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Events and News from Borderlands Books

November, 2011

Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features

Upcoming Author Events

Shaenon Garrity, NARBONIC: THE PERFECT COLLECTION VOL. 1 (Couscous Collective, Trade Paperback, $17.00) Saturday, November 19th at 5:00 pm

Zach Weiner, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME: A SATURDAY MORNING BREAKFAST CEREAL COLLECTION (Breadpig, Trade Paperback, $18.00) Sunday, November 27th at 5:00 pm

(for more information check the end of this section)

Borderlands takes an event hiatus for the holidays, but we'll be back after the first of the year with many more fantastic authors, including Rudy Rucker, Jo Walton, Tobias Buckell and Matt Ruff!

Overheard at the Con

This is a feature that appears periodically, as we attend conventions and overhear things.  The tradition of keeping track of anonymous overheard bits and bobs started for us at the 2002 ConJose in San Jose, where trying (or trying not to) fill in the blanks on overheard conversations made us laugh so much that we made it a habit.  These are the (many!) things we overheard at the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego:

"This artwork makes me feel very Colonialist."

"We're staying at the Eldritch Moppet Hotel."

"I am no slave to grammar!"

"Me and ma Fey homies are gonna come down on you wid a quickness."

"It's a bit more stylized & a bit less moist."

"She writes slipstream. . .magic realism.  Our world with a bit of magic."
"So, urban fantasy?"
"No, because it's not set in cities."
"So, bucolic urban fantasy?"

"Your book made me stab my bathrobe.  It could have harboring footless midget zombies."

"Every time I see him, I want to fall to my knees and prostate myself."
"Don't you mean 'prostrate'?"
"No, I think I meant what I said."

"It was at ReaderCon when I karate-chopped a plate of crudite out of your hands."

[San Diego's famous Old Town is called the "Gaslamp District".] "I assume in the Gas_light_ District they change the street names every afternoon."

"It was a really knotty problem that I solved by not thinking about it."

"I really wanted to have sex but my genitals stopped me."

"Doesn't he usually kill his wife and then steal sausages?"

"Amazon regularly tries to sell me my own books."


* California extends library privacy laws to E-books: <,2817,2394064,00.asp#fbid=i1s49Zg-_iU>

* Cory Doctorow's LITTLE BROTHER will be on stage in San Francisco!  Adapted and directed by Josh Costello, the show will run January 13th - February 12, 2012.  More details here: Custom Made Theatre Company <>
1620 Gough Street, San Francisco CA 94109,

* Michael Palin (the Monty Python comedian, actor and writer) is urging readers to purchase books from independent bookstores: <>

* At the World Fantasy Convention last month, Alisa Krasnostein and Jonathan Strahan talked with Alan Beatts about his recent article and the future of publishing for their podcast Live and Sassy: <>

* Amazon's "Lending Library" apparently lending titles without publishers' permission: <>

Reader Response

Ron Larson, a bookseller, had this to say in response to Alan's articles on Amazon from the last two months, and was kind enough to let us reprint his note here:

"Dear Alan,

Another problem that I have with Amazon is this:

They started out selling new books at big discounts and got people used to buying their books from them.

Then, they added the ability for buyers of books to relist the books for sale as used. This is cutting directly into the author's royalties. There have always been sellers of used books and even some like you who sell some of both. However, I doubt you sell many used copies of books that are only a few days or weeks on the market.

Now, people who have to read a new book as soon as it comes out but don't keep them, get a new book from Amazon at a big discount, read it in a few days, then they put it up for sale again on Amazon where they got it in the first place, and sell it for a few dollars. Before Amazon added this 'feature' buyers would have bought a new copy at a good discount but the author would have still gotten royalty credit, now they can buy a barely used copy and the author gets no royalty credit. This is creating a downward spiral of sales that the authors get no credit for, making it harder for them to sell additional books to the publishers, and to make a living.

I sell used books, some of the 'used' books I sell have never been previously owned. Some books I sell I have bought at or near the time they come out at full or discount new retail (like when I come up for one of your signings), other books I buy off the bargain tables at Barnes & Noble and then get signed. I realize the authors don't get royalties for the book I buy off the bargain tables but at least these books have been through the normal sales cycle and customers who wanted a 'new' copy have already purchased theirs. One of the things that bothers me is that the time between release of a new title in hardback and when it shows up on the remainder table is shortening. A couple of years ago, one of Dan Simmons' books showed up on the remainder table only six months after it was released. It used to be at least a year before books hit the remainder tables and for some publishers it was even longer.

I like to make money, but I also like it when the authors can make a living writing their books and then having them sold. I usually don't sell books cheaply, I'm usually not going to take away a sale from a new copy of a book that the author would get royalty credit for because my copy isn't going to compete against a discounted new priced copy or even in most cases, a full retail priced copy. By the time I list for sale a used or bargain table book, the paperback will be out and few people other than those who want a signed copy or just have to have a hardback will be looking for the hardback.

Ron Larson

From the Office

I'm sure you'll all be glad to hear that, after the last two _long_ articles I've written, this one is going to be pretty short.  A collection of bits and pieces, actually.

