Monday, January 14, 2008

Cult Fiction


I mentioned Cult Fiction last week in a post, and I wonder what the concensus is?
In the past I've been fairly positive about the idea of a cult fiction section. It was a chance to perhaps highlight stuff that would otherwise be left on the shelf, to coin a phrase. I remember Richard Brautigan and Charles Bukowski amongst others jostling for space in the section. It works well in a shop with a large fiction section.

But is it necessary in The Big Green whotsit though. If we were stocking shelves of Wilbur Smith, Patrick O'Brien, Bernard Cornwell etc, it would make sense to separate (or highlight) titles that we consider cult. The thing is, we're only little, despite the name, and it might be one subsection too far.

What constitutes nowadays as cult fiction. Anything that isn't on Richard and Judy? Anything that hasn't been 3 for 2d at the local biggie? The moment anything seems to be taking off, the reaction of the chains is to stick it in a promotion. Does this mean it's no longer a cult title, by it's very definition.
If that's the case, then The Dice man, One flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Post Office, Siddhartha, On the Road and many more can no longer be considered cult titles. But they are to many people.

I don't know, do you?


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's very subjective...and even Richard and Judy are selecting what may turn out to be future "cult" classics with the likes of Joshua Ferris and David Mitchell. You probably haven't got room- how many fiction shelves are you having anyway ? Maybe just a shelf or two of what the Big Green duo really dig man would be just as effective.

Steerforth said...

I agree - don't bother, but use the Staff Rec shelves. If you have a separate section then you've got to double-up on titles in Fiction.

Anonymous said...

Surely its a way of highlighting books that continue to sell - and probably to a certain market. I'm guessing Dice Man, Papillon The wasp Factory buyers have something in common - the people buying them now are of student age. Students have to buy books collecting the "cool" stuff together wins you more of their money and off promotion the margins might be healthy. No experience of this type of retailing but the category will exist for a commercial reason.
Whether you have one or not will depend on whether your customers need that lead into modern fiction thats still in print or whether there is a different grouping that will appeal to your customer base more (= generate more sales per meter) and therefore deserves highlighting.
Wishing you all the success - retail is detail as the cliche goes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, don't follow the herd with all this 'cult fiction' business. Blaze a trail with what you like and forget the predictable, cliched line-up that others go for.
Call it something else as well.

good luck whatever you decide to do.