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Archived Newsletter Content


Newsletter #97 March May, 2012

38th 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 38th Anniversary, we’re having a sale. Come into either Uncle Hugo’s or Uncle Edgar’s and get 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 38h Anniversary sale lasts Friday, March 2 through Sunday, March 11. This gives you two weekends to take advantage of the sale.

Award News

        The World Fantasy Award for best novel went to Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor ($15.00).

        The 2012 William L. Crawford Fantasy Award for best first fantasy novel went to Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine ($14.95).

        The finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award (for best sf published as a paperback original in the U.S.) are The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett ($13.99), Deadline by Mina Grant ($9.99), The Other by Matthew Hughes ($14.95), A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson ($7.99), The Postmortal by Drew Magary ($15.00), After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh ($16.00), and The Samuel Petrovich Trilogy by Simon Morden (Equations of Life ($7.99), Theories of Flight ($7.99), and Degrees of Freedom ($7.99)).

        The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2012 Edgar Allan Poe awards. The winners will be announced April 26.
        The nominees for Best Novel are The Ranger by Ace Atkins ($25.95, $15.00 trade pb due early May), Gone by Mo Hayder ($14.00 trade pb), The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino ($24.99, $14.99 trade pb due early March), 1222 by Anne Holt ($25.00), and Field Gray by Philip Kerr ($26.95, $16.00 trade pb due early March).
        The nominees for Best First Novel by an American Author are Red on Red by Edward Conlon ($26.00, $15.00 trade pb due late March), Last to Fold by David Duffy ($25.99), All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen ($29.00), Bent Road by Lori Roy ($15.00 trade pb due early March), and Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder ($23.99, $14.99 trade pb due early May).
        The nominees for Best Paperback Original are The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett ($13.99), The Faces of Angels by Lucretia Grindle ($14.95), The Dog Sox by Russell Hill, Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley ($14.99), and Vienna Twilight by Frank Tallis ($15.00)
        The nominees for the Simon & Schuster–Mary Higgins Clark Award (presented at the same ceremony as the Edgars, for the novel in style of Mary Higgins Clark) are Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton ($25.99, $14.99 trade pb due mid-April), Come and Find Me by Hellie Ephron ($24.99, $13.99 trade pb due early March), Death on Tour by Janice Hamrick ($24.99, $7.99 pb mid May), Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry ($15.00), and Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely ($24.99).

        The nominees for the Dilys Award, given by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association to the mystery title they have most enjoyed selling, are When Elves Attack by Tim Dorsey ($16.99), Wicked Autumn by G. M. Malliet ($23.99), Tag Man by Archer Mayor ($25.99 signed), A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny ($25.99), and Ghost Hero by S. J. Rozan ($25.99).

        Many mystery awards are presented at the Left Coast Crime Convention. The nominees for the Lefty Award, for the most humorous mystery, are The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews ($24.99, $7.99 pb mid May), Getting Old Can Kill You by Rita Lakin ($7.99), October Fest by Jess Lourey ($14.95), Magical Alienation by Kris Neri ($15.95), Dying for a Dance by Cindy Sample ($16.95), and The Albuquerque Turkey by John Vorhaus ($23.00).
        The nominees for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award are Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen ($24.95), A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell ($24.99, $14.99 trade pb early May), Mercury's Rise by Ann Parker ($24.95 hc or $14.95 trade pb), A Killing Season by Priscilla Royal ($24.95 hc or $14.95 trade pb), Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson ($25.99), and A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear ($25.99, $14.99 trade pb due early March).
        The nominees for the Golden Nugget Award (best mystery novel set in California) are Disturbance by Jan Burke ($25.00), The Drop by Michael Connelly ($27.99 signed), Bit Player by Janet Dawson ($14.95), V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton ($27.95), and City of Secrets by Kelli Stanley ($24.99).
        The nominees for the Eureka! Award (best first mystery novel) are The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper by Sally Carpenter ($14.95), Nazareth Child by Darrell James ($14.95), Dead Man's Switch by Tammy Kaehler ($14.95), and Who Do, Voodoo? By Rochelle Staab ($7.99).

        The Minnesota Book Award finalists in the Genre Fiction category are Big Wheat by Richard A. Thompson ($24.95 hc or $14.95 trade pb), The Bone House by Brian Freeman ($24.99), Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley ($14.99), and Northwest Angle by William Kent Kruger ($24.99).

