Welcome to the new home of Author & Professional Speaker, L. Diane Wolfe (AKA "Spunk on a Stick") and The Circle of Friends!

The Circle of Friends series follows a group of young adults as they face different challenges and learn to overcome. The emotionally gripping stories focus on love, friendships and the pursuit of dreams. Aimed at adults/young adults, these books defy the growing trend of salacious titles, especially for teenagers. Positive and uplifting, this series will leave readers determined to overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.

This blog is now the home of the original The Circle of Friends website.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

End of the Bookstore - and Author Signings?

Everyone has heard of Borders filing for bankruptcy and closing stores. (For a full listing of stores closing, go HERE ) And that Barnes and Noble is on the market for sale.

But bookstores have been on the decline for several years now. In less than ten years, Waldenbooks went from 700 to barely 100 stores. B. Dalton is gone now. Over half of the independent stores have closed. And it's not just eBooks killing the stores, it's the availability and price of physical books online. It's also the economy.

I don't believe all of the stores will vanish. Those that specialize or diversify will survive, such as an independent store that also offers gifts and coffee. Powell's, which specializes in used books, will survive.

But I also see the days of author appearances and signings dwindling. Fewer bookstores means fewer opportunities. (Although there's always libraries and book festivals.) My favorite was always Waldenbooks, as they usually boasted awesome, book-loving employees and busy stores. But those will soon be gone.

And in seven years of doing signings, I've watched a decline in interest. When I began, there were less than 200,00 books published that year. 2010 saw a million books published. Authors are plentiful and meeting one is no longer a rare occurance. It's lost its appeal.

Where do you see the bookstores and author appearances headed?


Jess said...

I don't have an opinion on where it's all headed, but this is an extremely interesting post! It would be a shame if our favorite authors were no longer making as many appearances due to bookstore closures. I wonder if Universities might become a venue--plenty of cool places to meet, an educational environment, etc. They even have elementary education departments that would be ideal for hosting children's authors. Great post :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Universities are definitely an option for writers of educational and historical books!

Karen Lange said...

I agree with you; I don't think all bookstores will disappear. I can see where author appearances may be greatly reduced - perhaps this might depend on the author and genre? Guess we'll see.

N. R. Williams said...

I think independent bookstores will have a come back and must diversify as you mentioned. I think that authors are going to need to be more creative about their book signings. I have a friend who asked a local theater group to give a skit on an authors life. It was hilarious. After that he read from his book, took questions and signed copies.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

Arlee Bird said...

There will be less bookstores in the future I'm sure. I have a Borders across the street from where I live that is among the closures. I was able walk there and it was nice to have it so convenient.
Authors will have to continue to think creatively and find more ways to make public appearances. Of course that may mean public speaking could be involved.

Tossing It Out

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I hope Nancy is right and the independent stores make a come back.
My daughter and I have spend many pleasant hours hanging out at Borders. I'll miss it.
I had very successful booksignings at big stores and small independents. I loved meeting readers and will miss that but I do believe signings will soon be a thing of the past.

Nicki Elson said...

Interestingly, none of my signings have been at bookstores. I've done a wine shop, coffee shop, fashion boutique...and now going back to the wine shop. :) I agree with the comments about authors needing to find a way to be more creative with signing events.

It would be a sad, sad thing if physical bookstores ever did go entirely away. Looks like they'd better start getting creative too.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nicki, and those places are more fun! Coffee shops on wine-tasting nights are good because drunk people will buy anything.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Wow, I had no idea that there had been such a jump in production. Do those numbers include self-published books? Because I think the fact that it's so much easier now to create a product that looks as good or better than traditional publishing (and the success of more than a few authors) means that those output numbers could get even higher. Of course that means that everybody has to fight harder for their piece of the pie!

Heather Henry said...

Ahh, that just makes me sad! I adore bookstores and can always spend hours in them.

Bluestocking Mum said...

Depressing reading. I also love bookstores. We have a wonderful little independent locally.

good to make your acquaintance. Look forward to following your posts.

warm wishes

Herman and Dori said...

I cannot believe bookstores will totally disappear. There are still so many of us who love to hold an actual book when we read. And I love to meet authors. Sure, the brick and mortar stores will need to be diverse, but coffee shops, wine tasting...chocolate shops...can only add to the pleasure of shopping for books. Great post.