I believe it was on Black Friday, though it could have been on Turkey Day or Decorating Saturday, I'm not sure at this second and it doesn't matter. There was an article in the SPringield News Sun, our recently neutered newspaper about the encroaching death of both B. Dalton and Walden Books in the Upper Valley Mall in 2010. The article went on about the great tragedy of losing both booksellers and leaving our county with the options of buying our books either online, or from a big box retailer with limited selection, or of course traveling 25 miles to the closest B&N.
This is bitter sweet news, something I predicted years ago, but sad just to same to see that I am right again- there is a lack of people who can and do read in the city of Springfield.
Several years ago, I approached both bookstores about doing book signings. Walden's, whose manager I've known for years reported that-
"We only do signings with bestselling authors."
Now at that time I knew better, but of course there's no point in arguing with the obtuse, especially when none of the big names have ever come to that bookstore and the few signed copies of anything on their shelves rode in on the back of a truck with the rest of the stuff.
So off I trekked to the other end of the Mall, to Dalton's, where I also knew the manager. I made a similar suggestion, and it was agreed that my co-author and I would come and sign copies of The Coming of T’Loal, our crookedly cobbled contribution to the Cthulhu Mythos.
From time to time my evil side begs that I ask the Walden manager when the next bestselling author is coming to town, but I just don’t have the strength.
A year after our signing for T’Loal I went back to Dalton’s to see about setting up a book signing for my novel Frank Testimony, the new manager told me that their policy had changed and they were no longer allowed to set up signings, I needed to contact their corporate offices.
In the past four years I’ve counted less than five signings happening at either store, and very few in the main concourse of the mall at all… If the bookstores are shunning new authors, where will the next bestselling authors come from? If they won’t carry our books, or in some cases even order them, (I swear an author friend told me that this same Walden Books would not order a copy of her book for a friend of hers who tried to get one) How long did they expect to stay in business if they didn’t want to service readers or writers? I guess there’s always the latte’ business…
Just growling, sorry for those I’ve offended.