In a way, this is actually good news.
I did a drop-in signing at a bookstore yesterday, and went back to the shelves to autograph my backlist titles. All I found there was one lonely paperback copy of “Bloodstream.” Where were all the paperback editions of my Rizzoli & Isles series? Ever since the premiere of “Rizzoli & Isles”, my backlist titles have been selling fast everywhere, but it was still surprising to see almost none of my paperbacks in a major bookstore.
When I asked the bookseller if perhaps my backlist was shelved elsewhere, she checked her computer and said, no, I was searching in the right place. And according to the computer, the store had all my backlist titles in stock. She walked back to the section with me and frowned when she saw there really weren’t any of my books there. She checked other areas of the store, and couldn’t find them. Then she sighed and said, “Someone must be a real fan. Because it looks like they’ve stolen all your paperbacks.” She mentioned that a customer had been in the store earlier that day asking for my paperbacks, and had walked out disappointed because she hadn’t been able to find any. But only when I specifically asked the bookseller to check her computer did she realize the books were missing from their shelves. Now she’s reordering my books. But it makes me wonder how many other stores mistakenly think they have plenty of my books on hand when those books have been swiped from the shelves.
On the one hand, it’s too bad that stores don’t have any of my books to sell customers. On the other hand, it’s sort of … flattering that my books are considered worthy of stealing.
Authors, have you run across this problem with your books? And booksellers, how often do you encounter this issue?
One amusing little factoid: the #1 most-stolen title is the Bible.