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.