From Publishers Weekly:
As an independent book publisher for the past 24 years, I’m often asked to participate in Small Business Saturday, that counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that encourages holiday shoppers to patronize small and local stores.
When I agreed last year to set up at an author fair in a local shopping mall, it seemed like a good idea. What could be better than putting a table of books for sale inside a full-size shopping mall? I told one person a few days ahead of time about the event, and he said, “Good luck; that mall is empty.” Huh, I thought. This is the U.S. of A., where shopping is a way of life.
Upon arrival, I was slightly surprised to find a parking spot near a main entrance. And I noted that there were no banners displaying Small Business Saturday Book Fair. I found the group of participating authors huddled quietly at their tables, each of them with nice displays. Everyone was full of smiles, their books ready to be sold.
At 1 p.m., our official start time, nothing happened. Perhaps, I thought, our event didn’t actually exist? No one was there promptly to see, purchase, or ask about books.
My booth was across from a jewelry store. Thinking of a well-crafted novel with smooth chapter transitions, I raised my voice and announced, to no one in particular, “Buy a book and get a free diamond ring.” Two authors heard me and chuckled.
Still no one in the mall approached. Oh, wait, someone was walking by; I jovially said to the well-dressed woman, “You might not have heard, but for the next five seconds, if you buy a book, you get a free diamond ring.” Puzzlement. I start counting down: “Four.”
“A book. One.”
Dead stop. No comment from the woman. I say, “Well, the sale is over now. Sorry.” She walks off, staring straight ahead, no smile, no scorn, no nothing. I smile to myself. Honestly, I thought it was a clever conversation starter.
Never fear, I tell myself. Another person is walking by: “Hello, do you like to read?” I ask.
“Do you like to read?”
Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly
PG says it’s easier to sell a book online, particularly if it’s an ebook.