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Newsletter #95 September November, 2011

Used Book Sale

        Every year our supply (oversupply) of used books gets larger. We’re having a used book sale to try to reduce our supply.
        All used books will be 20% off, whether you have a discount card or not. The sale includes used paperbacks, used hardcovers, used magazines, used gaming books, and bagged books.
        Because we have so many used audiobooks, we will be selling all used audiobooks at $5.00 each, whether cassette or CD. The sale runs from Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 18. That gives you two weekends to take advantage of the sale.
        This sale will be for customers shopping in the store–it does not apply to mail orders. If you’re thinking about bringing in lots of used books to sell to us during the sale, expect a longer than normal wait.

How’s Business?
By Don Blyly

        After a dreadful winter, the in-store business has just about recovered and the mail order business has gone up substantially. When the Borders going- out-of-business sales are over, I hope that we’ll see more in-store business.
        In addition to selling their remaining inventory during the bankruptcy sale, Borders plans to sell their customer records, including e-mail addresses and complete lists of every book that every customer bought from them (presumably, only for customers who used their website or had a discount card–which the employees were forced to try to talk customers into buying for $25 up until shortly before the liquidation sale began).
        The total collapse of Borders has suddenly awoken the publishing industry to the importance of the brick-and-mortar stores as a “showroom” for books. Decades ago, we’d have people come into the store, look at the books on our shelves for a long period of time while taking notes, and then go to the library to request the books that they found interesting (but not interesting enough to buy) at the Uncles. More recently, we’ve had people come into the store, look at the books on our shelves for a long period of time to decide what they wanted to order from Amazon. Now, we have people come into the store to look over the books on our shelves to decide what they wanted to buy as e-books. Because the publishing industry does very little advertising, the consumers’ primary source of information about new titles comes from the bookstores. They’ve finally figured out that they are making money from those people doing their book research (but not book buying) at the Uncles. Supposedly, the publishers are brain-storming ideas about how they can help the brick-and-mortar stores to stay in business, so that we can continue to be “showrooms for books”.
        I was getting caught up on my bills with the publishers and feeling optimistic about perhaps being able to pull a little cash from the business to make some badly-needed repairs at home. Then, on a Friday night about 4 weeks ago there was a loud sizzling noise, followed by a loud thud, and the air stopped moving at Uncle Hugo’s. The next morning, I visited 3 hardware stores before I found the right size fuses for the rooftop air conditioner/furnace. After I plugged in the new fuses, the air started moving again. When I altered the temperature setting to get some cooling, the fuses blew again. On Monday the repairman came out, checked over the unit, and told me that one of the two compressors had shorted out. He had taken the bad compressor out of the circuit, but found enough other things that had gone bad or were about to go bad that he suggested replacing the 17-year-old unit with a new, more efficient model instead of putting thousands of dollars in repairs into such an old unit with so many problems. A sales engineer came out, looked over the situation, and gave me three quotes: about $5000 to repair the old unit, about $10,000 to replace the old unit with a new, more energy efficient unit of the same size, or about $15,000 to replace the old unit with a larger new unit with a more powerful fan that would also require replacing all the duct work above the suspended ceilings. I went for the middle bid, and the replacement unit was installed last Friday.
                Once again we had lots more new titles than we had space for in the paper newsletter. We had to cut about half the listings. Most paranormal romances, gaming related items, action adventure series titles, Doctor Who books, kids and young adult novels, reissues, and non-fiction books were either eliminated or had their descriptions drastically shortened for the paper newsletter, but full information is on our website. There are also book reviews at our website. Thanks to the 100 or so people who switched from the paper newsletter to the electronic version in the last 3 months. That will save us about $400 per year in expenses.



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