Okay, this spoof issue of Shelf Awareness is funny right at the place where funny and painfully true collide.
There's an extended fake article about new plans for BEA, including:
"* The New Swindle: A Virtual Handheld Bookstore. Hear about this new Amazon product. Press a button on the device and a virtual bookstore with cats, cappuccino and artificial intelligence booksellers appears all around you. In 30 seconds, a droid will be handselling an e-book, BBQ grill, shampoos and telling you to have a nice day seconds before you logout. CEO Jeff Bezos giggled, "We've often heard from customers that they miss the 'real' interaction of going to their local bookstores, so we've created the Swindle just for them. No more worries about parking, walking or unnecessary human interaction. Version one is already out of stock, and version two will have slightly less creepy-sounding voices. For version three, we're developing a mask you wear with it, in which a virtual bookstore smell that we've patented is puffed into our customers nostrils."
* Down 60% Is the New Up: Bookselling in Modern Times. Three booksellers from across the country will discuss what it's like selling in a depression. Meet rain or shine at the soup kitchen on the corner of Twelfth Avenue and 28th Street."
And there's a hoax article about an intrepid bookseller who has figured out how to prosper: "Craig Wilkins of Best of All Possible Bookshops has an intriguing new concept for increasing sales at the retail level--smashmouth, trash-talking, in-your-face handselling.
Wilkins said he realized last summer, as the economy began to slide, that his problem as a bookseller was "the damned readers. They weren't listening to me and even when they came to the bookshop, they often slipped out with no purchase."
Instead of the traditional, cooperative, conversational, low-impact approach to bookselling, he began taking the fight directly to his opposition. "Essentially, I make them eat their words," Wilkins said. "We don't let them out of the bookstore until they've bought books."
And if his customers think they can avoid all this by simply not coming to the shop, Wilkins has a little news flash for them. "I know where they live and I have a van," he said, touting the advantages of an up-to-date mailing list. "We go to their houses just like Amazon does and make them buy books, but with the added incentive of actually being there in person so they have to look us in the eye to say no rather than simply moving a cursor over to a toolbar and switching to the Desperate Housewives website."
To read more of the spoof issue, click here