Building a Community … At What Expense?
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A few weeks ago there was a discussion on the PMA-L listserv site which caused me to reflect upon a process that has been developing over the past few years … bookstores becoming more than places of sales, but becoming actual community gathering spots where people linger, read, chat, and eat.
On the surface, this seems ideal. In fact, as I write this article I have very mixed emotions and really no answers or solutions. When I was raising my young children and did not have lots of money to purchase books, I would bring them to The Tides bookstore in Sausalito, where we would spend hours looking at the latest titles (and maybe even end up buying a book, if we had the cash). But most times we just looked and enjoyed. My boys were too noisy for libraries at that time (you can see how long ago that was since no talking was allowed then in libraries except in whispers). Therefore, we went to our friendly, local bookstore.
Today, with the superstore structure of multi-leveled stores, restaurants within them, designated children’s areas, etc., many PMA members are seeing lots of damage occur to their titles that can be directly traced to the bookstores and not the distributor or wholesaler. As one person commented,”I’m tired of having to accept returns with coffee cup rings embedded into the front cover of my title and having to give full credit for this type of return.” Another publisher echoed this sentiment with, “I’m tired of getting my picture books back with pages st…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).
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