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Monday, February 02, 2009
Farewell to the Spinracks
Last October I had the opportunity to interview Tom Doherty for my newspaper, and I wrote a story about the Tor.com web site for the Sunday Entertainment page of my newspaper.
The interview was wide-ranging enough that I've been able to extract a second story, which I've offered to the SFWA Bulletin. In that story, I focused more on the particulars of the publishing business.
I learned a lot from Doherty about the recent history of the publishing business - all the more interesting to me since I never really paid any attention to it. I only started to write fiction in 2002.
One thing that stuck with me is how much more centralized book distribution has become - to the detriment of diversity and distribution. Doherty said those old "spin racks" which we used to see in retail stores and pharmacies were often a point of entry for people to the s-f and fantasy genres.
They've almost completely disappeared - the only place I see them anymore are Family Dollar and Dollar General Stores.
I was thinking of that this weekend as I pulled some books out of a box in storage and I found my mass market paperback copy of Diane Wynne-Jones "Tough Guide to Fantasyland".
I bought this book out of a spin rack at the ONLY grocery store in Ovilla, Texas, ten years ago. My newspaper had a small edition just for the city (which back then had barely 3,000 people) and I brought the papers to the store myself.
I happened to see the book in the rack and bought it. By the way, if you've never read it, it's VERY funny, tongue and cheek.
I see from the printing history that the first paperback edition was dated Dec. 1998, so it must be almost exactly ten years since I bought it. It shows that even ten years ago, these racks were still around.
Today, they're almost completely extinct.
Posted by Lou Antonelli at 8:42 PM
Lou Antonelli fiction archived online
- "Double Exposure" - Daily Science Fiction
- "Great White Ship" - Daily Science Fiction
- "The Centurion and the Rainman" - Buzzy Mag
- "The Goddess of Bleecker Street" - Kalkion
- "Irredenta" - World SF Blog
- "Ghost Writer" - Flashes in the Dark
- "Avatar" - Darker Matter
- "Black Hats and Blackberrys" Bewildering Stories
- "Pen Pal" - Revolution SF
- "I Got You" - Bewildering Stories
- "Big Girl" - Ultraverse
- "S.P.P.A.M." - Bewildering Stories
- "Silence is Golden" - Revolution SF
- "Fermi's Fraternity" - Planetary Stories
- "The Rocket-Powered Cat" - Revolution SF
- "Video Killed the Radio Star" - Apehelion
- "Silvern" - Revolution SF
- "Texas & Other Planets" - Missions Unknown
- "Texas & Other Planets" - Jayme Blaschke's Gibberish
- "Texas & Other Planets" - Amazon
- "Dispatches from The Troubles" - SF Revu
- "Dispatches from The Troubles" - SF Site
- "Fantastic Texas" - Serial Distractions
- "Fantastic Texas" - Tangent Online
- "Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal Telegraph" - Tangent online
- "The Witch of Waxahachie' - April 2008 - SF Signal
- "The Witch of Waxahachie" - April 2008 - Spiral Galaxy
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