Borders: End of one era and the beginning of another

It’s now been a little over three years since the release of my book 35 Miles From Shore. The picture on the left was taken at my very first book signing, which happened to be at a Borders store in Chicago.

By now I had fully expected that the book would have made its way down the long tail of book publishing. This was a self published book after all, and the vast majority of self published books sell on average a measly 200 copies, and most of those go to family and friends. But a couple of interesting things happened.

It all started with a great book. I have no problem tooting my own horn. I read a lot of nonfiction. And this book competes with the best on the market. The reviews speak for themselves. Next came the eReader. If someone wants to read my book, they can still order it from any bookstore. But if they have an eReader, they can download the book instantly, and for the cost of a magazine they can start reading my book in minutes. And the last ingredient for success was the Internet. If you know how to market online (I run an online marketing company), and know how to use tools such as Adwords and WordPress, you can now reach readers worldwide.

The combination of having a good book, some marketing know how, and some technical skills to pull it off, has resulted in sales of the book of over 5,000 and counting. The book still manages to sell between 50 to 100 a month, with the majority of those sales coming from eBooks.

When I did that first book signing three years ago, the writing for Borders was already on the wall. You can read about my experience in the article Best selling author (not): My experience with my first book signing.

If I only knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been sitting in an empty room. I probably wouldn’t have been at a bookstore at all. I loved Borders and the majority of signings that I did were at Borders stores. So I’m going to miss them. But the truth is that bookstores are soon to be a thing of the past, just as record stores are now.

So I’m sad to see bookstores like Borders bite the dust. But I’m excited at the prospects of doubling and tripling my sales thanks to technology.

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