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Archived Newsletter Content


Newsletter #107 September November, 2014

Award News

        The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature went to The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker ($15.99); the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature went to Doll Bones by Holly Black ($16.99).
        The Locus Award winners included Best SF Novel to Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey ($17.00), Best Fantasy Novel to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman ($25.99 hc or $14.99 tr pb), Best First Novel to Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie ($16.00), Best Young Adult Book to The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente ($16.99), Best Anthology to Old Mars edited by Georgee R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois ($28.00), Best Collection to The Best of Connie Willis ($18.00), Best Non-Fiction Book to Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer ($24.95) and Best Art Book to Spectrum 20 edited by Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner ($35.00).

How’s Business
by Don Blyly

        I’ve seen some statistics recently about the book business for 2013. In England, the unit sales of books for 2013 was down about 4% compared to 2012. I’m not surprised by this, given how many bookstores have gone out of business in England in the last couple of years, making it harder for people to shop locally for books. In the U.S., the number of new titles published by regular publishers went down by about 1%, but the number of print-on-demand titles plummeted. The number of titles that went into the public domain in 2012 was very high, while the number of titles that went into the public domain in 2013 was much lower, which played a major role in the big swing in print-on-demand numbers. The percentage of the U.S. book market that has gone to e-books seems to be stuck around the same as for last year, but is still growing overseas (where e-readers became available years later than in the U.S., and where it is often more difficult to get print versions of books in a timely manner and at a reasonable price).
        In the U.S. for the first half of 2014, bookstore sales were down 7.9% compared to same period the year before. For all of retail, there was a 3.6% increase in sales for the first half of 2014.
        There’s been a lot of news coverage about what Amazon has been pulling to try to squeeze more favorable terms out of Hachette Book Group: refusing to accept advance orders for Hachette books, delaying shipment of Hachette books for weeks, suggesting on some Hachette authors’ pages that readers might prefer to read books by non-Hachette authors instead, etc. Amazon has just recently started to claim that they are doing this because they want to force Hachette to rewrite the contracts with their authors to give more royalties to the authors–but nobody seems to be stupid enough to believe that. Recently a couple of regular customers came in and told me that they were so angry at what Amazon was doing that they wanted me to recommend a bunch of Hachette Books for them to buy, to help out both Uncle Hugo’s and Hachette. I’m used to recommending by author or category, rather than by publisher, but I came up with some suggestions. My recommendations included James S. A. Corey’s series that begins with Leviathan Wakes, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, Kate Elliot’s series that begins with Cold Magic, N.K. Jemisin’s series that begins with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Karen Miller’s series that begins with The Innocent Mage, Brent Weeks’ series that begins with The Way of Shadows, and Brian McClellan’s trilogy that begins with Promise of Blood, plus a few others that they were not interested in. They took most of my recommendations and left with a couple of bags of very good books.
        We recently had a customer comment about how nice it was to be in a neighborhood with stores that had been around almost forever, such as Uncle Hugo’s. I pointed out that Uncle Hugo’s is only 40 years old and has only been in this location for 30 years, which is a short time compared to some of the stores that have been open for a really long time. I pointed out that Roberts Shoes has been around for over 75 years, Ingebretsen’s (Scandinavian gifts and meat market) has been around for 90 years, and Shatzlein Saddle Shop has been around for over 100 years, but I agreed that it was nice to be in a neighborhood with stores that had been around for so long. On August 2 I was surprised to receive a postcard at home announcing that Roberts Shoes was having a Going Out of Business Sale after 77 years (during which they sold over 2 million pairs of shoes and boots) at the corner of Chicago and Lake. I had just bought a new pair of shoes at Roberts a few days before, and the owner didn’t say anything about going out of business. I guess I’ll have to pick up a new pair of winter boots before they run out of my size. I have no idea what will be going into the space next, but it’s hard to believe that they will be as good a neighbor as Roberts Shoes has been.
        A couple of months ago we sold out of the Uncle Hugo’s/Uncle Edgar’s book bags, and we were low or out of several sizes of t-shirts, so I tried to contact the screen printer we’ve been using for about 30 years. I eventually found out that they had gone out of business a few months earlier. I got a recommendation for another screen printer, but when I contacted them I was told that the owners were approaching the age of 70, and they didn’t want to take on any more business. I contacted a third screen printer who had been recommended to me, and he was happy to accept our business. However, our old screen printer had allowed us to combine t-shirts, sweatshirts, and book bags to reach a large enough order to get a decent discount; the new screen printer allowed us to combine t-shirts and sweatshirts to make one order, but insisted that book bags had to be a separate minimum order because they required different equipment. His first suggestion for size and price for book bags would have resulted in a huge jump in the price we would have to charge for book bags. He later came up with another, more reasonably priced, book bag suggestion, and said he would explore some other options for book bags after he finished the t-shirt and sweatshirt order. We have now gotten restocked with t-shirts (sizes adult small through XXL) and sweatshirts (sizes L through XXL). The t-shirts are in ash (gray), azalea (light pink), black, cyber pink (dark pink), gold, kelly green, Pacific blue (close to turquoise), purple, red, retro heather coral (light orange), and royal blue (dark blue), and the price through XL is $14 and for XXL the price is $17. The sweatshirts are in ash, forest green, red, and royal blue, and the price is $24 for L or XL and $30 for XXL. Our shopping basket is not set up to easily order t-shirts or sweatshirts for mail orders–just e-mail what you are interested in and I’ll e-mail back what we have left and how to order it. Some of the shirts have Uncle Hugo’s logo on the front and Uncle Edgar’s logo on the back, and other shirts have Uncle Edgar’s logo on the front and Uncle Hugo’s logo on the back. We hope to get restocked with book bags before the holiday season.
        Hennepin County has been running a “Choose to Reuse” promotion for several years, and we’ve participated in their fall coupon book for several years. The new coupon book became effective August 1, and the coupon for Uncle Hugo’s/Uncle Edgar’s gives you a 20% discount on used books and used magazines (and used audio books, although the coupon doesn’t mention them). The coupon does not combine with the discount card, and is only valid for in-store purchases, not for mail orders. The coupon book also contains coupons for several other used book stores, several used record stores, several equipment rental places, lots of used clothing (both kids and adult) outlets, etc. The coupon books are available at all Hennepin County libraries and lots of other Hennepin County offices. In the past, they’ve also mailed out a lot of coupon books to Hennepin County home addresses, but I haven’t seen one in my mail yet. They also sent us 200 copies of the coupon book, so we have a display of them near the front door.

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