Thursday, January 12, 2012

Letter to Xtra

There's an article and editorial in the current issue of Xtra on the death of the gay book store.  I wrote them the following comment today:

On a recent trip to Vancouver I stopped in at Little Sisters and bought a few books. They had books by local authors that had been signed - something you can't get from an online big box - and I was happy to pay the little extra money.
Conversely I recently attended a book signing event for Glad Day.
I had talked to the owner of Glad Day book store about advertising for the event as I believe two people showed up other than myself. He said that’s the way the book world was now, that no one cared. I asked him how he had advertised the event as I myself hadn’t seen any advertising even though I was looking for it, and I said I wanted to be able to find future events held by the store. He said he had posted a message on their facebook page which held 400 members. I asked if it was in Xtra and he said he was told it was. Now I looked through Xtra looking for it and didn’t find it so I doubt it made it in. I heard about the event from the author himself. Also I checked when I got home and I saw the Glad Day facebook group had only 139 members and the group’s homepage was last updated in June. Unless I was looking at the wrong thing, this site posted news of the reading on a Tuesday, which means someone would have had to check the homepage between that Tuesday and Saturday to find out about the event, even though the last time the page was updated was in June.
The owner said the world was moving too fast and he wasn’t interested in keeping up with it, that he didn’t know how to advertise anymore and was waiting for bankruptcy. All this seemed a sensible solution.
During the actual reading the owner and organizer of the event talked quite loudly to someone beside him, drowning out the author. Why organize an event and then talk all through it?
When you organize events in this way, saying you've given up on trying to keep up with the way the world works, I'm not sure what other result you could be expecting.
One more thing.
How exactly has Glad Day reached out to local authors like Brian Francis who is mentioned in your article?
It could be a win/win with more exposure for the author and his book and more sales and recognition for the store. I don't see that happening here.

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