I remember the first time I ever entered a Barnes and Noble book store. For me it was as if I had just entered a cathedral. It was a deeply religious experience because of my fascination with books.
At that time the only one in the area was on the Plaza, in Kansas City. The Plaza is known the world over for being covered with lights from Thanksgiving until New Year every year. It is the Best of the Best of Kansas City, all centrally located and the home to some world class shops and restaurants. The Barnes and Noble store that was there was incredible! A book lover's paradise, a store with the grace and class of many of the fine novels collected under its roof.
Years later in a suburb of Kansas City, where I live, in a town called Independence, MO, famous for being the home of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, they built a newer more commercialized Barnes and Noble store. At the time the area was and had been in decline, but with building the Barnes and Noble and the AMC 20 theaters next door to it the entire area revitalized and became the place to hang out. Other businesses flooded in and the area became alive again.
The store they built there was a more commercialized store, but still a Mecca for book lovers! It was still a Barnes and Noble bookstore, until recently!
Starting in 2010 the toys started showing up. The store had an area in the front with notebooks, journals, book marks, and a few novelty items that literary people might like. But last year outside the children's book section they added an isle of toys. It has steadily grown to encompass seven to eight isles now.
I started writing books in 2010. As I neared completion of my first book, wrote my second book and started editing the first one, I researched the publishing industry. I had all the normal questions a beginning author has.
How do you get an Agent? Who publishes the kind of books I am writing? Who represents these kinds of books? How do you submit your stuff to agents? What is a Query letter?
The more you follow the rules to conform to some sort of prepackaged check me out, this is why my book might sell, and maybe here is a sample of my writing, the more you just blend in with everybody else. It became very apparent, very fast that something was amiss with downtown River City!
So I self-published. I downloaded my book to a website and put it out there with literally thousands to hundreds of thousands of other e-books to be perused and sold on the supermarket of the Internet! Self-publishing is not without its own unique challenges!
Even though I own an e-reader, and write E-books, I still read traditional books, buy traditional books, and used to, until this weekend, loved to go to Barnes and Noble.
I have to read another Nicholas Sparks book for my book club. For those of you, who have not read every post or been with me following along, please look back to my blog post of, Why I hate Nicholas Sparks! In spite of my dislike of his work, my wife and daughter love his books. So I wanted to buy a hard copy of his book so when I get done I could loan it to my wife and daughter. That's what us book people do, we loan, borrow, and steal books in order to read them. The more we save the more books we can buy, which cuts down on the stealing, and lessens the chance we might go to jail. (Just Kidding – I am an incurable smart-ass.)
For my book club also we decided to take a book off of our book shelf and wrap it, to give. For our Christmas Party, everybody will unwrap a gift and who ever wrapped that book will tell the others about it. We should all end up with a new or used book to read as a Christmas Present. Only the book I wanted to give I couldn't find, I probably loaned it out, so I was going to find two copies of it one to give away, and one to put back on my book shelf. We were going to Barnes and Noble, the whole family, I was so excited.
My two boys, once in the toy section, didn't want to leave the toy section. Because of the noise of the toy section, my children and others it was as loud as a Walmart store! They didn't have a paperback of Mr. Sparks book only a hardback for $25.00, book buyers are frugal, no way in hell, especially for a book that is going to try and make me cry, HELL NO!
The Jack Higgins book I wanted to purchase two copies of, they didn't have. There were only four titles of his. Four freaking books! Do you know how many terrific books that man has written? Four books. As for the toys, that we go to Walmart, or Target for, not freaking Barnes and Noble. I will have to take my children to the library to teach them an appreciation of books, being quiet where people might be reading, and where to find books. Barnes and Noble from here on out is already dead to me. It died with the memory of what the greatest book store in the World used to be like, this weekend.
I had to choose a different book to give away at book club, which I bought, along with a much cheaper hardback copy of Mr. Sparks's newest book. It wasn't at Barnes and Noble. I will post a review of Mr. Spark's book on Goodreads dot com when I finish it. This weekend's experience was as sad as a Nicholas Sparks book to me.