Have you Ever Done This?

Recently I read a post about the easiest way that you can support one of your favorite authors, but I won’t link to it because the blogger didn’t reply to my comment. Seriously.

Anyway, her entire post was about going into your favorite bookstore, finding the book/author you’d like to help support, and turning their book to face the aisle with its cover out rather than just its spine. She made it sound like this was a huge deal and could help out authors in a significant way. But I disagree.

Let’s say you do this and someone comes along and buys the book. Let’s even assume that they enjoy the book. And then later buy more books by this particular author. We’ll say the author has five more books currently available. So this other person buys a grand total of six books by this author. Whoop. The author makes a grand total of…not much from the sales. You could really stretch this scenario to say that this new reader is going to climb to the top of a mountain and scream that everyone should read this author, or that they’ll tweet about it, or find a way to interview them on their blog. But let’s be real. A typical person in a bookstore simply does not have the ability to drive sales without a significant platform, which most people do not have.

Sure it’s nice of you to turn that book by your favorite author out toward the aisle, but the impact is likely no greater than if you’d have just tweeted that you liked it.

Have you ever gone into your bookstore specifically to do this? I haven’t, mostly because I don’t go into bookstores.

Never Ask a Reader About Their Favorite Book

Photo Credit: sodahead.com

It seems like a simple enough question when you ask, but can turn into a whirlwind of things for the person who is trying to come up with an answer. Because any person who has read as few as fifty books will likely struggle for an answer. Here’s what would happen to me if asked about my favorite book.

The first thought to enter my head would be the list I keep of my top/ favorite books read. It’s a list in the ballpark of 150 books. I would think of the top five. The top five includes Michael Connelly, Suzanne Collins, T. Jefferson Parker, Marcus Sakey, and Eric Nylund. Three of these authors are crime novelists and two are not. I would think back to each of the books and decide that it’s near impossible to pick any one over another, no matter how I have them ranked.

Then I’d think of my first book. Could that be my favorite? I’ve read it more times than I’ve read any other book. I wrote it. The protagonist is me. Surely it’s at least in the conversation. But does the book stand up against the others I’m thinking of? And how could I forget The Great Gatsby?

Then my Excel spreadsheet of all of the book authors I own would come to mind. I would think about the fact that a handful of authors make up a huge chunk of my reading. My favorite must be written by one of them. Maybe Robert B. Parker or Steve Hamilton? Maybe Robert Crais or James Patterson?

Then all of the series I read would jump into the equation. Katniss Everdeen is one of my favorite literary characters ever. And Alex Cross. And Spenser. And Elvis Cole. And Karen Vail.

And finally, with my head spinning in circles, I would accept the fact that it’s impossible to pick a single favorite. All while the person asking the question was simply trying to make small talk by asking in the first place.

BUT if you had to pick one favorite book that you’ve read, what would it be?