Respect Your Bookstore
With my tour approaching fast, I wanted to address a trend I’ve noticed in recent years. Not too long ago, I showed up for a book signing at one of my favorite stores. The booksellers informed me that a group of women had arrived with copies of my book that they’d bought elsewhere and wanted me to sign. It was clear that they had no intention of making any purchases at the store that was hosting the event. While I can’t say for sure, I think it’s safe to assume that the books were likely purchased at a steep discount from another bookseller (maybe a certain online bookseller).
I absolutely understand that the economy is tight and spending money on a hardcover book is a luxury. And believe me, I appreciate every purchase of my books. But I would like to ask anyone coming to a reading to consider the host of the event. This year’s tour will be taking place almost entirely at independent bookstores. The fact that they’re some of the best-run shops in the country doesn’t change the fact that most of them are just scraping by.
If your budget won’t allow, I totally understand. Many people at readings have checked the book out of the library, have come just for the talk, or simply want a chance to shake hands with the screenwriting genius behind Plan B. But when you bring in a book bought from the competition, it may not sit well with the store that has gone to the trouble and expense of hosting the reading and signing. If you can’t purchase my book, perhaps there’s another novel you’ve had your eye on. Or even a book of poetry, if that’s your thing. I don’t judge (heh).
In any case, please don’t cart in a stack of books bought elsewhere. The hope of the bookseller is that the signing will pay for itself. If it doesn’t, they have less incentive to host authors, especially new ones. More importantly, it hurts their bottom line. I think it’s worth pointing out that the bookstore where the awkward situation happened has since gone out of business.
That said, I’ll sign anything: casts, food items, relatives, imaginary pets, maybe even a legal document, if you catch me in the right mood. So if you have to buy the book elsewhere and you need me to sign it, maybe you can chase me down in the parking lot. I always have a pen on me.