Sunday, April 4, 2010
Stephanie Meyer is an idiot.
My quick take on Stephanie Meyer and her free book giveaway:
She is a complete and total idiot and so is her publisher. There. (That was the original ending for this blog). But opinions were invented for me and short sentences are for death row inmates… So why does this matter to me? I sell books for a living, period. And when one of the biggest authors of this time chooses to GIVE AWAY a book that would break most sales records, in a time where indie bookstores, not to mention the entire book industry, could use the revenue, it’s just fucking stupid! She said she “wanted to thank her fans” because they bought a “ton of her books”. So let me get this straight my dear Mormon vampire: you want to thank people who paid the lowest price they could for your work by giving them something free? Oh good lord Stephanie! She also says on her website; “My publisher was awesome and embraced this idea”. That statement has so much bullshit in it that I’m surprised that President Obama hasn’t signed it into law!
That’s like saying that J.K. Rowling is so excited about her new theme park that everyone who pays admission gets a free digital copy of her next book: ‘Harry Potter: Bloody Hell and Broomsticks’. Publishers are hurting (‘course you can’t tell by their actions and backdoor deals) just as much as the rest of the book industry and there is no way you can convince me that they would be OK to give away what would undoubtedly be the hottest book of the summer leading into Christmas. Sorry. Go sell that shit to fans of Bella and forest nymphs, not me. I don’t think this will kill the book industry but it’s damn sure another nail. I know, I know, I know… they are making a print version of this book for $13.99. But guess what Captain Obvious? Amazon is selling it for 45% off! Well this just keeps getting better and better! Not only do we have to compete with 45% off from industry Ebola’s like Amazon, Sam’s Club, and Costco… we now have to compete with FREE!
One thing authors and publisher fail to realize, even though it’s been in their face forever, is that you need indie book seller and indie bookstores! Sorry, but faceless warehouse-style bookstores employees are about as helpful to book lovers as lead underwear is to a scuba diver. Indie bookstores have ALWAYS been the driving force behind recommending, selling, and getting excited about books. Yes, I will concede that you do have “true” booksellers in the cookie cutter bookstores that love books like the ghetto loves gub’ment cheese. But they are few and far between. I was one and I’m still friends with one at the Borders here in town. But I’m on a tangent… let me refocus…
I’m not going to get excited about selling a book when I know that somewhere someone is offering a LEGAL copy for free. My store will be selling the book for $13.99, regular retail. Or… OR… I can download it for free on my iPhone while standing inside said store! YAAAHHHH for me!!! I know what some of you are thinking: but Mr. Pissed off Jeep Lover, most books you can already get in a digital for free. Well… yes you can. But 1. It’s ILLEGAL and 2. Who asked you? My frustration is I’m working hard as a bookseller. I read, I blog, I review, I take pictures, I recommend, I get excited, I pimp, I up sell, I FaceBook, I TwitterBook, and once I get my degree in Engineering and figure out Google Wave, I’ll do that too. I do what I can to make my hand selling experience and my customers book buying experience as fun as possible. It pisses me off that the same industry that I’m trying to sustain is the same industry that’s sawing my head off with a machete. Indie bookstores are fighting tooth and nail with the no personality box stores and online loser websites and we’ve had some small victories. But asking us to compete with free is too much. Wait, how about this? How about I not buy the book from the publisher and just print it out at my store? I can use certain chapters as bag stuffers. “Thank you for shopping my store today. Here are chapters 1 – 3 of the new Stephanie Meyer book. If you come back next week I’ll have chapters 4 – 6 for you”! And to really make things interesting, I can offer my blood in a cute little vial that says “Eat Sleep Suck-Me-Dry”. I can bundle that with that wonderful ‘Twilight’ graphic novel that isn’t selling.
Yes, we will order this new Stephanie Meyer to have in stock because we’re supposed to. Just like every bookstore should have a copy of that mind fuck of a novel ‘The House of Leaves’. Look Publishers; bundle the e-book with the hardcover if you must. Sell the e-book for the same price as a trade, and give indies the same discount you give Big Daddy Plantation owning Amazon. Allow us to be creative with CO-OP dollars. But don’t give away the book for free. Damn.