It’s (Mostly) Fun And Games At The Bookstore

I stopped by my local Barnes and Noble yesterday to pick up a few books.  Four great-looking reads in four genres:  a contemporary romance by Toni Blake, a paranormal romance by Angela Knight, a historical romance by Jennifer Haymore, and a romantic suspense by Laura Griffen.

My idea of a good time

Angela Knight and Toni Blake are on my auto-buy list, and I love Jennifer Haymore’s elegant and heartfelt historical romances.  Since my latest project is a Christmas historical romance, I thought I could pick up some tips from Jennifer and enjoy a great read at the same time.  I’m new to Laura Griffen, but I’m always looking for a good romantic suspense.

It wasn’t all fun and games at the bookstore, though.  Every time I stop by one of the big chains, I notice less shelf space for books.  At Barnes and Noble, some of that space has been given over to the NOOK display, which is all about reading and buying books.  So that’s great.  But more and more floor space seems to be going to kid’s toys and games, and lifestyle products.  In the romance section, shelf space for authors’ back titles is really contracting.  There’s quite a bit of room for new releases, but if you’re not one of the big dogs, forget about seeing back titles.  And even for most of the big dogs the bookstores only carry a few back titles for each author in stock.  Unless you’re looking for a book by Nora Roberts or Fern Michaels, good luck finding an older book.

I have mixed feelings about this.  More romance readers are buying on-line, either at Amazon or from e-book retailers, and that’s great.  But I really like to browse for back titles and it frustrates the hell out of me when I can’t find them in the bookstore.  I guess that most stores have just given up trying to compete with Amazon, and I think that’s a crying shame.  I adore hanging out in bookstores, but there’s less and less incentive for me to go there.  Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What about you?  Are bookstores still a place you like visiting, or have they become an exercise in readership frustration?

11 thoughts on “It’s (Mostly) Fun And Games At The Bookstore

  1. It hasn’t bothered me (yet) because I don’t go to bookstores for backlist. I’ll get those secondhand, through the library, etc, or order online. I go to bookstores because I want to pull shiny NEW copies off the shelves of the latest release that came out the day before. But then, I’ve only been reading romance for about six/seven years now (and actively buying for four or so), so I’ve never had really high expectations.

    Dang. I’ve got catching up to do!

  2. I spend a lot less time in bookstores now than I used to. Even new releases are often hard to fine, and since my Amazon Prime membership means that I get pre-ordered books the day of or 1 day after release, I go that way most of the time. Also health problems mean that I don’t enjoy going somewhere if there is only a 50-50 chance they’ll have what I want. I used to enjoy seeing new authors, but those don’t even seem to be on the shelves any more. I subscribe to blogs and facebook and rely more now on recommendations.

  3. You are right, they are taking away so much space and making more room for the kiddies.
    Nothing wrong with that, always a good idea for kids of all ages to pick up a book. Just why are they filling it in with toys, toys and more toys?!
    Especially at a book store.

    I also noticed that the B&N I was in made their coffe shop bigger, lots more tables now, wasn’t like that last time I was in there.
    A bit louder with all the people in there.
    LOL! Felt like I was at a party. =)

    In my opinion there are less books on display, such a shame.

    I love to browse the books, the feel of a new paperback in my hands is pure joy!
    Unfortunately, the historical romance section is really being downsized.
    I’m not happy about that. 🙁

    If you are a big time writer, no problem, you’re everywhere. I feel sorry for the lesser known authors or the one’s starting out, very hard to find their books.

    Because of smaller sections, I have to be on my knees more, for some reason those authors, the one’s you want, are all the way at the bottom of the shelves.
    LOL!! Me on the floor is a sight! 🙂
    I plan on taking a pillow next time!

    I now go to a couple of different stores to check out what they have on their shelves.
    My friend is a big time ebay and amazon shopper. She finds lots of books on there and she does loan me books, so I can’t boo-hoo too much. 🙂

    • Dalila, the changes in bookstores have really hit the mid-list authors hard, that’s for sure. If an author isn’t in the supermarket, Walmart, or Target, it’s a bit of a struggle. I now keep lists so I don’t forget what books I want, and I often end up ordering from Amazon.

      Taking a pillow to the store sounds like a good idea!

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