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  • Grant Handgis ~ Author/Poet

Battle of the Corporate Giants


Perhaps you noticed the decision recently by Barnes & Noble to begin allowing independent authors access to their bookshelves seems to have to do with the continued battle between Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, the world's largest book seller. Sometimes, battles such as this benefit those that rely upon said retailers for their livelihood.

It works like this. The independent author is now able to pitch the sale of their book(s) through the bookstore's channels to have their book(s) accepted and sold by the store. This, before negotiating how that might work, how many books, buy backs, etc. Two questions crop up for me with this arrangement, as only the rougher outline of how this is to work, for the authors in question. The first being, does an arrangement with the store with said author include only that store, or is the arrangement through all stores, as would a traditionally published author? The few notes on this release mentioned the store purchasing agent would be in on accepting any book(s). Seems reasonable as a business move, as any book store does have a perceived "clientele" for which they satisfy for their continued existence.

The second question having to do with the logistical portion of an author's 'track record' having to do with a minimum of eBooks sold over the past year. That one I find a bit annoying as it requires an author to successfully selling their books in eBook format, when a traditionally published author has no such requirement before sitting on their shelf. I can identify with their strategy for one reason, and that is to weed out those that are in their view "not ready for prime time".

I believe that to be a hurdle that may not be all that bad. A hurdle indeed for the independent authors who with their books to be sold in corporate retail outlets. At this time, there is no peer review or a competent editor's review of an independent author's work before it reaches the market. What the marketplace does have in place, and functioning at some level, is the review process, which can give readers a heads up about a book or author. What isn't evident for the reading public is how many good writers are not seen because no reviews or few reviews are left by readers. Is that the author's fault? Independent authors are at the mercy of the reading public for reviews, and the vagaries of the other corporate giant that represents and sells their books. When you are one of about 950K other authors eager to be seen so they can sell their books, well, that is a very large pile of books from which to bring the reader to yours, without the expected Ala Carte purchasing of each facet of production and marketing available.

What I take away from this is simply this. The corporate world of book sellers is recognizing the profit value of independent authors. Finally. I believe it is up to said independent authors to approach this offer as any artist must do when seeking a gallery to show and represent their work. If you are an author that is proud of your work, it should be no shame to show it for inspection by the seller you wish to sell your book(s). I know several very good independent authors who will benefit from this new opportunity. In my mind, things are looking up for serious independent authors.


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