A friend (and author) called me recently after visiting a large bookstore in Northern California and, his voice suitably hushed, told me that, on a weekday, he had been the only customer in sight. That’s typical of the nightmarish tales about traffic in bookstores and book sales now ripping through my world as 2008 ends.
Emphasis added by me.
Why is this a surprise?
Back on June 20, 2008, I posted:
Even at Shakespeare & Co.’s NoHo store (which used to have great stock; and which now doesn’t).
But they weren’t.
And then I looked around.
And, dear God almighty!, the stores should have had tumbleweeds running through them because they were like abandoned ghost towns!
This was all in Manhattan.
This has never, ever happened before.
Even in past recessions, I’ve seen people in books stores. The places were alive. Now they are dead.
Which now really amps up my contempt for the shitheads running the dying dinosaurs of print.
Do you ever get out of your fucking offices and visit the places that actually sell your books?
How could you miss the fact the loudest noise you’ll hear in those bookstores is the sound of dust settling?
eBooks grew at over seventy percent in the last year.
Why isn’t that a big enough hint for you lot to change course? To sound the Red Alert klaxon and get busy as all hell adapting to the new marketplace? Is it your intent to avoid being where your customers are?
All of you former publishing employees — again: If you’re such hot shit, Get It Done.