I must admit that I am conflicted about reports of the impending inevitable death of Barnes & Noble and whether it can be saved… or should be.
As an aspiring novelist, I can think of few things that would be more satisfying than seeing my novel on a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble. Okay, seeing someone buying it would be nice… and selling thousands or millions of copies would be pretty sweet, too. But, let’s face it, indie publishing seems to be the wave of the future.
Indie sci-fi writer Jon Del Arroz says “good riddance” to Barnes & Noble.
So what is there to save? It’s providing books more expensively than amazon, with a worse selection. In fact, it’s the only thing keeping traditional publishing from completely caving. The book buying/selling system that is outdated and hasn’t changed since the 1930s is all B&N is promoting. You must get an agent who takes a percentage, who goes to a publisher who then takes a majority of a percentage, who marks up to a distributor who takes a percentage, who then is at the whim of a book buyer who only buys select books and cuts out most of the midlist without some arm twisting.
Let’s face it, if I published my novel through a small publisher and they got it in bookstores, online sales are crushing brick and mortar bookstore sales… so, no matter what, the satisfaction of seeing your book in a bookstore is trivial compared to the potential volume of your online sales. So, fine I accept that… In fact, I embrace it. It would be great if bookstores like Barnes & Noble gave us reasons to go into their store that can’t be replicated online, but they’re not trying… or at least, not hard enough. Case in point, it’s been a long time since I’ve even been in a bookstore. And I usually only go to browse, then look up the book online for the Kindle version. I know, sounds awful right? But, that’s the way it is.
Truth be told, I’ve not even considered any traditional publishing route for my forthcoming novel. What for? Successful indie authors make good money… I might be able to as well. I know success in indie publishing is still difficult to achieve, but hey, you’ll never succeed if you don’t try.
Being shelved in Barnes & Noble used to be a dream of mine. But, in the end, as an aspiring novelist, if the point is to sell books, Barnes & Noble just doesn’t cut it anymore.