The following is a response I had to the blog I posted about Borders Book Stores embracing the internet. Glenn Murray is the co-author of Walter The Farting Dog. Though we both happen to have written about a dog, the resemblance to our books ends there.
I have read about how important it is for an author to pay attention to the book sellers. I hope that I have shown appreciation in any stores where I have read.
Glenn Murray It's a dog-eat-dog world out there in publishing and bookselling. Borders has stayed on top (with Barnes & Noble) by moving aggressively and catering to what customers want. I've been a Borders Rewards member for years (due to spending tim...e in the US). Likewise with B&N, but although I've done dozens of events for both, there's a special link with Borders. A few years ago in Phoenix, I spoke to 700 Borders managers from all over America. It was their annual sales conference and I was their luncheon speaker. I also signed over 700 books the night before so that one could be at every place setting in the dining room - possibly my one-time signing record. The main thing is: they were friendly. And for years since, if I drop in to a Borders store to do a drive-by signing, usually the Manager knows who I am when I arrive. That's pretty impressive in a big company like this. If they're shifting strategies at this point, it's because customers have told them that this is what they want.That's a big room, when you have nearly 800 people present, plus hotel staff, servers, etc, and I did a dry run first - onstage with a hands-free headset mike, two big jumbo screens on the sides, and the whole electronic presentation buzz... Then I went back to my room to wait for the call. To distract my fretful mind, I flipped on the TV and CNN News came into the room, announcing that the 700th American soldier had just been killed in Iraq. (That's how long ago this was.) I just had time to be stunned by the number and a knock came to the door. I left immediately and walked onto the stage with just over 700 people sitting there applauding, and it struck me: "This is what they'd look like, all those lost soldiers, if you could have them over for lunch." It was an eerie feeling, and I didn't share it with my audience, who were there to laugh at a farting dog, after all, and not to think about a really stinky non-fiction story that was just gathering momentum all around us. But I've felt an odd bond with Borders and its managers since that day.