Now that Borders in the US has gone out of business, that leaves only one main chain to fill the gap, and that's Barnes & Noble. Now some people might not see anything wrong with that, right? There's still one big chain that can get people's books out there, a place where people can go and look at physical books and browse to their heart's content.
The trouble is - who's there to fill the gap if that big retailer decides not to carry your books? A decision made by one person, for all the stores across the entire country.
That's the situation that I read about this morning when I came upon a link to Mindy Klasky's post - one she literally calls "A post I didn't want to write".
If you click through you can read her story and see the situation that she finds herself in.
I'm sure that some people will think that this isn't a big deal - after all, Amazon still exists, right, and other retailers? Well, the answer is yes and no.
First of all, as a reader, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many books I've discovered on Amazon. The site is very good at showing me books that are selling well and things 'related' to things that I've bought previously, but does it introduce me to new authors? Not really. There's a very different experience when you walk into a library and see the shelves of physical books, when you're able to pick them up and leaf through them and see the covers and the summary...
The closest I've come to this experience is Goodreads, but though the site is very popular, most people aren't aware of it. So their experience when they go to buy books is going to be very limited - they are likely either going to buy it because the site is promoting it to them, or because someone else recommended. That's a very limited scope in comparison to coming across a book on a shelf and picking it up that way.
This is the issue I have with the world we're slowly moving towards, and why I think that self publishing is so important and valuable.
Anyway, I just wanted to spread the word, so hopefully Mindy will get some more support and have better success going forward.