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Archived Newsletter Content


Newsletter #115 September November, 2016

Award News

        The Locus Awards included Best SF Novel to Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie ($15.99), Best Fantasy Novel to Uprooted by Naomi Novik ($16.00), Best First Novel to The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu ($9.99), and Best Young Adult Book to The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett ($18.99, $9.99 trade pb due in September).
        The nominees for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel are The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ($16.00), The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin ($15.99), Uprooted by Naomi Novik ($16.00), Savages by K. J. Parker, The Chimes by Anna Smaill ($26.99), and A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay ($14.99).
        The 2016 Prometheus Award for Best Novel went to Seveneves by Neal Stephenson ($35.00 signed hc or $17.99 trade pb).
        For decades, the World Science Fiction Convention was the largest science fiction convention, and the Hugo Awards voted on by those with a paid membership to the convention were considered the major awards in the field. But DragonCon now draws about 60,000 people, about 10 times as many as the World Science Fiction Convention. And this year for the first time, DragonCon will be giving the Dragon Awards, and you don’t need a paid membership in the convention to nominate or vote on the awards. They have lots of categories (including 4 different categories for sf/fantasy games), but here are the nominees for the book categories:
        Best Science Fiction Novel: Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwhithering Realm by John C. Wright, Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon ($17.00, $7.99 pb due October), Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie ($15.99), Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller, Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson ($9.99), and The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau ($14.99).
        Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal): The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher ($9.99), Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams ($15.00), Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia ($25.00 signed hc, $8.99 pb due in September), The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin ($15.99), Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer ($10.99), Grave Measures by R. R. Virdi, and Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin.
        Best Young Adult/ Middle Grade Novel: Updraft by Fran Wilde ($25.99, $15.99 trade pb due in September), Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley ($17.99), Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ($18.99), The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett ($18.99, $9.99 trade pb due in September), Calamity by Brandon Sanderson ($18.99), Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer ($10.99), and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell ($19.99).
        Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel: Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy, Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber ($27.99, $9.99 pb due in September), The Price of Valor by Django Wexler ($7.99), Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels, Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson ($27.00), Chains of Command by Marko Kloos ($14.95), and The End of All Things by John Scalzi ($8.99). (Before the Dragon Award existed, John Scalzi indicated that he did not want to be considered for any awards in 2016, and he has requested that his book be removed from the nominees.)
        Best Alternate History Novel: 1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis ($26.00), League of Dragons by Naomi Novik ($28.00), Deadlands; Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry ($15.99), Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove ($9.99), Germanica by Robert Conroy ($25.00, $7.99 pb due in September), and 1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt ($7.99).
        Best Apocalyptic Novel: A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey, Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine, The Desert and the Blade by S. M. Stirling ($27.95, $9.99 pb due in September), Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole, Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann ($15.95), and The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin ($15.99).
        Best Horror Novel: Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay, Chapelwood by Cherie Priest ($16.00), Honor at Stake by Declan Finn, An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel ($13.99), Souldancer by Brian Niemeier, and Alice by Christina Henry ($15.00).

How’s Business?
By Don Blyly

        We are once again participating in the Hennepin County “Choose to Reuse” program. The coupon book has coupons for several used book stores, three used record stores, a bunch of thrift stores, used clothing stores, used electronics stores, used sports equipment stores, used furniture and office equipment stores, a couple of equipment rental places, etc. The deals vary from store to store, but 20% off for used stuff is most common. The coupons are good August 1 through October 31, 2016. We have a display of the coupon books right inside our front door, but they are also being distributed at Hennepin County libraries and some other official Hennepin County buildings. It’s also supposed to be possible to download the coupons with a smart phone, but nobody at the Uncles has a smart enough phone to manage that. The coupons are only good for in-store purchases, not for mail orders.
        As previously announced, on July 1 we increased the minimum price for most used books to $4.00, and it has been much easier to pay our bills since then.
        Sales have been good this summer, partly because of the signed books by Lois McMaster Bujold and Sharon Lee & Steve Miler and partly because of all the business from out-of-town customers visiting the store. Looking over the publishers’ catalogs through the end of the year, I expect sales will continue to be good through the end of the year.
        Sales of printed books continue to increase and sales of e-books continue to go down a little, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Sales of printed books in the U.S. went up in 2015 over the year before for the first time since 2007, and for the first half of 2016 the sales of printed books in bookstore went up 6.1% (measured in dollars, not in units) over the same period in 2015.
        In July, 2015, Barnes & Noble hired a new Chief Executive Officer with no bookstore experience. On August 16, 2016 they announced, “The Board of Directors determined that Mr. Boire was not a good fit for the organization and that it was in the best interests of all parties for him to leave the Company.” I don’t know the details, but I do know that a major factor in Borders going under was that they hired a series of Chief Executive Officers that had no bookstore experience. Each time that they hired somebody who didn’t know the business, they would also commission some outside “experts” to tell the new guy what he should do to save the company. The new guy would then implement the stupid, expensive new plan until he got fired. Then a new guy with no bookstore experience would come in, another expensive study would be commissioned from a new group of “experts”, and the newest stupid, expensive plan would be implemented until the latest guy got fired. Repeat until the business collapses. So, the company would buy a report that said that people bought more books from wooden bookshelves, and then spend millions of dollars tossing out the old bookshelves and replacing them with new wooden bookshelves. The next time, the company would buy a report that said that people would buy more books from metal bookshelves, and then spend millions of dollars tossing out the “old” wooden bookshelves and replace them with new metal bookshelves. Meanwhile, the people who actually worked in the bookstores knew that people would buy more books if the store offered a better selection of books that the customers were interested in buying. But the selection of books kept going down as money was wasted on implementing plans created by people who didn’t understand the book business. Towards the end of Borders’ existence, a salesman for one of the major publishers was in the Uncles and said that Borders had just fired the last person in their headquarters who understood how the book industry works, which had led to his company giving up on Borders ever recovering. So far, Barnes & Noble still has a lot of people who understand the book business, but I still hear complaints from customers about how the book selection at Barnes & Noble keeps going down.

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