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Newsletter #55 September - November, 2001

Used Book Sale

        If you've looked at our used book situation recently, you'll know that we have way too many books. At Uncle Hugo's, we have the used books piled over 9 foot high (and the ones that are over 6 foot high seem to sell much slower than the books within easy reach), and we still have big piles of used books on the floor. At Uncle Edgar's, very few books are above the 8 foot mark, but there are even more piles of used books on the floor. We try very hard to keep enough floor space clear that wheelchairs can move through the aisles, but this is getting hard to manage in the used book areas.
        The obvious solution is to sell lots of the used books, but fresh used books just keep pouring in faster than the old used books get purchased. This has been especially true of used hardcover mysteries.
        To encourage more customers to buy more used books, we're having a sale. All used books will be 20% off, whether you have a discount card or not. The sale includes used paperbacks, used hardcovers, used magazines, and bagged books. The sale will run Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 9--that gives you two weekends to haul away bargains. We will be closed Monday, September 3, for Labor Day.
        The sale will only be for customers shopping in the store--it does not apply to mail orders. We hope to be far too busy selling to customers in the store to be able to handle telephone calls from people asking, "Can you read off to me every used Agatha Christie book in your store?" or "Can you read off to me every used Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance book you have in the store?" (Yes, we do get calls like that, usually on a busy Saturday afternoon when there's a line of customers waiting in to check out. On a slow weekday evening we can often handle calls like that, but we're not going to encourage that kind of calls during the sale.)

Award News

        The Locus Award winners (voted on by the readers of Locus: The Newspaper of the Science Fiction Field) include:
        Best SF Novel-The Telling by Ursula K. LeGuin ($24.00)
        Best Fantasy Novel-A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin ($26.95)
        Best First Novel-Mars Crossing by Geoffrey A. Landis ($24.95)
        Best Non-Fiction Book-On Writing by Stephen King ($14.95)
        Best Art Book-Spectrum 7: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by Cathy & Arnie Fenner ($27.50)
        Best Collection-Tales of Old Earth by Michael Swanwick ($25.00)
        Best Anthology-The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventeen Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois ($17.95)
        The complete listing of all the nominees and winners in all the many categories are in issue #487, August, 2001 ($4.95).
        The Hugo Awards will be presented over Labor Day Weekend, and we'll have the winners posted very soon after that.

Help Wanted

        We are once again looking for one or two part-time people who know mysteries to work at Uncle Edgar's, with most hours need on Saturdays, but some evening hours also available. If you're interested, contact Don at the store.

Pulp Reprints Are Hot

        We've been picking up a lot of reprints of material from the pulp era, and they've been selling like crazy. First, we got a bunch of reprints of The Spider. Then we picked up a bunch of issues Pulp Review and High Adventure, which reprint material from the pulps from the 1930s and 1940s-stuff like G-8 and His Battle Aces, Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds, Secret Service Operator 5, the Phantom Detective, the Mysterious Wu Fang, etc. We've just picked up a third line that primarily consists of pulp reprints, although a few are modern stories told in the pulp style-just look in the "Recently Received" sections for both SF and Mystery for all the books at $12, $15, or $20 that say "first U.S. book edition." If you don't know where to look for them, just ask.

Burglaries 'R'Us
by Don Blyly

        We've been in this location for about 17 years, and there had only been one break-in during all that period-until late July. I came in to the store at 11 am on Sunday, July 22, and discovered a break-in. Thieves had used a crowbar on the front door for quite a period of time, warping the front door, warping the frame, and eventually busting the lock. Once inside, they busted in a couple of locked wooded doors, cleaned out the cash register drawers that were set up for the start of business, quickly decided that the safe was beyond their capabilities, and then went through the rest of the store, opening every desk drawer, file cabinet drawer, index file drawer, etc., and knocking piles of paper all over the floor. I immediately called 9-1-1 to report the burglary, and after about half an hour a cop showed up. He immediately called for the evidence crew, which did a thorough job of photographing everything and dusting for prints. We were able to open for business a few minutes later than usual, and I started cleaning up the mess while waiting for the locksmith to arrive to hammer the door back together and replace the lock. The next day I contacted the insurance company (getting the bad news that our deductible was $1000, rather than $500 as I had thought) and started trying to get bids for replacing busted doors. I also started keeping the money for the cash register drawers locked in the safe overnight.
        I came to the store at 10:30 am on Sunday, July 29, and discovered we had been broken into a second time. This time they used a crowbar on one of the back doors, and they had stolen a kid's wagon to use to haul away the safe. They managed to drag the safe about 80 feet toward the back door, and then apparently decided it was too much work to try to get it all the way to the wagon. So, they decided to bust it open right in the middle of the piles of signed mystery hardcovers. They broke one of my hammers, a couple of my chisels, and a couple of my hacksaw blades trying to get the safe open. They must have worked for hours, but eventually managed to remove the hinges (which didn't do any good) and then peeled back the first layer of steel on the front door, broke up the stuff inside the door that looked like concrete, pulled out the guts of the locking mechanism, and then peeled back the inside steel layer of the front door. Once they got into the safe, they took all of the cash (including about 30-40 pounds of rolls of coins that I always kept in the safe to make it even more difficult to move) and about $1800 in checks rubber-stamped "For Deposit Only" to the business checking account. Of those 29 checks written after about 2 pm on Friday, July 27 or during the day on Saturday, July 28, I found about half a dozen that they dropped on the way to the door. If you wrote a check to us on July 27 or July 28 and it hasn't cleared, you now know why. It would help a lot if you'd send or bring in a replacement check. (All of the charge card transactions are electronically deposited at the end of business every evening, so there was no problem with them.)
        By the time you read this, we should have 4 new doors and a new burglar alarm system.
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