Shake Hands

It’s over, the long standoff.  Simon and Schuster, Barnes and Noble, they’ve shaken hands and gone back to work, one publishing books and the other selling them.  It’s been a battle hard on a lot of us in the trenches, those of us whose livelihoods depend on the visibility a chain like Barnes and Noble can provide our work.  In the time when B&N would allow no S&S author to do an event or signing in their stores, when no store in the chain could order more than a couple of our new books, we worked hard in the other markets, knuckling down with the independent bookstores and with the smaller chains, and employing the internet in dozens of innovative ways.  Through it all, we wondered: Can we still make it?

For me, at least, the answer is yes.  I just learned that Tamarack County, the thirteenth in the Cork O’Connor series, will debut tied at #15 on the New York Times bestseller list.  This despite the fact that the resolution of the issues between my publisher and Barnes and Noble came too late to be of any use.  The lesson for me?  There are two, really.  First, and most important, the bookselling world is still a large and vibrant one, and no single entity dominates.  All the wonderful indies and all the other smaller players still make a profound difference.  And second, this whole crazy situation has just reinforced my awareness that if you let yourself worry too much about of the incomprehensible business of the publishing world, you’ll just go nuts.

To those of you who bought Tamarack County and helped it hit the NYT list, I offer you an Ojibwe thank you: Migwech.

3 Responses to “Shake Hands”

  1. Michael Kelberer Says:

    Hey Kent – Going to #1 without B&N is something to be proud of – I’ve been following your whirlwind book tour, and am sure they are all very grateful to have had more of you while the two giants were in a you-know-what match.
    And Tamarak County was great!
    Michael

  2. Kirsten Schwappach Says:

    Hello Kent,
    I’m so glad to learn that Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster have resolved their differences, not so glad that it happened too late to help Tamarack County properly. I have never really minded B & N’s rather overwhelming role in the sale & promotion of books, but the realization that any snit they get into can, to some extent, be forced on the public, is a little frightening. Thank heaven for those stalwart independents. Looking forward to Windigo Island and see you … whenever.
    Kirsten

  3. Deb Foster Says:

    Hi Kent…I have full faith that you and Tamarack County will prevail in spite of all this and that you’ll continue to climb the Best Sellers list. I know this because Kent Krueger fans are so loyal and they talk! And part of this is because folks who have met you…love you…your genuineness and compassionate demeanor is a rare find. Not mention, you’re fun to be around :)

    To Kent Krueger fans…as an Anishinaabe (Native Ojibwe), I have the utmost respect for Kent’s commitment to ensuring that his stories truly depict the Native ways with truthfulness and respect. As we continue to live in a world where our history books and other novels continue to display grossly false and hurtful information about Native people…it’s so heartening to know that Kent has over the years and continues to spend many hours listening to the people who “live” in his stories, so that he honorably reflects authenticity. Thank you Kent…

    If you haven’t yet met the man behind these wonderful novels…you’re missing out on the heart and magnanimity from which these books are written. Check out his tour, bring a friend and make a point to meet Kent!
    Miigwetch,
    Deb