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Archived Newsletter Content


Newsletter #100 December, 2012 February, 2013

32nd Anniversary Sale

        December 1 marks Uncle Edgar’s 32nd anniversary. Come into Uncle Edgar’s or Uncle Hugo’s and save 10% off everything except discount cards, gift certificates, or merchandise that is already marked 40% off. (All the jigsaw puzzles and most of the games are already 40% off.) A discount card will save you even more–you’ll get both 10% savings from the discount card and 10% off from the sale. (Sale prices apply to in-store purchases, but not to mail orders.) The 32nd Anniversary Sale runs Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 9–giving you two weekends to take advantage of the sale.
        We will also be having our annual inventory reduction sale December 26-31, but that will feature deep discounts on things we really, really want to get rid of. It will not be a store-wide sale like the 32nd Anniversary Sale.

Award News

        The Hugo Award for Best Novel went to Among Others by Jo Walton ($14.99).

        Many mystery awards were announced at Bouchercon:
        The Anthony Awards included Best Novel to A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny ($14.99), Best First Novel to Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry ($15.00), Best Paperback Original to Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy ($7.99), and Best Non-Fiction to The Sookie Stackhouse Companion edited by Charlaine Harris ($18.00).
        The Barry Awards included Best Novel to The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen ($16.00), Best First Novel to The Informationist by Taylor Stevens ($14.00), Best British to Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James ($14.99), Best Paperback Original to Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley ($14.99), and Best Thriller to The Informant by Thomas Perry ($14.95).
        The Shamus Awards included Best Hardcover P.I. Novel to A Bad Night’s Sleep by Michael Wiley ($24.99), Best First P.I. Novel to The Shortcut Man by P. G. Sturges ($15.00), and Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel to Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski ($14.99).
        The Macavity Awards included Best Mystery Novel to Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran ($13.95), Best First Mystery Novel to All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen ($29.00), Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction to The Sookie Stackhouse Companion edited by Charlaine Harris ($18.00), and Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award to Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson ($14.99).

Holiday Gift Ideas

        Our single most popular gift option continues to be our gift certificate. We can issue one for any amount. It can be used at either or both Uncles. It can even be used for mail orders, and it can be purchased over the phone (if you have a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover Card) and we can mail it either to the purchaser or to the recipient, or we can just enter the balance on a credit file here at the store to avoid the risk of the gift certificate being lost.
        Calendars are another popular gift item. The standard wall calendars include Art of Dreams (art of Daniel Merriam, $14.99), Brian Froud’s World of Faerie ($14.99), Buffy the Vampire Slayer ($13.99), Cattitude is Everything (Garfield, $13.99), Cinema Noir ($13.95), Cult Attack (mainly old movie posters, $13.95), Dexter (stills from the tv show, $13.99), Dilbert ($13.99), Dragons (art by Ciruelo, $14.99), Edward Gorey ($13.99), Fractal Creation ($13.95), Get Fuzzy ($13.99), Game of Thrones (stills from the HBO series, $13.99), George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (paintings by Marc Simonetti, $17.00), Mass Effect 3 (art from the video game, $14.99), Master of Illusion (art by Rob Gonsalves, $14.99), The Princess Bride (stills from the movie, $13.99), Pulp Attack (pulp-style covers of “dangerous dames”, $13.95), The Simpsons ($15.99), A Star Is Born (space photography, $13.95), Starcraft (video game art, $14.99), Star Trek Ships of the Line ($14.99), Supernatural (stills from the tv show, $13.99), Tintin (Herge’s original artwork, not the movie, $13.99), Tolkien: The Hobbit (art by John Howe & Alan Lee, not the movie, $14.99), True Blood (stills from the tv series, $13.99), World of WarCraft (art from the game, $14.99), Worlds of Fiction (some pulpy covers, some international movie posters, $13.95), and You Might Be A Redneck If... ($13.99; we ordered Robots, we got billed for Robots, but somebody in the warehouse threw this into the box instead and we’re stuck with it, and we still haven’t been able to get them to send us Robots). The page-a-day style calendars we’re received are Close to Home ($14.99), Dilbert ($14.99), Garfield ($14.99), Get Fuzzy ($14.99), and The Simpsons ($15.99). The only desktop calendar we’ve received is Dilbert ($13.99), and the only mini-wall calendar we’ve received is The Gashlycrumb Tinies (Edward Gorey, $7.99). We’ve already sold out of a couple of designs (not listed) and we’re already down to our last copy of some of the calendars listed.
        Another very popular gift idea is signed books. We don’t have space in this newsletter to list all the signed titles, so go to our website, click Browse Our New Books, scroll about half-way down the next (long) page and click Signed Books (for either Edgar’s or Hugo’s or All).

