“Excuse me, can you tell me where you keep the books?”

There is great irony in my posting a rant against bookstores, not the least being that I am a writer who wants very much to see my books on the shelves of those very same stores. Thanks to Everyday Hogwash I can vent my irritations here instead of shrieking at helpless sales personnel or their stony-faced managers.

My complaint is two-fold. First, I’m perturbed by the fact that I can’t find the books I want to buy. This is due in part to the fact that bookstores no longer seem to carry … books. In one of my local bookstores, I can stop in for a cup of coffee, buy a calendar, pick up a CD, purchase a DVD—all without having the distasteful task of actually looking at a book in the process. On the way to the cashier I must weave my way around an assortment of cards, candles, key chains, and other such doodads. No books.

Not that books aren’t in the store—they are. It’s just that once I plow my way toward the back, I can’t possibly find the books I am looking for because of the way they are shelved. In one local outlet, youth fiction is positioned behind the foreign language books and in front of the discount shelves. Just where most teens—and those who buy for them—would think to look!

Finding religious fiction is worse. Some hot-selling items have their own display cases up front while a handful of titles are on a back shelf in the children’s section and others are mixed in with the religious non-fiction. This dispersal has enabled me to become more familiar with the store as a whole, even as I fight the desire to start ripping pages from books at random.

I think the real problem lies in the fact that corporations now own so many bookstores. This is the second fold of my complaint. Corporate headquarters don’t know what I want in my bookstore. The big business nature of the “industry” is losing touch with us-ens who read. In some chains, managers can’t even make the simplest decision, such as inviting an author for a book signing or creating a display for books already in the store. I suppose that would generate too much ill will among the other managers if one should actually exceed expectations by selling books.

I guess I should follow my trips to the bookstore with visits to the library to recover. Either that, or making another visit to
Everyday Hogwash

Published in: on February 22, 2006 at 1:16 pm  Comments (19)  

19 Comments

  1. I love this~ Very funny.

    And it doesn’t matter to the voting at all but you have a tag messed up somewhere. You first link to everyday hogwas isn’t a like but the whole piece after that is a link.

    Do you know how to fix it? If not, I can call you when I get home from youth group and ‘splain it.

    But, I gotta tell you, Margaret, I can totally relate to this rant.

    Hey, I’m so glad you have a blog now. I can link to you.

    Like

  2. I guess I shouldn’t say Margaret like that. People might really think your name is Margaret.

    So, I gotta tell you, Becky, I loved this rant.

    Like

  3. Thanks, Sally. I hope the link is fixed now.

    Becky

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  4. Looks perfect on my end. =0)

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  5. Great rant, with a lot of a truth to it! That is why I buy good (current) christian novels online:)

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  6. Great rant, Becky. One of my pet peeves, too–but you’ve stated the problem much better than I could have.

    Marie

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  7. Love the entry. I’m in this weeks hogwash contest with you. Good Luck!!

    Like

  8. So funny. So true. The last time I was in a bookstore, I left with a calendar! (I hate to even admit that.) You’ve described the problems very well. Great rant. I hope the execs from the bookstores read it.

    Like

  9. Isn’t that the truth! My local Christian “bookstore” is 3/4 doodads and expensive Christian trinkets. But, that’s the buyer’s fault. That’s where they make their money. I must be odd. I don’t buy doodads, just books.

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  10. Marie, Karen, Debbie, Terri–thanks so much for taking the time to give your feedback. Glad to know you all are seeing the same thing I\’m seeing.

    Becky

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  11. I always figured the stores were designed for other people, not me. People at church say, support your local bookstore…but they must like things I don’t, and the store doesn’t have what I want to read. (Though I did have fun at a discount Bible store in Selma, NC, just off 95, where I picked up copies of books from FIF folk!) I’m with you–I don’t want wall plaques and cutsey anything…and I’m not going to advertise on my bumper or wear any trappings (except the descending dove on our sailboat’s mainsail–because it’s a ministry boat and I want folk to ask questions). So, Becky–where ARE the books, other than on Amazon? Rant away.

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  12. Books? Aren’t those archaic pastimes for old people who don’t know how to get around on their computers (if they have one)or how to program their gazillion cable channels? At least many of my students think so! I breathe a sigh of relief when I see students walk into my class the first week with…gasp!… of all things…a book under arm! I’m relieved to know that at least some true education has the potential of occuring. Maybe if more bookstore managers would share your view than more students would darken the door of a bookstore for more than the cheap latte and the cheaper trinkets to hang from their bookbags. You’ve got my vote!

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  13. Funny, the last time I went to a bookstore, my wife gave me orders to look for a “game”, do you believe that, a game! I thought to myself, “a game?, in a bookstore”! Boy was I surprised! You guessed it, there was a section of games at the store. Loved the article.

    Like

  14. Great comments, Normandie, Fritz, Gil. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to give your feedb ack.

    Becky

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  15. I was just wondering if you were the grand $5000 prize winner with this, since Everyday Hogwash hasn’t yet posted the big winner and it’s two months since the contest supposedly closed. If you won, congratulations! This is a great rant.

    Like

  16. I have not heard a word from Hogwash about the winner–have not received a weekly prize check yet either. How about you?

    BTW, I liked your rant, too. Laughed out loud and would have left a comment, but didn’t see the place to write one.

    Like

  17. (My comments close after a week to keep spammers out of the archives.) I think most of us received our weekly checks already, which may mean that the reason you haven’t heard from them is that you ARE the big winner. You’d better get in touch with them and find out!

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  18. No way to tell what it means! Last week I broke down and e-mailed them. Haven’t heard back.

    Clever idea to cut off the comments. My blog is still new enough the spammers haven’t found me! 🙂

    Becky

    Like

  19. […] originally started this blog so I could enter a contest that paid money for ranting (mine was about bookstores […]

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