I am also stunned to see a publisher's quote: “We pay for the author to travel and come to the bookstore, and then the store makes money from it?" Do publishers believe they do are doing independent booksellers a favor? Aren't publishers for-profit businesses, also? Should they all simply retreat to online author events? Perhaps not charge admissions, but ask that participants buy their books from the bookstore is the least we can do (perhaps, if buying not the author's book, because they have it already as a gift or purchased elsewhere, then that giftcard idea is good).
Quite frankly, we would never get that kind of play here in Dixon. We are unable to get more than one publisher in a great while to send an author. An author's visit is usually at the instigation of the author. We have had to discount many books (basically cutting our intake of revenue) in order not to punish loyal customers for not buying online.
I'd like to see how Ms Patchett's new venture as a bookseller fares. I hope it does well, but affords her a greater understanding of the struggle of independent booksellers. Of course, with the connections she and her partner have, there will be publishers willing to add the new bookstore to authors' tours. What is yet unknown is how they would feel about people ordering books online or otherwise taking up valuable space without assisting in the cost (e.g,, overhead, bookseller's time in promoting event, stocking the hardcover, etc) or somehow showing their appreciation for the bookstore's continued existence. I love how one independent bookseller articulated the problem, “We’re not just an Amazon showroom.”
In another segue, NPR had a piece about a store in which everything is made in (United States of) America, including the packaging in which the product comes. There are some competitive pricing, but generally, the schtick is that everything in the store can be counted on to be 100% American-made with American materials and American labor, precluding basically all electronics and most electrical appliances. And, then, there's a quote from a woman shopper who said, while she wants to "shop American" , but ...
"You buy the best deal you can find. That's what it's all about. [For] some people, every penny counts. And if you can save 50 cents, that's a lot," she says.So, isn't it really about the money?