For you book fans, I’ve got two things to mention. One is a reminder that Dan Brown’s new novel, Inferno, is due out tomorrow, May 14. The other is a suggestion about where to buy it.
Just in time to begin the summer reading season, Inferno continues the adventures of Harvard professor Robert Langdon, who became well-known in Brown’s previous novels, Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol. I won’t go into much description about Inferno, except to say that it will involve much of the same type of intrigue, history, and suspense that made Dan Brown’s previous books best-sellers.
Personally, If I know that I’m going to read a particular new book or see a new movie, I avoid learning much about it beforehand. Isn’t a story more entertaining when you begin it with no preconceptions or knowledge about where it’s headed?
I think the journey of discovery and revelation was one of the things that made The Da Vinci Code so enjoyable.
So I avoid early descriptions and reviews of books and movies and I suspect maybe you do, too, so I won’t say more about Inferno. You probably already intend to read it.
Now, as far as where you buy it, I’ve got a couple of thoughts on that. I suggest you buy it from Barnes & Noble — where you can pre-order it now. (Spend $25 online and Barnes & Noble will ship it to you for free.)
Why? Because Barnes & Noble is a real bookstore, unlike that other purveyor of books online (that begins with an “A”).
Physical bookstores are an endangered species nowadays and that includes Barnes & Noble. They are the last major bookstore chain in the United States that operates actual brick-&-mortar stores. And if you as a reader don’t start shopping there more often, they may soon not be around to shop at at all.
Think I’m being alarmist? In this article, Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, a stock market research firm, predicts which 5 big American retailers will be gone within 5 years. Unfortunately, the list includes Barnes & Noble.
I thought it was bad enough when Borders closed. But if Barnes & Noble goes under, many towns across the country will no longer have a physical bookstore in which to shop. Ideally, if your town has an independent bookseller, shop there and buy Dan Brown’s Inferno from them. But if the only bookstore you have is a Barnes & Noble, then get the book either at the store or at Barnes & Noble online.
As a reader, do you want a repeat of what happened with Borders?
Let’s not let the closure of Barnes and Noble become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s not let the pleasure and discovery of being able to browse for books, magazines, movies, and music in an actual bookstore — and enjoy a cup of coffee at the café — become a thing of the past. Shopping for books online is nowhere near the same.
I don’t care how many software “tools” the online discounter that begins with “A” offers for browsing books. You will never be able to discover new books that you want to read more readily than actually going to a store and browsing among the shelves.
Another reason is that Amazon (there, I named it) is basically the Walmart of online shopping. No matter how cute and folksy they try to be, they are basically a big, soulless corporation that has engaged in predatory practices to try to force local independent booksellers out of business. And they do not especially support or work cooperatively with publishers. Publishers work with Amazon because they’re forced to. But, among other things, Amazon sells Kindle e-books below cost, hurting sales of physical books. Amazon can threaten a publisher with withholding a book from its inventory, in effect dictating how much the publisher can make on a particular book, and even whether the book gets published or re-printed. How do you think small publishers feel about that?
In addition, Amazon treats their customers and affiliates like dogshit from time to time.
The bottom line is, Amazon does not really care about books per se, they only care about another commodity that adds to its bottom line.
Sure, Barnes & Noble is a corporation, too, but at least they are devoted to books and work a little better with publishers. If Barnes & Noble goes under, do you think Amazon will be holding author events in your town, where you can meet your favorite author and have him or her sign your book? Do you think they will support local authors and the reading and arts programs in local schools? Not likely. Barnes & Noble in many cases is the last literary bastion of real books in many parts of the United States.
Vote with your dollars for a real bookstore
So, okay, enough of the rant. If you can’t buy Inferno at a local, independent bookseller, buy it from Barnes & Noble, either in a store or online. The Da Vinci Code sold upwards of 80 million copies. If Inferno sales reach a significant fraction of that number, and if many of those books are sold by Barnes & Noble, well, it should help some.
And keep shopping for books at Barnes & Noble. They discount their books online, just like the “A” store does, and they have a good customer loyalty program, too. With regard to discounting, the “A” store is offering Inferno for $17.49 in hardcover. Barnes & Noble is selling Inferno for $17.97. That’s a difference of a measly 48 cents. Really, what incentive is there to buy from the “A” store? 48 cents? C’mon. Vote with your dollars for a real bookstore and buy it from Barnes & Noble.
Also, if you want an e-reader or entertainment tablet, get a NOOK. The NOOK is well-reviewed, the different devices — from the NOOK Simple Touch to the NOOK HD Tablet 32GB — work well; they are cooler than a Kindle, and they offer more benefits to readers, not to mention those who are interested in running the huge collection of Android apps on this highly-rated HD tablet.
So, enjoy Inferno! I hope Dan Brown has done it again…
Oh yes… I had a sexy reader photo of a woman in my last “Friday Pic to Make You Smile.” Well, I know that women read my blog, too, so below is a little something for you gals along the literary hotness line, especially for female readers and book-lovers…. (And, sure, gay male readers and book-lovers, too.)