Borders Books Dropping Some Sci-Fi?


I just found this article over at io9, and am dismayed by Borders decision not to stock some new titles and even debut novels in the genre.

Gregory Frost discovered that his new book, Lord Tophet, follow-up to the successful Shadowbridge, is not being picked up by Borders. At all. Apparently it didn’t “sell as well as anticipated.” But no one seems to know what well enough is.

So the publishing world is becoming even more narrow, always looking for that next blockbuster that will earn them bazillions of dollars, and get picked up by Oprah as her latest book club pick. God help us. Frost has a following, more than most of us will ever dare to dream of. And he’s not the only respected author to be so slighted. It’s bad enough I don’t like ordering books through Amazon anymore after their “join or die” ultimatum to self-published books, forcing them to use Amazon’s inhouse publishing or not be carried (but that’s another story). But are we losing yet another book source?

I am sorry to see the business model come to this. Literature is no longer revered in our culture. If you like books you’re almost considered some kind of walking anachronism. If it’s not electronic, beeping and whirring, you’re out of touch. Reading takes effort, imagination, learning. Book sales have been in decline for years, to no one’s surprise.  J. K. Rowling almost single-handedly brought it back into fashion, but that was an anomaly, there probably won’t be anything like that again for twenty years. We need something to read in the meantime. Most books, in any genre, are not going to generate that kind of sales revenue. I wonder who’s next after SF. I don’t know if boycotting Borders is the answer, if book sales are already down that may be counter-productive.

I miss the old days of the independent bookstores. I’ve even ordered stuff via the web from an out-of-state independent bookstore. I miss the feel of wandering a store stocked with nothing but books. They don’t have to be huge, just have books. My local favorite is Powells. They are a real, brick and mortar store (with several locations in the Portland, OR area), and although they do sell stuff like cards, calendars, some very interesting Hindu religious statues, Buddhas, incense and so on, they are for the most part a bookseller. It’s quite an experience to visit, they actually have maps of the store to find your way around.  Perhaps we should all remember to patronize our local indie booksellers, they may be all we have left.

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2 thoughts on “Borders Books Dropping Some Sci-Fi?

  1. I work & live near a university town and I’m mortified to say we don’t have a single indie bookstore. I will, however, give a shout-out to The Muddy Cup in Saugerties, NY – my alternate hometown, up in the Catskills where real estate is cheaper, the pace is slower, and an independent bookseller/coffee shop can afford to sprawl out in a big storefront with old fashioned wood floors, high ceilings, and great big deep counters – it looks like an old bank building or maybe a former variety store from the ’40’s. They have big wood tables that look like they came from an old library, and you just never know what you’ll find there. I picked up an early Westlake novel that I thought was out of print – not a special order or anything, just sitting out there on a shelf because somebody figured it was worth a look. It means a lot to me b/c it was the last one of his novels I read before he died.

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  2. Wow, that sounds like what a bookstore *should* be! It’s so hard for the indie’s to stay afloat these days, between Borders, B&N, Amazon, it’s really hard for them to compete. I just ordered a couple books through Amazon from indie booksellers (a bio of Jane Austen, and a new thesaurus). The Jane Austen bio arrived today, I submitted the order last Friday, standard shipping. It’s how I justify using Amazon. I just wonder how much longer Borders will carry books at all.

    Well you know I had to go look. Check it out, here’s the Muddy Cup’s web site!

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