Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Celebrity Book Tokens
And so it came to pass that yet more book tokens arrived this Christmas and I was obliged, like some Bureau de Bookchange, to exchange them for cash so that the kids could buy what they really wanted. This has two consequences. First it involves a bit of creative writing when it comes to thank you notes and second it involves me in a search of WH Smith or Waterstones for something worth exchanging them for.
And this is where I start to get really depressed because WH Smiths has on a sale of 125 hardbacks and of them I counted 12, yes 12, that were fiction and 113 that were either by or about so-called celebrities or spin offs from TV programmes. Worse, the fiction titles were by authors that have already sold enough copies to fill the Albert Hall, twice. In fact I checked Smith’s website and discovered that of their top 30 best selling hardbacks, 7 are by fiction authors and the rest are celebrity trash. So where does that leave the rest of us authors (and I count myself here even though my measly self published opus is hardly a work of literary genius) when it comes to making a living? Where is the motivation to write a book and sweat blood to get it published only to find that you are outsold by millions to one by that one off the travel show or some faded comedian who can’t write a proper sentence?
Predictably, Waterstones was no better. The books that I would really like to buy are no longer sold by bookshops who are so in thrall to the celebrity culture that they probably wouldn’t know a fiction book if it fell off the shelf and knocked them unconscious. Instead, I am forced to Amazon who do sell them, and much cheaper, but WHO DON’T ACCEPT BOOK TOKENS.
There, I’ve got that off my chest. And speaking of which, where did I put that Katie Price volume?