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The Unsung Heros of Genre Fiction

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JKS
Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 03:21 pm:   

Presuming on Jason and Jeremy's patience, I'd like to reprint a letter I sent to Locus:

.................................................

Hi Guys,

Y'know it just occured to me that all the awards out there cover every important aspect of the field, except one: the humble bookseller! Yes, those people who make their lives work to see the finished book in someone's hands. I can't think of how many times I've actually bought a book 'cause someone in the store knew me and said 'Hey you gotta read this!' But there is no recognician for the job they do, These people may be the unsung heros of the field. Most will never be rich in their chosen occupation, just like most authors, editors or Semi-Prozine owners! I'd suggest in most cases, this is a labor of love, baby! These are people who really dig books and I love them for it, since I feel the same way myself.

So why not have a couple of new catagories next year in the Locus Poll? I have a couple of ideas, and my votes on to who they should go:

Best Traditional (predominant retail presence) Store:

Bakka, Toronto
Jamie Fraser Books, Toronto
Chapters/Indigo (chain)

Best Internet Store:

Clarkesworld Books
Amazon
Dream Haven

Best Internet Book Search Engine:

Bookfinder
Abebooks
Alibris

All the best,

Jonathan K Stephens

..................................................

So am I blowin' smoke, or do I have a point?
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 10:56 am:   

A lot of these categories come down to regional preference... You vote for your favorite store that you know, but your knowledge is geographically limited. thus, whichever area has the most voters gets "its" store at the top of the heap. there is really no way to compare YOUR experiences at Jamie Fraser Books, versus my experience at Borderlands Books in San Francisco, or someoneís experience at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, because there is, predominately, no SHARED experience.

Further your "internet store" category is a mixed bag, because do you include brick and mortar stores like Dream Haven along side internet only stores?

As for best book search engine, thatís also problematic because many book search engines (book finder, for example) are meta search engines that search ABE and others, while some are dedicated middle-men, such as amazon-used, or ABE.

Its an interesting point, but not one that I think can be made with "best" lists. Locus tries to make this point by their "best sellers" list which highlights bookstore sales, and focuses on a few specialty stores.

Perhaps more features on "brick and morter stores" or "internet stores" or "search engines" could address some of the points you are trying to make... cause IMO "best" lists don't really capture the nuance involved.

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