Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Love/Hate Relationships

I know what I'm about to describe is applicable ONLY to my local big chain bookstore and my local library branch. I know that somewhere out there are "romance friendly" big chain bookstores and libraries. But I'm afraid my experience is NOT unique. So, while I LOVE reading and buying books, romance books in particular, I have developed some love/hate relationships about those activities.

I LOVE my local big chain bookstore.
  • All those tables and shelves heaped with shiny new books!
  • The smell (yes, new books have their own unique scent, like a new car) of all that lovely, unsullied paper.
  • And they send me COUPONS to my email almost every week, so I can get $ OFF any book I chose. I admit it, I'm addicted to coupons.:lol:
  • I love seeing the new books by people I "know" whether in person from my local RWA chapter or met at conferences or online. I get a real thrill out of seeing these books and thinking that SOMEDAY my book will be here.

I HATE my local big chain bookstore.
  • They put the "Romance" section waaay in the back corner next to the bathrooms.
  • Very few "Romance" novels (unless you are BIG NAME BEST SELLER like la Nora, SEP or Jenny C.) get put up front in the "New Arrivals" section where everyone can see them.
  • In fact, very few books in the "Romance" section get turned face out. Most are lined up spines out and makes for a lot of squinting on my (and other customers) part.
  • They do have one end cap for category, but they don't replenish it and they do NOT put up the new releases in a timely manner. Most of the category books are relegated to the bottom two shelves of the "Romance" section, thus resulting in both back aches and eye strain trying to locate books by many of my buddies who write category romances.
  • Seeing all those books makes me feel like everyone in the world has published a book, EXCEPT ME.:cry:

I LOVE my local library branch.
  • Shelves upon shelves of books you can read FOR FREE! Old books, new books, books, Books, BOOKS! An endless supply! What's NOT to love about that?!?!:wink:
  • There's just something about all those library books with their celophane wrappings, and the serenely wise librarians that sparks some of my fondest childhood memories.
  • All those tall shelves with all those books, I can stand (or sit on the floor) in the stacks and browse, or sit in the not-too-uncomfortable chairs and read. It is pretty quiet, most of the time, and I LOVE quiet.

I HATE my local library branch.
Talk about not getting any RESPECT!:mad:
  • Unless you are a BIG NAME BESTSELLER who has been around for DECADES (la Nora, Judith McNaught and maybe 2 others), your books are NOT shelved in the "Fiction" section.
  • As far as I can tell, they purchase NO hardcover romances except for the above.
  • They stick ALL their paperback romances in an "uncategorized" aisle and don't even bother to alphabetize beyond the first letter of the author's last name. And they won't even shelve category titles! Those donated to the library (and I've donated a few) go directly into the semi-annual Library Book Sale bin.
  • Thanx to all of the above, I figure I will NEVER see my book in this particular library branch.


Caren Crane said...

Hear, hear, Aunty C! I have actual info on why the bookstores shove Romance way in the back. Booksellers know as well as anyone that Romance outsells all other fiction. They put it in the back so that you are inclined to look at the other, less-well-selling fiction on your way to and fro. It doesn't make us happy, but it makes business sense.

Our libraries - Wake County in NC - put a lovely Heart sticker on the spine of each romance - even paperback. So, when scanning a shelf of general fiction, you can grab the romances right off the bat! The paperback romances have shelves of their own plus the carousel thingies. Maybe romance is better received in the South? No idea!

Btw, Mystery has a little Sherlock guy sticker and Science Fiction has a planet with rings sticker. So cute!

Aunty Cindy said...

AH yes, Caren! The old grocery store trick... put the milk and bread in the back of the store so you buy other stuff as you hike to and fro.

What a dastardly PLOT! But it must be true, because I saw an article today that said one out of five of EVERY BOOK READ is a romance novel (LOVE those stats!). And yes, the Southern USA read more than the rest of the country. And apparently your librarians are SMART ENOUGH to cater to what their customers read!

THANX A BUNCH for the post!