2012 Bison Books paperback edition

Monday, January 24, 2011

Prime Real Estate


Barnes & Noble. Not-so-fondly known as the gorilla on the bus by New York publishers. "Very, very frustrating" is how one top non-fiction editor put it as recently as December. Way back when everybody was wondering how big the Kindle and ebook would be this Christmas.

In the fuzzy Blackberry photo here is my niece, Jamie Lee, in the Downtown Brooklyn B&N last Friday night, killing time before a movie. The first thing she saw coming in through the front door was my book. Front and center on the prime display table of new biographies. Yay!

An accident? Nope. B&N has to approve the book jacket before they even let the publisher bid for that space, maybe. The coveted curb appeal and placement is negotiated and paid for. It's not the personal whim of the store's manager.

So what happens now that Borders may go under and B&N just laid off some of its most respected buyers? In a matter of months the ebook may vaporize the enormous clout B&N has wielded over publishers and, by extension, authors.

What will take its place? Anything?