Thursday, November 13, 2008

'Book Bucks' Or 'Fiction Forecast'...

Things are tough all over. With the exception of Walmart--which reported a 10% rise in profits--businesses are hurting. With credit drying up, job claims at a seven year high, a million foreclosed homes expected to be dumped onto the real estate market by next year, and food and energy costs going up while wages remain stagnant, the economy is on everyone's mind. While economic and financial experts with twenty page resumes and a whole lot more letters behind their names than I have try to figure out solutions to the nation's economic crisis, individual business people-- including authors whose livelihoods and careers depend on consumer discretionary income--hunker down and try to ride out the storm. But just what is the 'fiction forecast' for these turbulent times? How will the book-buying public adjust their spending habits? And how will that affect the purchasing practices of publishers? (Sorry. A little heavy on the alliteration there, wasn't I?)

Opinions differ on how readers will respond to a possible budget crunch--as does speculation on what business decisions publishers make relative to an uncertain economic outlook. A recent New York Times article indicated that the timing for debut authors may be bad--with less attention (i.e. 'moolah') devoted to these new authors. As publishers cut costs, the article points out, more focus is being put on name authors and 'celebrity' newbies.

But not everything is as bleak as it might seem in the book realm. While net sales of books this past spring fell 3.5 percent, adult mass-market sales were up 4.7 percent during the same time period so there is cause for optimism.

Books are a tremendous value. Where else can you get away from the stress and uncertainty of 'real life' and escape to a place filled with laughter, intrigue, angst, and misadventure and all for the price of two jumbo Starbuck's mocha lattes or a small one-topping pizza?

So what's Bullet Hole's magnificent business plan to steer through the ups and downs of challenging economic times?

Keep my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard and write the best book I can. My advice to other writers out there? Do likewise.

Readers, how are your book buying habits changing? What types of books will you be reading during tough belt-tightening times? And writers--will this economic climate alter what you write and how you write? Share some collective pearls of wisdom.

Personally, I've got to believe there will always be a market for a damned good book.

So, what do you think?

~Bullet Hole determined to be optimistic~

20 comments:

MsHellion said...

Amen, sister. I totally agree. There will always be room in this economy for a well-written book!

Tori Lennox said...

I'll keep buying books. During the Depression people always found the money to go to the movies or whatever. They needed the entertainment. I think it's the same with books.

Kathy Bacus said...

Great minds think alike, Mshellion. And great books trump a poor economy any day...!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

You're absolutely right, Tori. More than ever, I think, folks will be looking for a way to get away. And you can't beat a book (and maybe a bubble bath) for taking a person away from the pressures of life.

~Bullet Hole~

Linda C said...

Kathy,

I will continue to buy books. They are still a great entertainment value. I live in Michigan (Detroit Area) which is being hit really hard due to the Automotive companies woes. I also work for one of those Automotive companies. However, no matter what keep on writing, as I will keep on buying your books.

Linda

Christie Craig said...

Fabulous post, Kathy.

And I agree with everything you said so much that if I were in chruch, I'd be hollering AMEN, right now.

Thanks.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Fabulous post, Kathy.

And I agree with everything you said so much that if I were in chruch, I'd be hollering AMEN, right now.

Thanks.

CC

terrio said...

I'm on this bandwagon. I believe people will still buy books. It's not like people have to choose between, say, buying a car or buying a book. Tori is right, we need the escape. What books are bought may shift, but how many I don't think so.

Terry S said...

When it comes to entertainment dollars, I think books are the best value there is. That I'm not alone in this belief only takes a visit to the bookstore or a look at the book aisle at Walmart. People are there and continuing to buy books. I think they will continue to do so. They may cut back on movies/popcorn/drinks or rent instead of buy dvd's, but they will continue buying books. Books feed the soul and during tough times our souls need the nourishment!

Kristi said...

My book buying habits haven't changed. I buy my favorite authors that I have a hard time finding at the library. The rest I get at the library or through paperbackswap.com. I never buy hard covers, but will by the bigger paperbacks.

I still average about $300-$400 a year on paperbacks. I'd give up my tv first.

Keri Ford said...

I don't see book sales stopping. When people can't afford to physically take themselves somewhere, they'll hop on a mental ride!

Estella said...

I'll keep buying books----maybe just not as many!

Kathy Bacus said...

I'd say you're right about being hit hard up your way, Linda. I imagine this is quite a stressful time.

I absolutely do plan to keep writing. It's as cathartic for me as reading is. Thanks for your support of reading and literacy! You put it exactly right. Books are a great entertainment value!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

'Write on', Christie! We 'Dangerous Divas' have to stick together...

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Personally, I feel a book is the absolute best means of escape, Terrio. I am wondering,however, what kind of buying trends genre-wise we are likely to see in the future.

~Bullet Hole

Kathy Bacus said...

Bravo! Well said, Terry S! And I can't think of a better gift to receive (and give) than a book or a gift card to a bookstore.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I can't imagine not having an uber tall TBR stack of books waiting for me, Kristi. I'll cut back on other stuff to feed my reading habit...!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I agree, Keri. I can't envision people not reading.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I think you're probably right, Estella, in that readers might be more selective in their book purchases.

I'm hoping readers will be in the mood for something light and humorous in tone.

~Bullet Hole~

Bookmobiler said...

"Personally, I've got to believe there will always be a market for a damned good book."

Hmmm? Personally I've always felt being able to read was a blessing.

Of course as a reading addict I don't really have a choice. (That's why my blog is called Reading Addiction.)

I will buy almost any book by a favorite author, or in genres that I like such as science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, humor and romances because libraries (and I have cards for two librarys) take to long to stock them.

Or don't buy them at all in the case of paperback titles.

Speaking of which, I just finished and enjoyed Anchors Aweigh.

When did you say your next book was due out?
(Prepares to mark calendar.)