Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for the 'Bookselling' Category

30 years ago: working at Bakka

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Pictured: Dune author Frank Herbert and Bakka owner John Rose, outside of Bakka’s old 282 Queen Street West location in Toronto, where Robert J. Sawyer worked in 1982; Bakka was named for “the weeper who mourns for all mankind” from Dune. Photo by Tom Robe from 1981. Just about exactly thirty years ago, I started [...]

Not even close, guys

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Often, Amazon’s recommendations are reasonably useful, but this one isn’t even close. Come on, guys! If the recommendation feature decays into nothing but noise, it’s self-defeating. I’m sure someone said, “Hey, if we make the recommendations more general, we’ll sell more books.” Nope; if I get a few more like this, I’ll just turn on [...]

It only took a decade, but …

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Back in June 1998, I met with the then-manager of author relations for Amazon.com at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. It was an opportunity to tell her what was wrong with Amazon.com’s online book-review system (in my humble opinion), which had been thrust into the marketplace without any consultation with writers’ groups. I outlined numerous difficulties [...]

FlashForward bookstore display stands

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Woohoo! In cooperation with ABC, Tor Books in the United States has produced terrific floor-display stands (sometimes called “dumps”) for the new mass-market edition of my novel FlashForward, which is the basis of the TV series premiering two weeks from today. Here are a couple of shots of the stand in a Barnes and Noble [...]

The Banff Book & Art Den closes

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I’ve often taught science-fiction writing in week-long courses at the Banff Centre in the ski-resort town of Banff, Alberta. I’m sure my students remember The Banff Book & Art Den — the one bookstore in Banff — as fondly as I do. Quill & Quire is reporting that the store closed its doors for good [...]

Calgary McNally Robinson closing

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

The great downtown Calgary bookstore McNally Robinson, on the open-air mall Stephen Avenue Walk, is closing on August 1, 2008. Calgary’s economy is booming — wages are high, rents are higher — and a small-margins business like bookselling can’t make a go of it in such a prime downtown location. I’m really sad about this. [...]