Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crap Happens

Recently, I read a blog from someone who was warning of the dire straights bookstores are in, or will be in soon, because of the recession. In fact, I’ve read several comments this week about how we should all buy books to help bookstores survive.

Lord knows that in unhealthy economies, artists of all sorts are among the first to feel the pinch. Books, paintings, and sculptures are luxury items for many people. A choice between buying food or a book, is a no-brainer. While I’ll likely buy books for Christmas and love receiving them as gifts, I also want to say that spending my hard-earned money to support certain bookstores might be too much to ask. Here’s why.

Last month a bookstore arranged a “Meet 'N Greet” for me. I’d attended one in August and it went so well that the store invited me back. A week before the event, the store cancelled on me because a scheduling snafu had a celebrity appearing the same day. Three weeks later, another date was given to me. A week before that event, another apologetic email arrived stating that all events were now cancelled for December because the store couldn’t handle the “challenge” of hosting events while dealing with the heavy volume of customers. Huh? We’re in a recession and this store (a large store) couldn’t handle the extra work of hosting a three-hour "Meet 'N Greet" (where I do all the work) during their best sales month of the year?

Look, if authors, publishers, and bookstores want to survive tough economic times, then we’d all better step up to the plate, work harder, and think outside the box. Lately, I’ve heard far more complaining about reduced sales than new ideas for selling books. And I’ve already heard about layoffs at publishing houses and fewer contracts being offered to authors. So what else is new? During thirty-five years in the workforce, I’ve been through enough recessions and bad news cycles to know that crap happens now and then. Best thing to do is deal with it and move on. But for crying out loud, don’t tell me that selling books is too much work at Christmas time, or any other time, or you’ll lose my business.

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit,

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