Come Meet the Author, but Open Your Wallet

Independent bookstores, squeezed by competition from Internet retailers like Amazon, have long done something their online brethren cannot emulate: author events. And now many bookstores say they have no choice but to capitalize on this grand tradition.

They are charging admission.

Bookstores, including some of the most prominent around the country, have begun selling tickets or requiring a book purchase of customers who attend author readings and signings, a practice once considered unthinkable.

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>>Publishers can benefit from

Publishers can benefit from bookstore events, which are frequently covered in local media as news events, giving book sales a boost.

But privately, some publishers said they were skeptical. “We pay for the author to travel and come to the bookstore, and then the store makes money from it?” one said.

Is the publisher paying the bookstore staff that has to setup tables and chairs for the event? Is the publisher paying for all the other little activities that the bookstore has to do to make the event a success? If the publisher is paying for all these things then maybe the publisher should make the call on if tickets are sold. But if they are not paying for all these things it is reasonable for the store to find a way to not lose money.

To survive, bookstores have to have some income

Right?? They cannot live on love alone (nor of course can libraries).

A rebuttal to the Times article.

Fair enough

I have zero problems with this sort of thing. As long as you know in advance.
It's how one of my local bookshops have dealt with not having too many people turn up at once as well by making it an event, rather than a free-for-all. Especially by having it after the end (or near end) of the working day.

If you get to see and hear someone you like the work of you're probably going to buy the book anyway (or an extra one as you might have the one they are promoting) so a few more pounds or dollars would be fine.

I was in Barnes and Noble last year at a signing and you had to buy the book to be in the queue to hear her talk, then there were the people who couldn't fit in the space but bought the book and queued up for it to be signed.

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