Monday, January 02, 2006

Bookselling in 2006, Baby Bunnies & Tinkling Under the Stars...

People on the bookseller email lists are wondering what the year 2006 will bring to “Online Bookselling”. While it's important to look at specific sales venues and try to analyze how they will change in the coming year, the problem is that too many "internet booksellers" ask that question, puzzle over an answer, and then stop. Bad idea. The moment you limit yourself to that single question you have defeated yourself as a bookseller. “What will 2006 bring to bookselling?“, without the qualifying adjective, is the question we should ask. Anyone who insists on confining themselves to selling books only online deserves what they get at the hands of the “Big A’s”, as they are called (Amazon, Alibris and ABE).

And they can yammer all they want about “independent” sites such as TomFolio and IOBA, it all still amounts to making themselves dependent upon the whims and caprices of things outside their own control. Booksellers sell books, by whatever means and on whatever venue. I know very few successful, full-time booksellers who can afford to limit themselves to a single venue, be it the internet, shopfront, book fairs, or catalogs, anymore. And why should they? With so many options and venues available, the world is our bloody oyster. They need to go out and sample some, instead of sitting at the keyboard whining about how they got no Alibris orders today.

New Year’s Eve in Northampton was very scenic- Amy and I went with some friends to eat dinner at the Hotel Northampton and got a table in an alcove with windows on three sides overlooking Main Street. With the snow coming down, and the Calvin Theatre sitting there just up the block, and people walking around, it looked just like a scene from “It’s A Wonderful Life”. One scene I don't recall being in the movie involved the couple who, too drunk to stand up straight, supported themselves on the iron fence railings out front for about half an hour. Oh well. Old Man Potter was missing from our evening as well -I’m not sure where Dick Cheney was, but he wasn’t there. (Does anyone really know where Dick Cheney is? Maybe he’s back home in Wyoming, pulling the feet off live baby bunnies or something).

Interesting story over on Capitol Hill Blue today about Bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora. Just shows to go ya- if you piss all over the permanent experts in your agencies, they'll leak all over you in return.

For some reason that reminds me of a story a friend from Texas told me last year about a trip to somewhere out West where it was God-awful cold. He was staying at a house on the edge of a cliff in January or summat, and to amuse himself he went out on the balcony one night and took a piss over the railing, and then listened as the insta-frozen stream literally "tinkled" to the rocks below.

Well, I found it amusing.

Now on the cd player: Carlene Carter, "Little Love Letters", That'll get your dancing shoes moving...

Now (well not now precisely, but last night, and later today) drinking: Paper City Brewery "Holyoke Dam Ale". Damn, it's good. (sorry...)


Ron Lyre said...

Thanks for linking to me. Much appreciated. Have returned the favour.

Mike said...

Colonel, thanks for linking to me as well. You are now in my links.

Oh, and that peeing over a cliff in a freezing weather comment has me intrigued. Had I known that was possible, I would have been amusing myself with that for all these years.

I so need to find a cliff in a cold climate and try it.