At the end of last month I went to the World Fantasy Convention with a few of the staff.  It was a lovely convention, made even better by having a chance to catch up with a number of old friends.  There was, as usual for that gig, lots of conversation and good times.  I picked up a bit of news from two of our favorite authors that I thought would be of interest.

During a late night chat with Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont (the two creators of the Malazan world) I got the word about what some of their upcoming work is going to be.  The final book in Steve's outstanding Malazan Book of the Fallen came out this year, completing the story that he started ten novels ago (!).  For me, the payoff was everything I could have hoped for but I have been wondering what was next.  It seems that Steve is under contract for six more books set in the Malazan world.  The planned structure is two three-book stories and the first is going to be set in the distant past of the history outlined in the Book of the Fallen.  Among other things, readers can look forward to seeing Anomander Rake as a (relatively) young man and watching the events unfold that set the ground work for a big slice of the conflict that takes place thousands of years later.  The second series will be set after the events in the Book of the Fallen and will, in part, focus on Karsa Orlong (who is one of my favorite characters -- Steve's as well.  Check out this cool essay on the topic ).

Ian is also working hard.  His next novel, ORB, SCEPTRE, THRONE, is set to come out in the UK in January.  It will bring us back to Darujhistan and the continent of Genabackis, reacquaint us with Kruppe, and show us the aftermath of the destruction of Moon's Spawn.  On top of that, he's working on a followup as we speak.

Another notable element at the convention was possibly the worst cold I've _ever_ had.  It started the last night of the con and pretty much put me on my ass for three days.  Then more folks at the store got it, including Jude and Naamen.  All in all, quite a way to cap the convention, move into the holidays, and make this newsletter crazy-late.

Speaking of moving into the holidays, the combination of the convention, the cold-from-hell, and work in general meant that everyone here completely failed to notice that November 3rd was the 14th anniversary of the bookstore.  I think we finally noticed it around the 10th or so.  We thought about doing some sort of celebration late but it just seemed silly.  And so, please mark your calendar for the beginning of November, 2012 -- which will be our 15th anniversary and a "Very Big Deal".

In case you're wondering how the business is doing and whether we'll even be around a year from now, don't wonder.  Yes, the book business is hard, and, yes, the economy sucks, but . . . sales are up from last year and, just last week, I signed a new, five-year lease (at quite reasonable terms; seems our landlord likes us).  So, don't worry, we'll be around for a while yet.

With that, let me wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving and a good start to the holiday season and our quickening slide into 2012.

- Alan Beatts

Top Sellers At Borderlands

1. Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge
2. Aloha From Hell by Richard Kadrey
3. Reamde by Neal Stephenson
4. Snuff by Terry Pratchett
5. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
6. The Departure by Neal Asher
7. A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber
8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
9. In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood
10. Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire
2. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
3. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
4. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin tie with A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
5. Feed by Mira Grant
6. Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
7. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
8. Deadline by Mira Grant
9. Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton
10. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Trade Paperbacks
1. Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
2. Briarpatch by Tim Pratt
3. The Bible Repairman and Other Stories by Tim Powers
4. Ganymede by Cherie Priest tie with After the Apocalypse by Maureen McHugh
5. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book Club Info

The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, December 11th, at 5 pm to discuss the second part of A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin.  Please contact the group leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at, for more information.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club will meet on Sunday, November 20th, at 6 pm to discuss UNCERTAIN PLACES by Lisa Goldstein.  The author will be on hand to participate in the discussion!
The book for December is GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon.  Please contact for more information.

Upcoming Event Details

Shaenon Garrity, NARBONIC: THE PERFECT COLLECTION VOL. 1 (Coucous Collective, Trade Paperback, $17.00) Saturday, November 19th at 5:00 pm - We're so excited to welcome local artist and author Shaenon Garrity as she presents the first print collection of the infamous webcomic "Narbonic", which stars the cuddliest mad scientists ever!  Shaenon has also written and drawn the two volumes of "Skin Horse", "Trunktown", "Li'l Mell" and much, much more.  There will be cupcakes, comics and craziness, and we hope you'll be here.

Zach Weiner, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME: A SATURDAY MORNING BREAKFAST CEREAL COLLECTION (Breadpig, Trade Paperback, $18.00) Sunday, November 27th at 5:00 pm at Borderlands Cafe, 870 Valencia Street   - Join us in the Cafe to meet Zach Weiner, creator of the webcomic SATURDAY MORNING BREAKFAST CEREAL, in his second Borderlands appearance! THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME features comics from the entire archive, but focuses on 2011.  It also completes the choose-your-own-adventure begun in book 1, SAVE YOURSELF, MAMMAL!  We're delighted to welcome Zach back to Borderlands.

Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge.  You are welcome to bring copies of an author's books purchased elsewhere to be autographed (but we do appreciate it if you purchase something while at the event).  For most events you are welcome to bring as many books as you wish for autographs.  If you are unable to attend the event we will be happy to have a copy of any of the author's available books signed or inscribed for you.  We can then either hold the book(s) until you can come in to pick them up or we can ship to you.  Just give us a call or drop us an email.  If you live out of town, you can also ship us books from your collection to be signed for a nominal fee.  Call or email for details.

Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts

All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of

Borderlands Books
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA  94110

Comments and suggestions should be directed to


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