How’s Business
by Don Blyly

        We had a very good December, partly due to the lack of blizzard, ice storms, snow drifts, etc., that we had to endure the year before. But it was a very good December even compared to a normal year. January and February continued to be good compared to last year, but were nothing to brag about compared to an average year. Heating costs being down about 1/3 from last year helped.
        Monday, January 9, I was in the store early when I heard somebody walking around on my roof around 8:30 a.m. I went out to see what was going on, and saw the dentist from next door on my roof. I asked him what he was doing on my roof, and he said “Photographing the evidence–come on up and take a look.” Overnight somebody had gotten onto the roof and cut out the cooling coils from his two rooftop heating/air conditioning units and my two rooftop units. His units had been cut up in such a way that his heat also was not working, but both of my units were still putting out heat. When the repair guy showed up, he said that there’s been a lot of this going on all over the metro area. When I called my insurance company, I was told that this has been going on all over the country. The police say that 10 properties in the immediate area have been hit with the same problem. The police have some not-very-good security camera photos of a suspect and have been trying to identify the guy, but no luck yet. The dentist’s insurance company replaced his 17-year-old units with new units at no cost to him. My insurance company will be repairing my 2 units (one of which was only 4 months old when it was damaged) with $1000 coming out of my pocket, and they sent a letter that if I have another claim within a year they will probably refuse to insure me again.
        On the morning of January 25 I received a call from the management of the apartment complex for the elderly where my mother had lived for the last 14 years, telling me that my mother had just been found to have died overnight. I was told that the police would have to come and look over the scene to see if there was anything suspicious, and when the police were done management would call the funeral home–so I should wait until the afternoon to come over. My mother had shown me where she kept her cash in the apartment and told me to come over immediately when she died before things started disappearing. When I got to the apartment about an hour and a half after the phone call, her cash, her keys, and her credit card were all missing, but mountains of other stuff had not disappeared. At work, I often feel like a horde of ducks are trying to nibble me to death, and now the horde of ducks has received massive re-inforcements. I’ve been very busy dealing with the funeral home, family, the social security administration, her credit card company, bank accounts, etc., and especially with sorting through all her stuff and trying to clear her apartment. I can feel myself falling farther and farther behind on things that should be done at the store.
        Last issue I mentioned one publisher that wanted to start charging an extra $8.00 for signed copies of some new hardcovers. They decided to instead charge an extra $1.00, which I think is justifiable because of the added expense of binding in the signature sheet and using a different ISBN and barcode on the dust jacket for the signed copies (instead of using the same ISBN and barcode on the dust jacket, and just sticking a “Signed Copy” sticker on the front, like everybody else does). Of course, using a different ISBN for the signed copies means that sales of the signed copies won’t combine with sales of the unsigned copies for best seller charts, which has some authors unhappy even though they will make a few cents more per book in royalties from the signed copies.
        For many years there was a Blockbuster Video about 3 blocks from my home, and often on a Saturday evening after I got home from work I’d walk over to Blockbuster and look for something to rent. A few years ago I noticed that I seldom found anything I was interested in watching. While some of the problem was Blockbuster’s buying, most of the problem was that Hollywood was not producing much that I was interested in watching. Now, the publishers are complaining about how much sales have dropped for mass market paperbacks, but when I look at the new release section at The Uncles, I notice how many of the mass market books on the shelf I’m not interested in reading. I can remember when most of the mass market new releases at Uncle Hugo’s would have an initial order of at least 15 copies, and would sell out. Now, half the spaces on the new release shelf is taken up with titles that I only ordered 3 to 5 copies, and many of those will only sell 1 copy. There are still some titles that I’ll order 20 to 30 copies initially and I’ll sell all of them, but there are a lot fewer such titles being published. What’s especially painful is when a publisher has a series with a substantial following at Uncle Hugo’s (such as Lyda Morehouse’s series or Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series) and the publisher kills the series even though the author and the readers want the series to continue. It seems that the publishers are so obsessed with hitting a home run with a title that will sell like crazy at Target, Walmart, and Sam’s Club that they don’t care about supporting moderately popular mid-list authors.
        There are now hundreds of thousands of self-published titles available. A few are very good, some are okay, and most are dreadful. In many cases the authors got suckered by unscrupulous publishers, who took the authors’ money knowing that the book would never be able to sell more than a few cases to the authors, which the authors will have to store in their closets for the rest of their lives. Many of these books have never been edited, spell-checked, grammar-checked, etc., and are offered at high prices and low discounts that guarantee that a bookstore will never buy a copy. For an extreme example of this, check out
        Once again we had lots more new titles than we had space for in the paper newsletter. 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 shortened for the paper newsletter, but full information is on our website. There are also book reviews at our website. About 150 people switched from the paper newsletter to the electronic version in the last 3 months, saving us about $500 per year.

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