December 1 marks Uncle Edgar’s 31st 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 31st Anniversary Sale runs Thursday, December 1 through Sunday, December 11–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 31st Anniversary Sale.
The Hugo Award for Best Novel went to Connie Willis for Blackout/All Clear (each title available as a $26.00 hc or $16.00 tr pb); Best Related Book went to Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea ($14.95).
Many mystery awards were announced at Bouchercon:
The Anthony Awards included Best Novel to Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny ($24.99 signed hc or $14.99 tr pb), Best First Mystery to The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson ($24.99, $7.99 pb due in January), and Best Paperback Original to Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski ($13.99).
The Barry Awards included Best Novel to The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton ($14.99 tr pb), Best First Novel to The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron ($14.99), Best British Crime Novel to The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill ($25.99), Best Thriller to Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer ($7.99), and Best Paperback Original to Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid ($14.99).
The Shamus Awards included Best P.I. Novel to No Mercy by Lori Armstrong ($7.99), Best Paperback Original to Asia Hand by Christopher C. Moore ($14.00), Best First P.I. Novel to In Search of Mercy by Michael Ayoob ($24.99 signed hc), plus The Eye Award (for lifetime achievement) to Ed Gorman and The Hammer Award (for best PI character) for V. I. Warshawski by Sara Paretsky.
The Macavity Awards included Best Mystery Novel to Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny ($24.99 signed hc or $14.99 tr pb), Best First Mystery Novel to Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva ($14.99), Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction to Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: 50 Years of Mysteries in the Making edited by John Curran ($16.99). The Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award went to City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley ($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. There were fewer calendars that we were interested in ordering this year, and many of the calendars we ordered did not get produced. Almost all calendars for the U.S. are printed in the Far East, with the order-taking beginning in February, and the final decision is made in the Spring on which titles to actually produce and how many of each title, so that the finished products can come on a “slow boat from China” for distribution late Summer.
The standard wall calendars include The Avengers ($13.95, the TV show), Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell’s Fantasy ($12.99), Dragons ($13.99, art by Ciruelo), The Gashlycrumb Tinies ($13.9, Edward Gorey), George R. R. Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire ($17.00, art by John Picacio), Hammer Glamour ($13.95, women from Hammer Films), I Improved My Rate of Doing Nothing ($13.99, Dilbert), Luis Royo ($13.95, art from Heavy Metal), M.C. Escher: Inside Out ($13.99), The Princess Bride ($13.99, 25th anniversary of the movie), The Simpson’s ($13.99), Star Trek Ships of the Line ($14.99), and Tolkien ($14.99, art by Cor Blok). The only page-per-day style calendars we’ve receive are I Can Has Cheezburger? ($13.99 humorous photos of cats with captions), The Next Thing You Hear is Something Called Leadership (13.99, Dilbert), and The Simpsons ($13.99). The only desk calendar we’ve received is The Book of Fictional Days: A Collection of Events that Did Not Really Happen: Mainly Mystery Edition ($10.00, locally produced in black and white, each day has a reference to an event that happened on that day in a work of fiction, usually a mystery novel).
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).
by Don Blyly
We’re still hanging on, but sales have not gone up after the collapse of Borders, as we had hoped would happen. We’ve had an unusually large number of people come in this week, wonder around the store going “Wow!”, and then on the way out the door without buying anything comment, “I’m sure glad you’re still in business. What an amazing bookstore!”
Let me explain some of the expenses we have to cover in order to stay in business. I own the building and it’s been paid off for several years, or else the cost of rent would have driven us out of business years ago. Just before the economy crashed, I heard what other area landlords were getting in rent and realized that I could have rented the building and made twice the income as I was making from working 70 hours per week. Most days I’m able to convince myself that being a bookseller is more fun than being a landlord, so I wasn’t tempted to try to rent out the space. But my expenses include property tax (currently comes to almost $1800 month, more than double what it was 6 years ago), utilities (averages about $1000 per month, with the cost being lower in the spring and fall, higher in the summer, and much higher in the winter), insurance (averages about $1000 per month for all the different kinds I have to carry), bank charges (averages about $1000 per month, mainly for credit card processing), maintenance and repairs (including over $10,000 for a new air conditioner/furnace a couple of months ago), publishing the Newsletter (about $22,000 per year just for printing and postage), plus payroll and inventory. I think we’ll have to increase the minimum price on used books soon, but I’ll try to give advance warning so that people will have a chance to stock up before the price goes up.
About a week ago I read that one of the major publishers had a drop in sales of print books because of Borders going under, but because of people switching to e-books their total sales were up 1%; because the e-books are so much more profitable than printed books for the publisher, they still made 19% more profit than the same period the year before. Today I read that this company was cutting 10 people from the printed book sales force and adding 10 people to promote e-book sales. Another of the major paperback publishers has started a line of books to be issued only in e-book format but at mass market paperback prices, starting with romance reprints but with plans to expand this sales strategy to other genres. Another of the major publishers has told many of their authors that their books will no longer be reprinted in mass market paperback–the books will be published in hardcover, e-books, and then perhaps be reprinted in trade paperback, but will never be reprinted as mass market paperbacks. A few months ago I was hearing that the publishers were very concerned about helping the brick-and-mortar stores survive as “show rooms” for their books, but it now looks like many of the publishers have decided to instead try to push readers into buying e-books instead of printed books. After all, the profit margins for the publishers is much higher from e-books than from printed books, the channels of distribution are much simpler (a few giant corporations instead of thousands of independent bookstores), there’s no problem with warehousing printed books, and no need to remainder books that were printed in numbers far exceeding demand.
All of the major publishers offer the signed copies of their books at the same price as the unsigned copies of the same book unless they do something to make the signed copy more special than just being signed (like a slipcase or an extra short story). One publisher is planning to try next summer to charge an extra $8.00 for signed copies of several books that are the same as the regular copies except for the signatures. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to convince them that this is a very BAD idea that will result in drastically reduced sales and lots of anger towards the publisher. Of course, some readers would also get angry with the bookstores and with the authors over this, when we have no control over such pricing decisions, and the authors didn’t even know about the pricing plan for their signed books.
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.