Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No Sign Of Books On The Road

My family and I recently embarked on a family vacation that logged 1,140 miles by way of our Buick Enclave. No, this post is not about how I paid over $5 a gallon in Toronto or how our gas-guzzler separated $220 from my wallet just to fill up the tank a few times. But our road trip made me aware of the power of road signs and I pondered its potential impact on book publishing.

When you are driving long distances there’s little to see but traffic, the repetitive ROAD markings and the non-descriptive terrain filling the roadside. Occasionally the elements, such as nightfall or bad weather, add to the adventure of hauling across the highway.

But one thing you are sure to zero in on is road signs, especially when you need gas, want food or feel the urge to rest. Most of the signs show generic things -- but sometimes they advertise a specific brand, such as McDonald’s. I didn’t see any signs that said “Bookstore” or “Newsstand.”

Perhaps while traveling, an establishment that sells books is not as vital as one selling food, water, fuel, or lodging, but nevertheless, wouldn’t it be nice to see some signs encouraging the consumption of books?

For all the miles I traveled, from Westchester, New York to Toronto, Canada --and back-some 5.5 million feet -- I didn’t see a single sign touting the selling of books. I think, because it doesn’t yet exist, a bookstore that is positioned in the middle of nowhere (by the highway), could do well.

It would provide a mental reprieve from the mindlessness of the road. Instead of playing “Let’s look for cops while I exceed 80mph,” you can take a much-deserved respite from staring onto the conveyer-belt blacktop and nourish the brain and soul with any of the billions of words echoing in the corridors of a roadside bookstore.

Maybe because it hasn’t been done -- at least not on the roads I’ve ever been on -- it’s a sign that the idea won’t work. After all, people who drive on the highway are trying to go from points A to B -- and only stop out of reluctant need- use a restroom, fuel up, or fill an empty belly. Why would they stop to shop or read?

Because Americans need stimulation. I think if you build it, they will come. I know I would.

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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 is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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