Bookstores, struggling to make ends meet, are beginning to charge for author events. The New York Times says, “The Boulder Book Store in Colorado caused a stir in April when it announced it would charge $5 a person to attend store events. In April, Kepler’sBooks, an independent in Menlo Park, Calif., began charging customers a $10 gift card, which admits two people to each author appearance. (They also have the option of buying the book in exchange for admission.)....Bookstore owners say they are doing so because too many people regularly come to events having already bought a book online or planning to do so later. Consumers now see the bookstore merely as another library — a place to browse, do informal research and pick up staff recommendations.”
Here in Portland, Powells will have big-name authors such as Charlaine Harris come speak at a special venue, like a theatre, and charge the prices of the book as admission.
I don’t really think this is such a bad idea. As a speaker, I know I get treated much better when I charge than when I speak for free. Right now, bookstore events don’t feel particularly special. Having to pay a little bit to see an author might make it feel like more of an event. Read more here.