Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans . . ."
--Johnny Horton, Battle of New Orleans

I don't want to go off on a Andy Rooneyesque rant, but this may be one of the few times it is necessary. Unless you've been locked in a biosphere with Pauly Shore for the past year, you must be aware that J.K. Rowling's new web site, Pottermore, has been unveiled. There had been much speculation on its content for the past couple of months. Could it be a giant web-based role- playing game like World of WarcraftTM? Or could it be a collection of short stories or unreleased materials set in the PotterverseTM? Rumors were rampant. [Cue the Debbie Downer sound effect.]

No, unfortunately, it is just another blatant money grab by J.K. Rowling. I guess with the movies winding down she concocted this scheme to generate maximum profit for herself from her e-books. Sure, there will be new artwork and a few other bones for Potter fans, so she did put some window dressing on the site, but let's face it, Pottermore is no more than a portal to sell more product and an opportunity to cut out the people who helped her become the richest woman in Great Britain. Yes, you read right. J.K. Rowling is even richer than the Queen of England. In fact, you know you are really filthy rich when you buy an adjacent property for $6 million dollars and level the house on the lot so you can expand your garden.

Of course, the apologists have already begun the spin and this is my personal favourite, ". . . J.K. Rowling has made sure everyone's getting a slice of Pottermore." No, Alexander McNabb, not everyone is getting a slice of Pottermore. Bookstores, who are the most responsible for her success, have been completely frozen out. These booksellers were the ones who held the midnight release parties, these were the booksellers who defended her when busybodies wanted to ban her titles, and finally, these were the same booksellers who recommended her books to their customers. It's no secret that the bookselling business is hurting right now. So excuse me if I take umbrage at the fact that J.K. Rowling has decided to give bookstores a swift kick to the groin as a reward for all of their efforts. I can hear the excuses, "But Mick, these stores were making tons of money off of her print books." Again, that is a myth. With on-line retailers selling Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows (9780545139700) 14.99 at a loss, I know for a fact that one of the local bookstores was making a penny on each copy. Cheeky.

"So as punishment, Ms. Rowling, I subtract 50 points from Gryffindor."

Odds & Sods

Alan Furst, author of Spies of the Balkans (9780812977387) 14.99 stopped in here and signed our copies. He was really a great guy and he writes a good yarn. These copies are sold on a first come, first served basis . . .

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (9781594744761) 17.99 by Ransom Riggs is getting some good buzz. The publisher is out of stock until July 1. And with the holiday weekend coming up, we probably won't have it back in until the end of next week . . .

Backorders for George R.R. Martin's Dance with Dragons (9780553801477) 35.00 are starting to pile up.

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