Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Love Affair with Bookstores

Maybe I should have paid closer attention to my habits as a child. You know, what I did with my spare time. Every child runs wild on the playground, treks through the woods looking for adventure and even joins in the neighbors in a good game of tag. But really, how many spend all their meager allowance at the bookstore?

I did. I always have. Bookstores and libraries are my favorite places to spend an hour or two. There’s so much to love! Not just the latest releases, but the treasures that are often hidden amongst the aisles, in an awkward pile on the bargain table or just while you’re passing through the Art section. But today, I stopped at my local B&N and some of that passion has dwindled for me…at least since I’ve embarked on this endless journey of writing and publication.

When I arrived at the Romance section, I didn’t just look for my favorite authors, I took the time to inspect which imprints were on the shelf. Heck with all the time I spend in chat rooms, myspace, etc. I know exactly who has what book out. The disappointing thing was that those were the only titles on the shelf. Those…what, maybe 1,000 titles released by the biggest New York pubs written by perhaps 200 authors. Even the newer erotic romances all have the big names pubs on them. There’s no exhilaration in the hunt for something new and intriguing. I can now tell, simply by the imprint on the binding, what the plot requirements, length and acceptable sex level is. My joy in reading that which has been approved by the establishment has been destroyed.

Thank you very much.

As a reader, more and more, I’m turning to the small e-presses for my guilty pleasures. Scanning the lists on Fictionwise and Amazon is far more rewarding than the big box bookstores. Their search engines are not quite as guilty about presenting only the very few books that have sales in the upper echelons for my approval.

I still left the store today with a few purchases. Lets face it. It’s not really possible to wander through a bookstore without doing this. But they were not what you might expect from a woman obsessed with Historical Romance and Fantasy.

I picked up a copy of Anna Karenina and one of Dante’s Inferno. For my Mom, I discovered a collection of short stories about Maine written by some of history’s greats. I did find some new stories to fill my days. The sad thing was they were not the ones written by my contemporaries.

Maybe 5th Ave. still knows how to make money. But I am beginning to wonder if New York is where we should commit the future of our imaginations to.
Visit my website to see what else I have to offer that New York doesn't ;)
S.D. Grady