Apr 26, 2009

Feeling a little used.

Powell's is a Portland institution, occupying an entire city block and hailing themselves "the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world..." who carries "an extensive collection of out of print rare, and technical titles..." blah blah blah. Every time I mention I've written a novel, I am asked some variation of, "So is it for sale at Powell's?" And everyone assumes I will eventually be doing a book signing at Powell's, since they are so beloved locally and one assumes the feeling is mutual. They have a section devoted to debut authors; another category comprises local authors.

I have Powell's to thank for one book sale: the copy I dropped off with my press kit wound up on Amazon.com for sale by Powell's as "used" — and below retail price. I had visited the store twice hoping to be granted an audience with their purchaser, and left several messages regarding my novel. Nothing. This hurts. As a local, debut author, I guess I expected at least the courtesy of a return phone call or a, "You're wasting your time" heads up from the person who took my information. Instead, they discarded my blood, sweat and tears (oh, the drama), making almost entirely profit. I get nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that at least someone bought it.

I knew this kind of crap happens with booksellers, reviewers and other media, but POWELL'S? Yuck. I guess I have one thing in my favor: when Soft Landing is finally available through wholesalers, I'll be able to revisit the great and powerful Oz at Powell's and let him know they've already sold out of my novel once.

No comments: