Of Fall, Pumpkins, and Books

Yesterday morning, after school drop off, my husband invited me for breakfast. I’m always grateful since the sales of my book would barely pay for a monthly Grande latte. It was also a gorgeous California fall day. Autumn is my favorite season, but here in the Sierras we too often pass from summer to winter without transition. So between a breakfast invitation and a sunny fall morning, life was good.

As we drove to the café, we passed a pumpkin patch still under construction but promising to be the neighborhood attraction. Tall cornhusks bordered the lot, bales of hay were delivered, a corral for ponies and miniature horses had been set in the center, and pumpkins showed their fat bellies in the beds of trucks.

“Remember when people used to buy a single pumpkin for Halloween?” my husband asked.

“I do,” I said.

Sometimes when we recall our early days in the States I feel like we are combat veterans recounting their battles.

“Remember the Half Moon Bay pumpkin patch?” my husband went on.

“It was fun,” I agreed.

I had instantly loved the childish way American celebrated Halloween.

“And the bookstores in Palo Alto?”

I remembered them vividly too. But why was my husband talking about pumpkins and bookstores? I glanced at him, a little worried. We were both in need of coffee.

“Gone,” my husband said with a quick hand gesture. “Now people would rather buy Halloween elaborate costumes and decorations than books.”

Support to writers and their sales is rare, you know. So I appreciated that he picked my side.

We drove in silence, lost in common memories. It was a fact that this pumpkin patch promised to be much larger than our local children’s bookstore and sadly more visited, too.

Bookstores blame Amazon for their slow sales. Editors blame Amazon for making publication accessible to anyone willing to publish and for allowing customers to write reviews and rank books, therefore changing the traditional publishing landscape.

But are bookstores, editors, and Amazon to blame for the way people choose to spend their money?

Apple has sold nine million new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models, just three days after the launch on September 20. Depending of the model the cost of a phone ranges from $200 to $400. Selling only one would make many writers feel rich.

Grand Theft Auto V, launched last week at an average of $60 apiece, has already scooped up more than a billion dollars for the developer and publisher. Trying to count how many copies have been sold makes me dizzy.

The point is: people have money for smart phones and video games. Not for books.

Years ago I was mad at one of my children’s friend’s mom who flatly admitted copying movies and whole chapters from books iHPIM3639nstead of purchasing them.

Now days, free content is simply expected.

That’s why I blog but will always buy books.

And of course I will get one pumpkin for Halloween.

Make it Grande.

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