A most pleasant rejection.
Today I called on the good people at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland’s Multnomah Village to pitch my book. Their policy about books like mine that are published on the CreateSpace platform is disappointing but not surprising. The challenge arises from the fact that Amazon owns CreateSpace. Independent bookstores like Annie Bloom’s see Amazon as their primary competition, which prompts them to take a pass on stocking books printed by CreateSpace. This, even though every book in their store is also available on Amazon.
It’s a principled stand they are taking. I get it and respect it. Yet at the same time, this policy feels punitive—toward indie authors trying to gain traction, and toward readers who are missing out on what might actually be an outstanding read. Amazon is the behemoth of book retailing, it’s true. (And pretty much every other type of retailing as well.) But here’s the news flash: indie bookstores will eventually move away from this restrictive policy, because Jeff Bezos will outlast them. It’s inevitable.
Multnomah Village used to be my village. I used to live there. My advertising agency used to be based there, just a few doors down from Annie Bloom’s. A longstanding fantasy of mine is to have my books stocked there, and to do readings there. It was almost as if the kind man behind the counter at Annie Bloom’s today sensed my affinity for his store, and for that quaint little street in what is probably Portland’s quaintest little neighborhood. A super nice guy name Michael. Very compassionate. It was one of the most pleasant rejections I can recall. It was a helluva lot better than that one rejection back in college, when I approached a gorgeous young woman I’d had my eye on and asked her out on a date. She declined, citing preexisting plans to make a cake with her mother. Now that one smarted, and I came away wishing I’d warranted a better lie than that!
The Annie Bloom’s conversation ended with me gifting the book to Michael personally, which he accepted. I encouraged him to read a story or two some night when he’s not quite ready for sleep. I am confident the book will stand on its merits. After all, of all the tests one can apply to a book, the one about reading is far more relevant than the one about where it got published.