Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Boosting Poetry's Profile by Ordering Locally

In response to what I wrote about online ordering a couple of posts back, my friend and fellow-writer Elise Moser, who happens to work as a publisher's representative, passed on these thoughtful remarks on the advantages for poetry's profile of ordering through local bookstores rather than on-line -- considerations that had frankly never crossed my mind (pls. excuse the tiny font: formatting it small was the only way to transpose an e-mail into blogger without having line-breaks all over the place):

...I wanted to mention, having seen you post on Amazon and other online
book ordering services, that there is always also the option of ordering
through a bookstore here in Montreal. That has two advantages. One is,
they pay the shipping and you avoid customs charges. The other is that
when you make a special order it affects their view of the book market.
So for example if they get some special orders for a specific title or
author they might order some of those books for their shelves. And if
they see a lot of orders come through for, say, poetry books, they are
more likely to order poetry titles for stock. This is especially
important for a subject like poetry, which is underrepresented in
bookstores due to lack of knowledge on their part, but also due to the
perception that no one buys poetry. I wouldn't say you should give up a
good price or some other advantage, but if it's all the same, why order
from U.of Chicago direct when you could raise the visibility of poetry
at Paragraphe, or Bibliophile, or the McGill Bookstore? And this would
have the benefit for you, in future, of making poetry books more
available and, potentially, therefore even broadening the market for
poetry. Just a thought.

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