Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gone the Way of the Dodo?

On Friday, having gotten the day off for the July 4th weekend, I hauled four boxes of books to my local bookstore, intent upon creating a sizeable snowflake for my credit card debt.

I did generate $54, so that was good.

But Goodwill wound up with a full box of donations because the bookstore wasn't interested in a lot of the books I thought would sell well. For the record, historical non-fiction and craft books were immediately taken. The Patricia Cornwall and John Sandford hardcover mysteries? Not so much.

When I asked why, I was told that these are considered 'leisure reading.'
Apparently, there's not a strong market for 'leisure reading' in hardcover.

Really? People don't want their fun reading in anything but paperback? I get that paperbacks lighter and easier to carry. And cheaper to buy in the first place.

But personally, only a hardcover feels like a real book to me.

I say this in spite of the fact that I hang out with science fiction writers who often find their work appearing in paperback originals. I say this in spite of the fact that I now read some books on my Kindle, so they "exist" only in electronic form.

Funny that I brought up science fiction. I read it, I write it, and I seldom see books or mention of books in it--in future worlds, books are on computers or directly inserted into the brain or injected by weird-looking devices. But whatever their form, they aren't the good old hardcover books that I know and love.

I dunno.

Paperbacks may be cheap. And electronic books cheaper still.

But I like hardcovers. If, one day, they disappear in favor of books in alternate forms, I'm gonna miss 'em.


Shevy said...

I also found that a lot of books don't resell. And I really regret one that I sold, even though I got more money for that book than all the others they took because it's not one I'll likely ever find again.

And, I meant to ask you before, but you mention sf writing and hanging out with sf authors.

I was wondering if I might have read anything you've written and what type of sf you write, both in terms of style and if they're novels, short stories, or what.

Grace. said...

I don't write hard SF but no elves or dwarves either. While I have written a novel, the publishing world was underwhelmed so it remains in my closet. OTOH, I usually sell one or two short stories a year. I'm not planning to give up my day job but it allows me to hang out with other, more prolific, sf writers. Much as I like to blow my own horn, this is my financial blog, for which I prefer relative anonymity. So maybe you've run across my short stories, but I'm not saying. Still, I like to think you might have.

Shevy said...

Well, you never know about that novel....

My intro to SF came when I was 7 and read Red Planet, one of RAH's many juveniles, but I recently read For Us, The Living which he wrote in 1939 and couldn't sell. It was eventually published after both he and his last wife died (in part because they didn't realize there was still an extant copy).

So your novel might yet see the light of day, right?

I understand your desire to keep your SF persona and your PF one separate, although if I haven't read your stuff I'd go search it out if I knew where to look. And I may or may not be familiar with your work because for a number of years the writers I'm acquainted with and read have tended to be the ones involved in TV or movie SF/Fantasy and things such as scripts, shorts and novelizations of same.

On a side note, I have to say, it's pretty fun to go to a screening of a movie with one of the screenwriters!

Joe said...

I feel the same way about DVD's and BD's. Sure, you can download movies these days into your HDD. But when it comes to classics, I prefer owning a 'hard copy' of a movie. And seriously, nothing beats the quality of BD's.