Monday, April 28, 2014

Being an Author today: A Little Anecdote

(Lifted off my Facebook page. Just because I can)

Dear People,
A little anecdote, if you please.
So I go into a Delhi bookstore (name withheld) and smile at the lady behind the counter and ask if she has my books.
She recognises me and informs me ''Oh your new book Sorting Out Sid? - it's not selling as well as your first book (Just Married, Please Excuse)''
I'm a little taken aback by this since I've heard differently, but I say ''Okay...well, shall I sign a few copies then, now that I'm here?''
She squirms only slightly before recovering and says ''Well, we don't have any in stock right now.''
''As in?'' I raise my eyebrows ''You didn't get any from my publisher?''
''Oh we did...but they all sold out.''
''But you said the new book wasn't selling...'' my voice trails off.
She mumbles something about not re-ordering that often but all right if I INSIST, she will. SOMEDAY.
I'm trying to keep my composure, though. Bookstore relationships are important, they tell me.
I smile ''Okay, well, can I see the Just Married copies then? I'll just sign those and be on my way then, shall I?''
''Oh that.'' She looks around half-heartedly, punches a few buttons on her computer and after a few minutes of this, looks up and says ''We don't have any copies of that one either.'' She raises her chin defiantly. ''But that one did better than the new one.''
And that, my friends, is the big problem that authors in India face. Well, the ones who aren't Chetan and Ashwin and Amish. We really try, we do, but what do you do in such a situation? The book's out of stock and the retailer doesn't re-order. I know they're under pressure from online competition and all that - but it just feels like a damn shame when you see missed opportunities like these, and there are many. If your book isn't in the store, how are people supposed to discover it?
Anyway - I love bookstores. Please support your friendly neighbourhood bookstore by buying (not just browsing). And while you're at it, how about supporting your friendly neighbourhood author by asking for copies of her book? Seriously. Even if just to check and help me remind retailers that my books exist!
Even if you really just prefer to get that crazy 37
% discount and buy from Amazon right here.
Go on, I won't hold it against you.
Much love and thanks for the support,
P.S - And if you want the 'first book that did much better', here it is -
P.P.S - You could also share this, and become my newest best friend.


  1. Hello,
    I really enjoyed your book 'Sorting Out Sid'!

    I think these days readers prefer buying books online. But visiting bookstores is so much fun & pure bliss and they must re-order the sold out books!

  2. Ohh..thats sad when book store people don't re-order books..

    I saw your books in Landmark at Chennai some weeks back..

  3. That's really sad and very true that bookstore culture is slowly dying. As, people prefer buying it online, with less effort and discounts. Good luck with your upcoming books. Yet, to read your writing ;)


Hi there. Go on, say it. Well? WELL?