Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Friday, September 16, 2011

I worked at Borders well after it was cool, but before it was depressing

So, the Borders liquidation. Store number one (Ann Arbor, MI) closed earlier this week. There are still some stores open, like my local, but they're pretty much wrecked. Borders is now a past tense phenomenon.

But the sale itself? That's been interesting. I've mentioned in the past that Amazon now provides limited BookScan numbers to authors, so ever since the first round of closings, I've been watching a steady increase in the sales of my books, or at least certain titles. Heart of Veridon isn't on any shelf, anywhere, so it was largely unaffected. But both Dead of Veridon and The Horns of Ruin saw a modest bump with the first round.

And then we had the liquidation.

DoV saw a modest increase. But The Horns of Ruin? Murdered it. It's jumped up week after week, each week increasing by more than it had the month before. We passed release week figures weeks ago. We're well into the top weekly sales for that book. Solidly.

The bad part? The publisher will never see any of that money, which means I won't garner royalties against advance. So we basically just gave away hundreds and hundreds of books.

So here's the game: what impact will that have on the overall popularity of the book? If there are now hundreds of people out there who have the book, and they read it, will they tell their friends? Will there be a steady burn of people ordering the book on the recommendation of their barista, or their co-worker, or the mad drunk down at the pub (the author) or whoever? This is what I want to see.

Anyway. The Borders sale is pretty much over. I expect the next BookScan report to slow a precipitous dive back to normal sales figures. Next we see if people actually reading the book has any effect. I'm hopeful. But I'm always hopeful. You know me, Mr. Blazing Inferno of Optimism.