Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bookstore Market Is Very Different From Our Perceptions

There’s a bookstore, on average, servicing 24,000 people in the United States, according to an analysis by Publishers Weekly.  Americas 12,703 book-selling outlets feeds a population of 313.9 million.

Of course, one can look at this study and make wild conclusions, but what isn’t factored in are things like store size.  A super B&N store can hold many more books than a small independent. 

Further, it doesn’t study how many customers per store or sales made per store, but it does expose a number of oddities.  For instance, Montana, Wyoming, and Vermont are the top three states, per capita, for bookstores.  Then Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. You normally don’t associate books, literacy, or intellectual capital with these places. There is a bias towards the liberal Northeast as being a bastion for books.

In fact, the only state to make the top 10 population state and the top 10 bookstore count for a state was Tennessee.

16 states had fewer than 100 bookstores.  I am sorry – regardless of a state's size, that’s pathetic.  Rhode Island and North Dakota each had the fewest number of stores at 27 apiece.

The worst state of bookstores per capita is New Jersey.  It averages one store for every 40,851 citizens.  Big states did not fare well in the store per population count – New York ranked 48, California 46, Michigan 42, Pennsylvania 38, and Texas 35. 

The 10 states with the most bookstores are the following:

<    1.  California                  1,185 stores
      2.  Texas                        1,004 stores
<    3.  Florida                         797 stores
<    4.  Illinois                          523 stores
<    5.  Georgia                       508 stores
<    6.  New York                   505 stores
<    7.  North Carolina            486 stores
<    8.   Pennsylvania               478 stores
<    9.  Virginia                       372 stores
<   10. Tennessee                  369 stores
The top 5 store-per-population states average twice as many stores per person than the bottom five states.
Probably a better study would be by city, rather than state, but it’s interesting to see where bookstores are serving – and underserving – communities.

Interview With Author Linell Jeppsen

What kind of books do you write?    I write fantasy and science fiction novels, and short stories. I have four full-length novels out to date. Story Time, which is a science fiction, post-apocalyptic novel with over 58- 4 and 5 star reviews. Story Time was also nominated as the best science fiction novel of 2011 by the Paranormal Romance Guild!
Detour To Dusk. This is old-fashioned vampire fiction, with over 30-5 star reviews. No sparkles on these vamps- these vampires would rather eat you for dinner, than take you out to dinner!

Onio! This is an urban fantasy about a quarter/human Sasquatch who falls in love with a human girl. This novel is racking up the five star reviews- 20, so far, and it WON 3rd place as the best fantasy romance of 2012 from the PRG!

The War of Odds- this is my only Young Adult novel, and it is a modern faerie tale for all age groups! With over 7- 5 star reviews since its release in late February, The War of Odds is an independently published novel.

... and finally, The Guardians, by Linell Jeppsen and J. Bryden Lloyd. This is a brand new serialized science fiction novel that is hitting it big! It has spent the last three weeks in the TOP 20 in science fiction shorts and anthologies since its release in early March. For action, adventure, space battles, and, military mayhem try The Guardians- Episodes One and Two!

What is your latest book about?    The Guardians is a science fiction adventure about an alien species that, like vampires, are not interested in finding a new planet or co-existing with a new species but are conquering every world they find and drinking the inhabitant’s blood- They are the Crulla and one of their ancestors was known as Drac Crulla!
A hard-edged thriller with a sci/fi slant to one of our most enduring legends- The Guardians!

What inspired you to write it?
    I am always interested in new sci/fi stuff, and when my co-author suggested his ideas about a vampire species coming to Earth-, I couldn't resist giving this story line a try!

What is the writing process like for you?
    My writing process? I am a total panster when it comes to writing. I do try to write a simple outline, but that's only to ensure that I have a cohesive plot line with a logical beginning, middle and end! Other than that, the writing connections are always between my fingertips and the keys on my computer. There is (usually some sort of alchemy taking place that connects random thoughts with a fully- realized story!

What did you do before you became an author?
    I have done many things to make money- I was a florist for many years, and then I was a checker for a major grocery outlet for another fifteen years. I finally ended up as a custodian for the local high school here where I live. Now, I am semi-retired and trying to live my dream of being a successful writer of the kind of literature, I adore!
How does it feel to be a published author?   I love being published with World Castle publishing, and going out, occasionally, on my own. It is hard to find the time to write and promote, as well, though. There are millions of writers out there, and all of us are trying to break in to mass marketing with our novels. Wish I had a house-elf who could do all my promoting for me! LOL!

Do you have any advice for struggling writers?     Yes, keep doing what you love and writing with your own voice. Small- pubbed and Indy writers CAN make it big- just look at Hugh Howie! A word of heart-felt advice though, and this is important! Always try to improve your craft, and this is REALLY important- edit, edit, EDIT! Never publish your work until you are sure that it is as good as it can possibly be. Get beta-readers, and, if possible hire a professional editor before you publish your opus. It will pay you back in spades!  I think we are looking at the new trend in publishing. The "Big Houses" are falling down and the economy is so poor that many people can no longer afford to buy books at the prices the more traditional publishers are asking. This is good news (and bad) for the slew of Indy writers out there. There are millions of us, and although the lions are no longer guarding the gates, the competition is huge. We must put out the best manuscripts we can, have the very best art possible, and do all the promotional foot work for ourselves. It can be done though- Good luck to all of you!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013

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