How’s Business
by Don Blyly

        Let me start by talking about parking meters. Several years ago Minneapolis started replacing the old style parking meters (where you stick a quarter into the meter you parked next to) in downtown with this new parking system. You park next to a sign with a number on it, and then you have to look around to find where the control box is located (usually around the middle of the block). You then have to walk to the control box and enter the 5-digit number on the sign you parked next to and feed the control box some money or a credit card. (In downtown, a quarter only bought 6 minutes, so being able to pay with a credit card is very useful for those who don’t normally walk around with many dollars in quarters in their pockets.) The city found that they made a lot more money on the new parking system than they did with the old parking meters, primarily for two reasons. First, with the old meters, somebody might pay for an hour and leave after half an hour, and then somebody else would pull in, see half an hour still on the meter and get free parking for that half hour, while with the new system it’s impossible to tell if there is still time on your space, so everybody pumps money into the control box. Second, if people can use a credit card they will often buy more time than if they are limited to the number of quarters they happen to have in their pocket. So, they started switching to the new parking system in other areas of the city.
        Our area merchant association held a joint meeting with the Lyndale-Lake merchant association about 6 months ago to discuss common problems and the solutions each group had come up with, and one of the topics was the new parking system. The new parking system had been installed in the Lyndale-Lake area about a year before, and everybody hated it. The city had increased the cost of parking and the hours of operation in the Lyndale-Lake area, so it was more expensive to park there while shopping. The new system was confusing to people who hadn’t already used the system downtown, and the signage was very poor. Lots of customers tried to stop to shop, couldn’t figure out the system, and just drove away. And the merchants wondered how well the system would survive a heavy-snow winter and the snow plows.
        About 4 months ago, I saw that the city was planning to replace all the old parking meters in the entire city with the new parking system by the end of the fall. About 2 months ago, the city took away most of our parking meters and put in the new parking system. Again, the signage is not good, so we have lots of people come into the store and ask what they are supposed to do with the new system. Fortunately, the city did not increase the price or extend the hours in our area. Also, fortunately, you don’t have to walk half a block to get to the control box–it’s locate between the KFC parking lot and the Dental Clinic parking lot. (Some of our older or disabled customers still dislike having to walk so far instead of being able to just plug the meter at the spot where they park.) The control box (powered by solar power) takes quarters, dollar coins, and charge cards, and prints out a receipt with your parking space number and the time your “meter” will expire (very handy). However, you have to be sure that you enter your 5-digit number correctly, or you’ll be paying for somebody else’s space and might end up with a ticket.
        What’s really strange is that the city did not replace the 4 parking meters directly across the street from us with the new system. At first, they left the 4 old meters in place (although they removed all the other meters on that side of the street the same day they removed the old meters from our side of the street), and later they replaced the old meters with new meters that work just like the old meters, but they also have solar panels to power either a red or a green blinking LED to make it easy for a meter monitor to tell if the meter has expired, and they accept credit cards as well as quarters and dollar coins.
        We’ve been promoting the Liaden Universe books of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller since the 1980s, and we do very well with signed books by them. On August 28 we received a shipment of 500 signed copies of Dragon Ship by Lee & Miller and 120 signed copies of Monster Hunter #4: Legion by Larry Correia. As I was taking the cases of books off the truck, I immediately noticed that 3 cases of Dragon Ship had been punctured by forklift tines. Amazingly, only 2 books were damaged by the three punctures. I started filling mail orders for both titles, and all the copies of Monster Hunter #4: Legion were in good condition. But I quickly found that 2 of the 25 cases of Dragon Ship had the wrong dust jacket. Baen Books had decided to use different ISBNs and different prices ($1.00 difference) between the signed copies and the unsigned copies, and the bindery had shipped me some signed books with the dust jackets for the unsigned version. (There were also 3 copies of Dragon Ship that arrived with dust jackets where 3 different jackets from 3 different publishers were printed on the same piece of paper–very colorful, but very difficult to read.) I let Baen Books know about the problems with the shipment, but kept on filling orders with the copies with the correct jackets. I was filling and shipping 40 to 50 orders per day, and had shipped about 260 copies of Dragon Ship before I found another case with the wrong jackets. And the next case also had the wrong jackets. And so did the next case. I opened up all the cases and found that 200 of the 500 copies of Dragon Ship had been shipped with the wrong jackets. That was about a 6.5 foot tall pile of boxes of books with the wrong jacket. Baen Books and I exchanged a number of e-mails on how to deal with this mess, and they ended up sending me hundreds of little blue round stickers about the size of a quarter to cover over the wrong price on the inside of the jacket with the correct price and ISBN. Obviously, the problem was not the fault of the authors, or Baen Books, or Uncle Hugo’s, but was entirely the fault of the bindery, and all but one of my customers were very understanding. We still have some signed copies left of Dragon Ship, and you can choose between a copy with a little blue sticker or a copy without the little blue sticker.
        More publishers are cutting back on the number of titles coming out in mass market paperbacks and instead doing trade paperbacks of their titles. At the regional booksellers convention, I pointed out to one salesman that the sales volume for his company’s books had gone down significantly since they stop putting out mass market paperbacks for most of their titles. He responded that if the customers at my bookstore still wanted to buy mass market paperbacks, my bookstore must be the only bookstore in the country where that was true.
        As usual, lots of stuff had to be cut from the paper version of the newsletter. The full list of titles with full descriptions, plus more book reviews, are available at our website.

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