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Archived Newsletter Content


Newsletter #89 March May, 2010

36th Anniversary Sale

        Uncle Hugo’s is the oldest surviving science fiction bookstore in the United States. We opened for business on March 2, 1974. To encourage you to help us celebrate Uncle Hugo’s 36th Anniversary, we’re having a sale. Come into either Uncle Hugo’s or Uncle Edgar’s and get an extra 10% off everything except gift certificates. A discount card will save you even more–you’ll get both the 10% savings from the sale and the 10% savings from the discount card. (Sale prices apply to in-store sales, but not to mail orders.)
        The 36th Anniversary Sale lasts Friday, February 26 through Sunday, March 7. This gives you two weekends to take advantage of the sale.

About the Newsletter

        People sometimes ask about how much it costs to produce the Newsletter. It takes an enormous amount of time, plus lots of money for printing and mailing the paper version. The cost for just printing and mailing works out to between $4.00 and $5.00 per person per year for the paper version. (If you live in an area with enough other Uncles customers so that the newsletters are bundled by carrier route, postage costs very little; if the newsletters are bundled by zip code, it costs more; if bundled by state, it costs lots more; if there aren’t enough “subscribers” to bundle a particular state, then it costs even more.) We usually produce a 32-page Newsletter, but some recent issues have run 40 pages, which adds about $700 to the printing cost for that issue, but the longer issues don’t seem to produce any more sales. If you are receiving the paper version but not using it, please let us know so that we can save the $4-5 per year it’s costing to send the Newsletter to you. Having extra people view the information on our website doesn’t cost us anything extra. (A few people and one library that prefer to receive the paper version have sent contributions for their “subscriptions” to the Newsletter.)
        Last issue we shrunk the descriptions on most of the kids and young adult books and many other titles to keep the paper Newsletter down to 32 pages, but the full descriptions were on the website version. This time, in addition to shrinking the descriptions, we’ve also removed most of the paranormal romance titles, futuristic romance titles, and true crime titles from the paper Newsletter as well as shortening many of the nonfiction descriptions, but the full information is on the website version. We also haven’t had space for book reviews in the last couple of issues. We’ll probably start running book reviews on the website next issue, but will only be able to run them in the paper version if the publishers significantly reduce the number of titles released.

Award News

        The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry ($15.00) won the William L. Crawford Award for best first novel in the fantasy field.
        Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan ($24.99, $7.99 pb due in April) won the Aurealis Award for best Australian fantasy novel of the year.

        The nominees for the Philip K. Dick Award for best paperback original are Bitter Angels by C. L. Anderson (aka Sarah Zettel, $7.99), The Prisoner by Carlos J. Cortes ($7.99), The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia ($7.99, retitled Repo Man for movie tie-in), The Devil’s Alphabet by Daryl Gregory ($15.00), Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald ($15.98), Centuries Ago and Very Fast by Rebecca Ore ($16.00), and Prophets by S. Andrew Swann ($7.99).
        The Mystery Writers of America announced the nominees for the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Awards. The nominees for Best Novel are The Missing by Tim Gautreaux ($25.95 hc, $15.00 trade pb due early March), The Odds by Kathleen George ($24.95), The Last Child by John Hart ($24.95 hc, $14.99 trade pb due early March), Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston ($15.00), Nemesis by Jo Nesbo ($14.99), and A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn ($15.00).
        The nominees for Best First Novel by an American Author are The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano ($13.99 trade pb due early March), Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley ($15.00), The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf ($13.95), A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield ($24.99), Black Water Rising by Attica Locke ($25.99), and In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff ($24.95 hc, $14.99 trade pb due early May).
        The nominees for Best Paperback Original are Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott ($15.00), Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano ($14.95), The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill, Body Blows by Marc Strange, and The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L. C. Tyler ($14.95).
        The nominees in the many other categories are posted at the Mystery Writers of America website and at Uncle Edgar’s.

        The nominees for the Dilys Award, given by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association to the mystery title they have most enjoyed selling, are The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley ($23.00 signed hc or $15.00 trade pb), A Quiet Belief in Angels by R. J. Ellroy ($24.95), The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson ($24.95), The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson ($25.95 hc, April release for $15.95 trade pb and $7.99 mass market pb), The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville ($25.00), The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny ($24.99 signed hc), and The Shanghai Moon by S. J. Rozan ($24.95).

        The finalists for the Lefty Award, given to the most humorous mystery, are Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews ($24.99), Living with Your Kids is Murder by Mike Befeler, Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread by Denise Dietz, Getting Old Is a Disaster by Rita Lakin ($6.99), and High Crimes on the Magical Plane by Kris Neri ($16.95).

        The finalists for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery are Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander ($24.99), In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen ($24.95, $7.99 pb due in March), A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell ($24.95), Freedom’s Fight by Gary Phillips, and Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson ($24.99).

        The finalists for the Panik Award for best Los Angeles noir book are Cemetery Road by Gar Anthony Haywood ($28.95), Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz ($24.95), Death Was in the Picture by Linda Richards ($24.95), and Boulevard by Stephen J. Schwartz ($24.99).

        Three of the four finalists for the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction are mysteries: Jelly’s Gold by David Housewright ($24.95 signed hc), Rough Country by John Sandford ($26.95) and Frag Box by Richard A. Thompson ($24.95).

The Book Business
By Don Blyly

        Times are still very hard in the bookstore business. The Indianapolis area lost three independent bookstores in the last three months, including The Mystery Company in Carmel. Prime Crime Mystery Bookstore of Ottawa, winner of the 2001 Canadian Booksellers Association award for specialty bookseller of the year, is going out of business mid-March. I saw an article from the Wall Street Journal about major brands that won’t survive the recession, which said that Borders died two years ago, but nobody has figured out yet how to dispose of the body. I saw another article that forecast that Barnes & Noble (generally thought to be in much better shape than Borders) will probably have to close the slowest 10% of their stores to survive the recession.
        Nielsen Bookdata compiles book sales data in both the U.S. (where we supply sales figures for the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and thriller categories) and in the U.K. One of their amazing statistics from the U.K. was that of approximately 86,000 new titles last year, the bottom-selling 59,000 titles sold an average of 18 copies through stores that report to Nielsen. A lot of the poor sellers were either self-published books or academic titles. This led one self-published author to comment that he had sold 250 copies of his book, with probably none of those sales reported to Nielsen, but he still had another 250 copies under the stairs if anybody is interested. A majority of the self-published titles that we have at the Uncles sold 0 copies last year, although on rare occasions a self-published title will do pretty well for us. We’re becoming increasingly reluctant to take self-published books, even on consignment.
        E-books continues to be a major battleground. Macmillan (with imprints including Tor and St. Martins’ Press) and Amazon got into a dispute over terms for e-books, so Amazon pulled the “buy” button on every book distributed by Macmillan, the real books as well as the e-books, for over a week, leading to much distress on the part of authors and organizations of authors. Some other publishers are upset enough about price-wars over e-books hurting the sales of hardcovers that they’ve announced that they will delay the e-book editions by as much as 7 months, just as movie companies delay the release of the DVDs until the movies have made most of their money at the movie theaters. Meanwhile, a company that tracks illegally posted content on the web reported in mid-January that e-book piracy was already over $3 billion in 2009, when the sales of e-book readers were just taking off. With the technology advancing so quickly, the assumption is that people will have to buy a new e-book reader every year or two–but the e-books loaded onto the old device probably won’t transfer to the new device. When you buy an e-book, you are actually buying the right to download it a certain number of times, which is typically somewhere between 1 time and 6 times, but you can’t find out when you buy it how many downloads you are entitled to.

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