this made me sigh heavily, and i thought maybe it was worth addressing. i’ll skip the obvious part about “basic human right” and go straight to why a local bookshop can’t possibly stock all local authors:
- there may literally not be enough space! many local shops are small, and have to make every single book on their shelves count.
- making every book count means making sure that they are stocking topics and authors that appeal to their clientele. while you are, of course, very interested in your book, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your local bookshop’s average customer is.
- which leads me to, trusting local buyers. no bookstore DOESN’T want to make money. no bookstore in the world is intentionally turning down a potential bestseller, be it local or national. every bookstore in the world wants to stock awesome books. they read sales reports, they read trades, they labor over catalogs, they stay up at night worrying about their bottom line. they read EVERYTHING THEY CAN. i have worked for five of them, believe me — this is absolutely true.
so if your local passes on your book, it’s because they genuinely believe that that book will not work for their shop. stocking a book just to stock it means that the bookstore makes less money, the book doesn’t move, and then everyone is sad except for that initial five minutes in which the author is happy to see it on the shelf. that’s not a recipe for success, that’s a recipe for frustration.
also frustrating: facing the intense indignation of local authors when you try to explain to them why you won’t be stocking their book.