Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is Print Media Out of Touch?

One of the many blog sites I have book marked is The Groovy Age of Horror. There's always something interesting to see or read there. Granted I don't visit the site every day, or even every week, but I've had the link book marked since the site was known as The Groovy Age of Dracula. This fact is important because there's a interesting post there this week about the relevancy of online sites.

From the post Not Sure Why comes the following quote attributed to editors from Avon books:

"In my opinion, the online world still doesn’t have much impact on sales as, anecdotally, I’ve seen books get horrible online reviews but have done well.."

I've been pondering this and, frankly, find myself wondering if this statement was made out of sheer ignorance or merely was the opinion of an white-haired techophobe. Obviously it was not because I went to the original article and therein found the following: "we often see people on our message boards," thus one has to assume the editors are aware of the import and impact of an online presence. Yet how can they dismiss online reviews?

I am a writer, obviously, and you are a reader, obviously, thus we, you and I, are perhaps the best judges of whether that remark has any validity. But it's not a simple answer. You can't point to a single site and count page hits and say, yeah, okay, I see it. The Internet is a living organism. It's constantly growing and shedding dead cells. Sites come and go. Reviews get posted, discussed, and forgotten about. If there's any trend that impacts book sales it's the fact people aren't reading as much as they used to. I know I am not.

Books aren't for casual readers and casual readers don't waste their time on just any old book. We do NOT blind buy. Well, okay, we do sometimes. But from ONLINE VENDORS. I have news for the editors of Avon the only truly BLIND buys of books ever made are from ONLINE VENDORS. You can always flip through a bargain book in a store but, online, all you have to go by is word of mouth, posted reviews, and/or online buzz. And that's found only AFTER researching the book and author via GOOGLE or some other search engine.

I look for reviews. That's right I don't just write reviews I read them too. Obviously these reviews impacted someone's sales as I have decide NOT to purchase books because of online reviews or comments made in forums probably more times than I have decided to go ahead and order them.

So is it that Avon books aren't selling and the editors want to dismiss the internet and internet sites as having no relevance so they can ignore bad reviews?

Fine. Go ahead. But, in my opinion, you'd have to be an Grade A idiot to do so.

Once upon a time I used to be a member of Waldenbooks Otherworlds Club. But nothing of the sort exists anymore. (I have a "reward" card for a major book store and they do NOT offer such an newsletter nor do their e-mails contain reviews, it's all crass ads.) Sadly Waldenbooks has gone the way of the dodo. And their Otherworlds club died long ago and the newsletter, which had reviews and previews, with it.

Now, if I want to know about a book, I'll go to Amazon and read the reviews THEN go straight to Google and type in the book title and author name to see what the online buzz is. That includes forums. I don't limit myself to sites I have book marked or review sites. I don't think I am the only one. But the Avon editors make the big bucks. If they say the internet is irrelevant who am I, a mere pixel in cyberspace, to dispute their lofty editorial pronouncements.

All I've ever done in the literary world is get a few things published, including book reviews, but those were published online and, according to the esteemed Avon editors don't count. Nevermind I got a free sub to the print mag whose online presence(s) those reviews appeared in. They weren't relevant. Nor, apparently, was any of what most people reading this blog right this second have had published online; according to the editors for Avon.

How does that make you feel?

Knowing that the editors for a major publication don't view you with contempt, they just don't consider you at all, makes me kind of sad. Makes me wonder what the point of all these words I just typed are. Did they move you? Do you care?

Makes you wonder.

#end of line

1 comment:

keshlam said...

If you still have your Otherworlds Club card, WALDENBOOKS PROBABLY STILL ACCEPTS IT for the same discount -- 15% off over $15, 10% below that. You must present the actual card. The clerk will probably never have seen one before; you can tell them that it was rung up as discount code 60 last time you used it.

I last used mine several years ago, before my local Waldenbooks was replaced by a Borders. I'm now in the process of investigating whether the fact that these are means it will work at Borders locations too, or if it's limited to stores bearing the Waldenbooks name.