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THE ACCIDENTAL READER

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 20, 2010

In this dawning digital age, when people download books onto ebook readers like the Kindle or Nook, how will an author get noticed? It’s hard enough already with so many books on the shelves, but what happens when your book no longer appears in brick-and-mortar stores? I’ve received many letters from fans saying my book cover caught their eye in the library or my catchy title snagged their attention in the bookstore. Am I going to lose those accidental readers when my books can only be ordered online?

Internet marketing will become even more important in this new age. But participating in guest blogs, chat rooms, review sites, social networks, listserves, and discussion groups can leave no time for anything else…like writing the next book. Commenting on sites of interest, hosting guest bloggers, posting online book reviews, and interviewing other authors are some other ways to gain recognition. Myriads of possibilities exist, limited by time and energy.

As a reader, I like to browse through bookstores. It’s a pleasure we’ve taken for granted. Now you have to read excerpts online or examine the virtual book cover. Will this give you the same thrill as holding a book in your hand? Do you care? How can we, as authors in the digital age, attract new readers without spending hours at the computer after we’ve already spent the day there writing? Because we can’t rely anymore on the accidental reader who spots our book on a shelf made out of real wood.

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3 Responses to “THE ACCIDENTAL READER”

  1. Gram said

    I still like to hold a book in my hands. I do not want an e-reader. It does not have the same smell or feel as a real book! I love the odor of a bookstore or library. I have downloaded free e-books to my computer and there they sit unread. No Kindle for me! I hope they never stop publishing real books.

  2. As far as how authors will get noticed in this new age, I haven’t entirely figured that out yet. I suppose readers who prefer e-format will also tend to do a lot of their shopping online, so online promotions like the ones you mentioned will attract their attention. Having said that, though, as a reader I dearly love my trips to the bookstore. It’s so much more than shopping to me. There’s kind of a Zen quality to browsing quietly through a bookstore. As Gram said, there’s a feel and a smell to real books. It puts you in a zone that provides relief from hectic schedules and worries. I can’t imagine a world without that pleasure.

  3. I love browsing in a bookstore, too. I just don’t see how browsing online can be the same. It’s not an experience like going to a bookstore.

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