SHELF LIFE: See Simon Run
The publishing world is changing. I know that sounds like a “duh” comment, but I’m not talking about eBooks, Amazon, bookstore closings or publisher consolidation. I’m talking about book tours. I have to start planning my travel plans for my NO SHOW book tour, but as much as I would like to travel the lengths of the country, I have to be a realistic. These days, I can reach more people from the comfort of my own home than I can do traveling the country. Social networking has put me in arm’s reach of a lot people that wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. That’s somewhat of a shame as I like meeting new people and old friends while visiting different places. However, book tours aren’t what they were a few years ago. Bookstores are disappearing. Where I used to hit two or three bookstores in each city, I’m down to one option in some cases. The problem is doubled by book signing attendance drop off due to changing reading habits. I have more readers than I did five years ago, but they don’t come to signings. People read digitally, so there’s no need to come to the signings. The book collectors have all but disappeared, which is a real shame. These guys tutored me on the book industry workings when I started out. Things aren’t helped by the rising cost of air travel. The days of $50 Southwest flights are long gone. And at the end of the day, tours are time consuming and one of my publishers said to me recently, they’d prefer me writing than traveling. It’s a complicated situation. I’m not complaining. It’s just the realities I’m facing.
While I could lament all this, it doesn’t do me any favors. Times are changing so I have to change with them.
Despite the changes in the book world, essentially, my end game is the same—I want to meet readers and make them happy and enhance their reading experience. So I have a few questions for you.
Readers: I’ve been given the opportunity to do a video chat that can support dozens of people are once. Would you come to a video book signing, as it were?
Book clubs, writers groups and bookstores: Would you be interested in a video/Skype book signings/book chat?
Readers: Are signed books important to you?
Please be honest with your answers. Don’t say yes if it doesn’t really work for you.
Technology has changed books, but it’s time technology worked for books. The most important thing to me is making readers happy, so help me do that. Tell me what you want.