A few days ago a post went up on the Booksellers website berating writers for putting links to their books on Amazon. It was followed a few days later by another on the Melville site going by the catchy title ‘There are exactly zero defensible reasons for authors to link to Amazon’; there are links to both articles at the bottom of this post, be advised in both cases the tone is aggressive. The gist of each post is that authors should seek to support their local book – indeed that they have a duty to.
Now I will clear, I like bookshops, I like wandering around them, I like buying books and I have a home where books are colonizing most flat surfaces. My books however, have never been sold in any of Dublin’s bookshops. They were briefly sold in a hobby shop owned by an acquaintance of mine but didn’t sell fast enough for me to feel it was an experiment worth repeating. I have never approached any of the city’s book shops because I don’t believe it is worth my time. The nature of self publishing and print on demand would make it a bit problematic but even were I traditionally published I doubt it would make much difference.
One of the accounting and economic concepts that can be applied to the business writing is that of Opportunity Cost. It is basically the idea that all resources are limited and a resource spent in one way can not then be spent another. I’m pretty sure I’ve made this point before, a writer is a small businessman/woman. They have to be business like. Which is where these proposals come unstuck.
I am based in Dublin, Ireland. The majority of my readers are in the UK but I have also that I know of, had sales in the USA, Romania, Brazil and New Zealand – which is about as far away from me as you can get without leaving planet Earth. A link to Amazon offers the casual visitor from almost anywhere in the world a chance to purchase my books. A link to a Dublin bookshop offer a chance to buy in one tiny little piece of the world. In essence these proposals are asking writers to make their own financial interests subordinate to that of the book shops, which is not realistic. So in short if independent book shops wish writers to engage with them they need to remember this is a business – writers can and must be business like. There is no debt owed, only however much or little independent book shops can do for us. If the independent book shops wish writers to engage with them, then they have to give those writers a good solid reasons for doing so.
The Job Offer, currently only available on Kindle.