Due to the glorified cupboard space that will be my bookshop, it’s going to be necessary to be quite selective in terms of what titles & genres I serve up to my customers. This isn’t an easy process, as excluding certain authors, subjects and series will mean losing out on potential income.
But, for me, owning a bookstore means maintaininga certain level of literary integrity; it’s about introducing readers to worthwhile books &, at times, challenging their preconceptions of what makes good reading. It is with this world view that I have approached the task of making a list of books that will never be welcomed in my shop.
- Twilight. Stepahnie Meyer is, at best, an author of mediocre talent. This is true of many Fantasy writers, of course, but Ms. Meyer has messed around with the vampire mythos — this is unforgivable. Vampires are creatures with class, style and more than a hint of sexuality. The vamps in Twilight have had all the fun sucked out of them, leaving readers with nothing but pointy-teethed, talking alabaster urns.
- The Bible & Religious Books In general. Now, before anyone goes off on a tangent, my reason for banning the Good Book is a financial one, rather than motivated by a lack of faith. You see, experience has taught me that out of all genres, Religious Books tend to be pilfered the most. Why this occurs, I have no idea. Perhaps people think they’ll be forgiven more easily than others who steal. Whatever their reasons, I’m won’t be providing them with an opportunity to take from my store — that’s going to be a big enough problem without hawking holy goods.
- Any Romance Novels. I’ve perused through a few & come to the conclusion that no serious reader would give them a second glance. What gets me the most is people who say they read all the time, only to find out they’re refering to Romance novels. This is a completely superfluous genre. If you want decent love stories, look to Speculative or just plain old Fiction. The plots are usually better developed, the authors more skilled & the male characters are not cardboard cutouts.
- Self-Help. Books under the ever-expanding Self-Help umbrella, many of them come across as dogmatic — plus, no one person has all the answers to your problems. Buying every single book that Dr. Dwayne Dyer has penned won’t make you a better person, just a slightly poorer one.
Yes, some may think me a snob for even making a list like this, let alone actually enforcing such standards. But in this world where everyone’s an author & book deals seem to be easier to get than a cold, bookshop owners can afford to be a little more discerning. By excercising a little more discretion, book sellers can cultivate a culture of well-read inidivduals who are hungry for well-written books, not the swill that’s currently filling the big box stores.
If any of this comes across as elitist, than so be it. But, I, for one, intend to make a difference in the reading lives of my customers and I can only hope others will do the same.