Since I lost my main client, my schedule during the day is a little more free. I'm still spending the vast majority of my time trying to track down new clients, but every once in a while I'll take advantage of not being tied to my desk.
Yesterday, I went out for a haircut, and then popped into my local Barnes & Noble in Old Town Pasadena, which is now my closest big chain bookstore since my local Border's closed. Anyway, I wandered over to the game section, which was packed with 8,343 4th Edition books (I think the new Ultimate Player's Strategy Guide to the ShadowDreamHorrorFiendFellRealm II just came out), one copy each of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and the Pathfinder Bestiary, and one copy of Rogue Trader. Next I checked out the comics section, which was dominated by Manga and a bunch of young teenage Asian girls all sitting in complete silence reading. When I rounded the corner into the section, they all looked up at me in unison, and then slowly let their eyes drift back down to their little black-and-white comics. It was... creepy. Like some kind of weird Children of the Corn sequel.
So, I high-tailed it over to the Science Fiction section (which, of course, also includes Fantasy) and I thought I'd look over the "New Releases." What I was struck by was the utter lack of diversification. There were just tons of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K novels - I counted at least eight different titles, each of which took up multiple spaces on the shelves. There were also a bunch of books by C.J. Cherryh, a few Star Wars and Star Trek novels, a posthumous Wheel of Time book by Robert Jordan and what's-his-name, and also the entirety of the "Game of Thrones" books - I guess they count at "new releases" since the show is now so popular on HBO. Basically - if there was a new book as part of a long on-going series (so, really, any new fantasy/science-fiction book, it seems), then they used the "New Releases" section to showcase every book in the series. Way up on the top shelf, I saw a lone Pathfinder Tales book.
I know that the fantasy book world has been going this way for some time now, but it was just interesting to see it all in miniature - just book after book that is part of long ongoing series after ongoing series, and nothing really "original."
Oh, they did also have a copy of a new edition of John Carter of Mars which was kind of cool. I hope it introduces somebody new to that genre of fiction.
Anyway, I didn't really have much of a point to this particular post - more just a random observation. What have you all noticed at your local bookstore regarding their fantasy and science fiction section? I have a feeling they're pretty much all the same.
I should also offer full disclosure - despite my complaint about every fantasy book being part of a long ongoing series, I am currently reading the first book in the Black Company series.