Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm a reader, too

Every Wednesday I blog about what I'm reading at my own blog. I don't really review books, just give an impression. If I love the book I will say so, but if I hate it...I won't. This is the "reader" me, but I'm also an author.

Recently the "reader" me has been increasingly frustrated by the publishing industry. Since I bought my Sony Reader, my favourite place to buy books has been the Sony Store. It's just so easy and seamless to buy and download. However, in recent months, every time I go there - the books I want are not available in Canada. Just today I checked to see if newest releases by some of my favourite authors were available (Sweet Temptation by Maya Banks, The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross, Black Magic by Cherry Adair) and also Jennifer Weiner's Fly Away Home - I could not purchase any of these books. So I went to another favourite romance ebook site. Those books aren't even there.

I understand that ebooks retail sites are working with publishers on the agency model issue but in the meantime- as a reader, I'm frustrated.

And then to make things even more frustrating, I resort to going to the brick and mortar bookstore. Don't get me wrong - I love the bookstore. I still like paper books, too, and I will purchase them from time to time because if I don't, there won't be any more bookstores to go sit and drink Starbuck's coffee and peruse books and magazines.

The last three trips to the bookstore I have left empty handed. Me, who used to drop $100 easy every time I went. I wander up and down the aisles and I can't find anything that appeals to me. I've always considered this bookstore to have a great romance section - but man, all there is is freaky deaky sci fi futuristic vampire werewolf stuff. (No offence to my fellow authors who write paranormal, but it's not my first pick to read.) Where's all the straight contemporary, ones with some sexy heat? Where are the romantic suspense (and I mean ROMANTIC suspense, not a book full of shooting and killing and exploding). They don't even have new releases like the ones listed above! The one time I in desperation made a purchase, it was a new-to-me author whose book had gotten a good review at a major review site, and I paid $18 for it - and I hated it. At least with an ebook, the price is generally lower so you can make those risky purchases with...well...less risk.

From an author perspective I've heard the trends - that contemporary romance is in a slump, that romantic suspense is a hard sell to publishers right now. And now as a reader I'm seeing it in the bookstores - there's nothing I want to read.

In tough economic times with large publishers having financial problems - how do they expect to increase sales if readers can't get thier books? Or can't get the books they want to read? I know I'll be getting my books at places like the publishers we all write for here at the Naughty Nine.


Leah Braemel said...

Kelly, as a fellow Canadian, I've been really frustrated with the choices available to me on the Sony library too. So many titles are greyed out these days. I refuse to pay full price for a paperback at a brick-and-mortar store because I can't buy it as an ebook--same as series that started out as paperbacks that the publisher decides to release as hardcover partway through the series. I will wait until they go on sale for $10. It means I may wait a few extra weeks but I know I will find them. Publishers are shooting themselves in the foot and they can't even see it.

Meg Benjamin said...

Ah yes, and then we have the publishers who insist on charging the same price for ebooks and hardbacks. Never mind that the production cost of the ebook is a fraction of the hardback. If you want Stephen King, you should pay for it! Grrrr.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Leah, yes, I so agree, and why can't they see it?

And oh,yeah,Meg - I never even got into the price thing! That's another thing that frustrates me.

PG Forte said...

I've almost given up on bookstores for fiction. The books released by epubs are just far more interesting, IMO.

The big, traditional publishers are playing it safe and safe is boring. Epubs take more chances which means right now they're the ones getting all my money.

The only things I look for in brick and mortar bookstores these days is coffee, calendars and more cool accessories for my nook!

Kelly Jamieson said...

That's true PG - with the big publishers I tend to buy my tried and true favourite authors. Sometimes those are authors who published first digitally and are already known to me. But there's so much to choose from with digital publishers.

Erin Nicholas said...

I'm with you all. I haven't bought a book in a brick-and-motar store in forever. For one e-books are more interesting as PG said (I'm not biased at all) and SO much easier to get! Well, here anyway. Kelly, that would be driving me crazy!! But yeah, Meg, the price is an issue. I'm NOT paying the same for an e-format as print. I'm just not.

Print publishers aren't stupid-- they just aren't good with change, apparently! :) They'll catch up. I'm pretty sure. Kind-of. Mostly.