Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SF News: Is the Mid-List Really Shrinking?

For years many people have argued that the genre sections of book stores have been shrinking and the 'mid-list' selection, the level of writers that includes most non-bestselling authors, has been decreasing.  The question, is this really true, or are we seeing a simple reaction of greater diversity penetrating the genre section?  Also, how do we prove this one way or the other?

First, the problem that we really have to get over is that the internet allows us access to organizations like Bookview Cafe, Kobe, and Amazon.com.  Even if the shelf space at book stores is shrinking, the fact that there are literally hundreds of books available for devices like iPads, Kindles, and even smart phones that are simply not on the shelves.  More and more of the mid-list seems to be available in these formats, the simple statement

In addition to this, we have an amazing diaspora of genre titles across traditionally opaque lines.  Science Fiction novels are turning up in Mystery, Literature, and Romance sections, and the reverse is also true.  Many mid-list authors, like Barbara Hambly, Jackie Kessler, and S.L. Viehl, are turning up in different sections of the bookstores, and, even though their works are very obviously SF, Horror, or Fantasy, their shelf placement belies their content.

So the question remains, is the mid-list shrinking, or only our perception of it?

This week in the SFSNNJ:
Monday: Suspense Central discusses Replay by Ken Grimwood
Wednesday: Drawing A Crowd discusses Time Travel and Comics
Saturday: Call of Cthulu!
For event details check out http://www.sfsnnj.com

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