Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buying Books Carrick Style

Here at Type M for Murder we are writers for sure. But we are also readers, and we love books and believe in the importance of the book publishing industry. We are happy to present our second annual Type M for Murder Give a Book for Christmas Week. To start the week off, the guest blogger is my friend and critique group member, Donna Carrick. As well as being a great writer, Donna is an enthusiastic reader, and she has raised her three children to love books as much as she does.

Let me say this right up front: I’m not much of a ‘shopper’. I’m still wearing last year’s shoes (which might in fact be 3 years old) and I don’t dare gain weight because then I’d need new clothes.

The one thing I do love to shop for is – you guessed it – books.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with my critiquing group, a circle of talented and prolific Canadian writers, on the subject of our changing book industry. We were wondering aloud what we can do to promote the sale of fiction during this year’s holiday season.

Maybe we need to take a fresh approach. Instead of studying the challenge of increasing book sales from the point of view of the seller (ourselves), we need to take a good, hard look at how the book-buying public actually conducts itself.

To this end, our own Vicki Delany asked the question: How do WE buy books.

Having 3 children (2 still school-aged) and being myself a passionate reader, this is a subject in which I feel well-versed. While other shoppers revel in new dresses or cars, I joyfully await my next shipment of books from my favourite on-line vendor. I have been known to use a precious vacation day with the kids. First we go for a morning swim. Then we’ll spend a fun-charged afternoon browsing through our favourite bookstore.

In our family travels, we make it a practice to stop at local bookstores in Collingwood, Huntsville, Ellicottville, Sudbury… in any little ‘burb or town we encounter along the way.

We also love the ‘big box’ stores, with their spacious aisles of children’s lit and entire shelves dedicated to the study of foreign languages and racks of knitting/crafting/music magazines… you get the point. Let me not forget my own special fondness: Crime Fiction! In addition, we are beginning to explore the world of e-books – Sony ‘readers’ are on this year’s Holiday gift list.

Our children love spending time in bookstores. The covers light up their eyes like candy in a bowl – they love the feel, the colours, the adventure/humour/mystery they know waits for them within the pages. For them, there is no greater thrill. When the school term stretches out and every day seems much like the one before, I will hear them say, “Mom, when are we taking a day off to go to the bookstore?” The hints will start to fly. “I’m almost finished my (insert favourite series here) books.”

In short, we are a bookish family. It’s a strange fetish to have in today’s modern world, but it has given us many happy hours. As our industry continues to change and literature makes its way toward e-publication, there will no doubt be something lost to all of us.

One hopes, though, there will also be something gained. After all, we must do what we can to preserve the joy of reading for future generations. If that means loading Charles Dickens onto a GameBoy DS system, then I say, “Plug it in, folks!”

Two series our children especially love for 2009:

Ted’s favourite: Derek Landy ~ The Faceless Ones (Children’s fiction)
Tammy-Li’s favourite: The Geronimo Stilton Series

Donna Carrick is an author and blogger living in Toronto with her husband and three children. Donna's lastest book is The First Excellence. Her web site is


Jemi Fraser said...

Great post, Donna! I can spend so much time in bookstores! I've already bought 6 or 7 titles for Xmas gifts this year :)

Geronimo Stilton is so popular with the kids at my school too!

I'm glad you posted here - looks like another great blog for me to follow!

Vicki Delany said...

Jemi, please follow away! Thanks for visiting.