Much to discuss in Post-Dallas ranting, it seems, and I’ve had a few moments of putting my feet up to enjoy that rare luxury – blog reading.
*ahhhhhhh* Air conditioning and high speed internet? There’s nothing better!
Most of my feedback about the conference so far that I’ve noted has been directed to the hotel and the manner in which the conference “fit” into the hotel, and what suggestions I’d have for future conference sites. But since this was my first national, I didn’t process and synthesize a lot of what I noticed until I started reading the feedback of experienced conference attendees.
Allison Brennan’s rant on RtB yesterday brought attention to something I’d noticed in the book signings – the mass acquisition of a LOT OF BOOKS.
This is one of the people I saw with a big ol’ cart full of books. Now, if you are this person, and you’re reading all those books, more power to you. I’m using the picture as a sample, since I saw several people with carts, boxes, and suitcases, filling up with books.
I myself took home a suitcase of books, half of which I plan to read and half of which we shall be giving away as bootylicious prizes on this here website. But if I did ask for a book signed as a prize for contests, I always asked the author if that was OK with them.
Brennan’s problem focuses on something I saw a few times – people skipping the line, grabbing two or three copies of a book at a signing, shoving them into their cart, and moving on. Seems these people make no secret of their intention: resell on eBay or in stores. Free books for reselling at entire profit?
Oh, my. Surely Miss Manners has something to say about that.
So here’s a question: what’s the best way to stop them? Marking the books “RWA Only” so anyone with a book marked as such is fingered as a book snatcher? Would a buyer even care?
In the comments to Brennan’s entry, Walt, master of the CuppaCafe, suggested RFID tags for entrants to control access, though that may drive up the cost of admission to the conference on the whole and create a logistical nightmare for everyone involved. Jane rightly pointed out that volunteers are already thrown into the deep end at times (I volunteered Saturday morning and had someone with me at the workshop booth who knew the answers – thank heaven because I knew none of them) and serving as tech police as to who gets in and who doesn’t would be far, far less than fun.
But even then, the folks I saw loading up the luggage looked like they were conference attendees, and I saw them every day, at every signing – taking one book or more than one without waiting in line to get them signed. So you can’t block attendees from attending, or even getting multiple copies – again, if the line was short and I wasn’t going to be robbing someone else of their copy, I’d ask for more than one for giveaways or for a friend.
So what’s the solution? Aside from tripping them and running off with their crate on wheels? I know a lot of Bitchery readers are professionals in other fields, and I know I’ve been to tech conferences back in the day where my access was controlled. Hell, try getting into the Democratic National Convention. I practically needed to give them a molar, and I was an intern with a fully-functional, holographed, laser-readable, and watermarked press pass, and that was over ten years ago. What options do you see as viable for discouraging the thievery of books from author tables?