When I started Clarkesworld Books, I always had in my mind that someday there would be an actual storefront. The cost of rent and medical insurance have always been the two big major obstacles, but I keep dreaming about it.
I live in a small town in Northern NJ. There aren’t any good genre bookstores left in this region of the country. They’ve all been driven out by increasing rent and the combined efforts of Borders and B&N. I think our town is in a good location. We have a rail line to the city and are only 10-15 minutes from several major highways. I’ve had my eye on several stores over the years and even the old library.
As I play with the numbers, I suspect that my imaginary store would need the additional income from an online presence to make ends meet, particularly in the early years. As it stands, Clarkesworld (online) is still too small to contribute enough to make this work, so I need to do something about it.
What gets you to go to the bookstore that you frequent the most? Do you care about reviews, interviews, excerpts and such? Is it strictly price? What causes you to break your routine shopping pattern and look somewhere new? I have my own ideas, but I’d love to hear what works for you.
Yes, I’m working on a plan to speed up my progress towards my goal. Suggestions welcome.