Tuesday, September 27, 2005
When I lived in Nebraska in the mid 1990s it wasn't unusual to see the CW sections at Borders and Barnes & Noble stores stocked with hundreds of CW books, including many excellent and fresh but comparative obscure titles from smaller presses. This also was true to a lesser extent here on the west coast during that time. Take this forward to today and the story is dramatically different in the same bookstores I visit regularly in Washington, Oregon, and to a lesser extent northern California. Now, especially at B&N (Borders is a bit better), I typically find a few dozen titles at best, nearly all of which are from major publishing houses with time honored author names like McPherson, Sears, Foote, Catton, etc. etc. Online retailers (large and small) have certainly picked up the slack nicely for experienced readers, but it certainly is discouraging to think of novice readers browsing the aisles of these brick and mortar stores and only being exposed to such trite fare.