Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Would you pay $5-$10 for author events at bookstores?

GalleyCat reported yesterday that starting in May, Boulder Book Store will begin charging fees for author events and attendees can expect to pay $5 to $10 for admission. At the same time, each ticket will be accompanied by a $5 coupon towards the cost of the book or any purchase the day of the event.

Why? "Owner David Bolduc emailed customers to explain: “Publishers place certain expectations on us when we host events, and so in order to continually attract authors, we must fulfill these expectations. Oftentimes, in return for sending an author to a bookstore, publishers expect us to attract a certain number of people and sell a certain number of books.”"

I tried to understand the logic behind this decision and frankly I don't get it. I can see why a coupon provided to customers attending these events can generate more sales, but I wonder how charging people $5-$10 for an event they were used to attend for no charge would get more people to these events.

My feeling is that if the event is hosting a popular author people would be more willing to pay a fee for the event, but in most cases they won't and the result would be that these events will have less attendance and will generate less sales.

Author events are one of the great added values bookstores provide to their customers. At the same time it makes sense that bookstores would like to make the most out of these events and use them to increase both traffic and sales in the store. Unfortunately I don't think charging for these events is the most effective way to reach these goals.

Wouldn't it make more sense to give a $5 coupon to people who attend these authors events, which can be used within one week only at the store?

What do you think? Would you pay $5-$10 for author events? Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with us.

You can find more resources on the future of bookstores on our website at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!


LuAnn said...

It would have to be a pretty well-known author before I'd pay, especially if other venues have authors for free.

graypeape said...

the coupon makes sense, the fee doesn't. yes, publishers have certain expectations, but how does charging people admission make them want to come? that doesn't add up in my head.....