From Dear Author in the aftermath of two large book conferences:
The one large question that loomed before publishers is how do they get readers to buy their books.
It used to be that publishers could essentially make a book popular by buying ads and placement in stores. Remember that everything in the store, even the bestseller lists in some retail places like grocery stores and Wal-Mart, were for sale. For a price, a publisher could position their book in the front of the store, face out, on an end cap, and so forth. It was through heightened in store placement that many books achieved success.
With the decline of in store placement due to the closure of Borders (which made up nearly a quarter of sales for some books), reduction of titles carried by Wal-mart, and retail space at Barnes & Noble replaced by nook promotions, in store book discovery is declining for many titles. There is simply less space that can be physically devoted to new books.
. . . .
Finding a good book is a challenge. I’m constantly on the look out but I hate reading excerpts because excerpt reading can be time consuming. I recall one night, I spent about two hours downloading and then reading excerpts. That’s a hassle.
I try to go for recommendations from online friends, but sadly, they invariably recommend books I’ve already read. Lately I’ve been trying the recommendations suggested by Goodreads but without much success.
. . . .
Back in the paper days, I bought primarily authors known to me and then by cover and blurb. But even back then I recall being overwhelmed by choice, with the covers all kind of running together in some big blur.
Link to the rest at Dear Author and thanks to Anthea for the tip.
For Passive Guy, downloaded excerpts are much more useful than covers and blurbs have ever been, but books by authors he likes are still the most reliable way of finding something he enjoys.
Although he checks Amazon almost daily, PG seldom goes to physical bookstores any more. When he did, he nearly always ignored the front tables. The only time when paid physical placement reached him was when he was in an airport and needed something for a long plane ride.