Today, I got my first mention in the New York Times:
On Thursday, I got an email from a reporter asking about my experience with having my Kindle signed. I was happy to talk with him, especially since my perspective on this has changed since I started writing my own novel.
The reporter pretty much got my point right in his brief article. But I want to emphasize when I had my Kindle signed the first time, I hadn't given much thought to the bookstore/author relationship. I figured, hey, this is Barnes & Noble, a big chain store–I didn't think about whether I was taking money out of their pockets. My main concern was that the author would question whether or not I had actually bought her book since Kindles were relatively new in May 2008.
Since then, I have learned a lot more about book promotion and I would hesitate in most cases to have my Kindle signed rather than buying a book at the store the author is appearing at. As I wrote in an email to the reporter:
"As a consumer I might not feel guilty about using Barnes & Noble as a way to gain access to a particular author, but as the author, I might feel differently about that. Sure, I just want people to buy my books, and I don't really care where they do it (from a financial standpoint). However, the big chain stores are still an important part of an author's promotional strategy, and if readers are not buying books there (and are instead having authors sign Kindles), stores like B&N might not feel the need to host book signings at all."
In our conversation, I originally said that I felt differently about big chain bookstores than I did about independent booksellers (from whom I'd always buy the book at the book signing rather than having my Kindle signed). But after thinking about it, I felt the need to clarify that it's probably important to buy the book from wherever the author is appearing, regardless of whether it's a big chain or a small independent.
What do you think? Authors, readers–do you have any comments on this?