THE WRITER'S BLOCK - A new bookstore that bills itself also as 'book manufacturer, publisher, literary treasury, writers' workshop, and artificial bird sanctuary in downtown Las Vegas'
I had no idea what to expect and the wife and I were quite pleased with the look of the place. It's a small space to be sure, from what we saw, with six or so mini-rooms of books on either side of a short hallway. Most of the books seemed to be 'classics' for lack of a better word - and most of those in the collector paperback variety - no affordable trade-quality paperbacks at this place that I could find.
I make note of this for a simple reason - scanning through the books, I discovered most of the prices to be in the 15+ range - not exactly cheap in the age of Amazon. We didn't have much time to stay and I plan a more thorough examination, but I didn't see any emphasis on indie/local writers - and it came off as more of a simple, small general bookstore - the type that used to exist in America before the big box days of Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
This brings me full circle to my idea of the 'Collective' and what may be possible from first experiences selling the print version of ELLA.
My idea of the collective is simple - indie writers banding together to 'mimic' the benefits of scale offered by traditional publishing without giving up the autonomy of going it alone. I believe there is an opportunity to push this idea to another level. In my first days selling the paperback, I see there is still a deep demand for quality print books among readers.
However, I don't believe that's the only part of this story. I have seen that readers enjoy interacting with authors. A business model for a bookstore where authors 'live and write' under the roof - and interact on the regular with readers and customers can overcome the price and volume disadvantage of 'competing' with Amazon.
No, I don't mean authors literally living in a commune/store. I am suggesting that local writers from X city - in this case the Vegas area - all congregating on a very regular basis to write/produce their books so as to be available to the customer/reader to sign products - hence offering a value you simply can't get at Amazon. I don't know of any other way to combat the value presented by that company other than to 'offer something unique'.
You can't beat Amazon's pricing and free-shipping. So, why attempt to do so? However, there are things an impersonal, online conglomerate can't offer - like meeting authors in person and getting your book signed.
So, writers - tell me what you think of this new 'version' of the Collective.
Stephen John Moran