A Productive Time Filler
For the Easter holiday, my house is filled with family visiting from out of town. Almost everyone (I’m the exception) loves shopping so yesterday afternoon we headed to Fashion Square in Scottsdale, which is one of the largest local malls. I connected with the family for a movie, then we planned to head further south to Chandler for a bar-b-que gathering. While the family headed off to shop for clothes, I found the location of the nearest bookstore, a Brentano’s bookstore. It was the perfect choice for me.
Writers are readers. I decided to look for Robin Lee Hatcher’s new book, Veteran’s Way to see if it had released yet. Almost immediately I was speaking with one of the bookstore employees. They searched their computers and learned that Veteran’s Way wouldn’t be available until next month.
Since they were looking on the computer, I decided to see if they had Running On Ice, my latest book which released February 1st. They located the book in their computer but didn’t have any physical copies in the bookstore. They could order it but it would take several days to get the book. I declined. As typically happens, my name wasn’t on the computerized entry—despite my name is on the cover of the book. I couldn’t do anything about it since this information comes from the book distributor and is handled several layers away from an individual bookstore.
I introduced myself to the bookstore manager and it gave me an opportunity to tell her about Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Write Now Publications). This trade paperback is currently at the printer and will soon be available. As I suspected the manager was interested to meet an author, learn a bit about the book and also understand that Write Now Publications is a Phoenix-based publisher (notice how I made my book into a relevant local connection?).
It turns out this manager was a Christian and we talked about the rise of spiritual related books such as Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now which has remained a fixture on the nonfiction bestseller list. Or we talked about the Purpose Driven Life and it’s impact on bookselling. Retailers such as Brentano’s aren’t concerned as much about the content as the impact on their bottom-line. Because of the large interest in these books from readers, the bookseller carries the book—even though most of them have no idea about the contents. This situation is the same for The Rising and the other Left Behind books. The rise of Christian fiction continues to be remarkable to the individual bookseller.
Toward the end of my brief conversation with the manager, I learned about the corporate side of Brentano’s. She said, “You know that we’re a part of Waldenbooks and Borders. Right?” I wasn’t aware this singular bookstore in one of the largest malls in Scottsdale was connected to these other enterprises. It added to my on-going knowledge about the bookselling business.
We exchanged business cards and I walked out of the store. It was a productive way to spend a few minutes on a Saturday afternoon.