilings yet. Tremendous overhead– not to mention the amount of stock.
Titles, yes, and authors. Too many for any of them to stand out.
What am I saying? Less is more. Smaller is better. Avoiding Too Much Information is the first rule of sales.
OR– a new style of bookstore could be developed– it’s on our drawing board. It would work only in conjunction with the right kind of promotion, driving demand, and with an entirely new style of literary writing designed to stand out. Which hits the reader hard from the start.
The novel itself needs to be overhauled.
No easy trick– but possible.
-Karl Wenclas, New Pop Lit NEWS