Further evidence of the bookstore apocalypse   2 comments

Just a brief update for this weekend.  My good friend Matthew Ross, who works
for the redoubtable Foundation Center in NYC passed on this dreadful link and news
today, that the Partners & Crime Mystery Bookstore in Manhattan is closing its
doors.   http://www.crimepays.com/

I confess this is one shop I don’t know at all, though there used to be some other
good mystery/suspense specialty fiction shops around the city including The Mysterious
Bookshop or Murder Inc. or somesuch, one of them used to be uptown if I recall correctly.
Anyway, sad to hear that they’re closing as well, guess one might go down there
and secure some good going out of biz sales, if indeed the shop is even still
open for this purpose right now or have they already closed their doors? It appears
from their site that they’re still having a “Thank You” sale, so maybe there’s
still time.  I have no plans to do so since I cannot stand driving into the city
any longer, unless I absolutely have to.  But for anybody that is interested
and can get there, it’ll likely be worth your time and trouble.   I did a fast
search and indeed The Mysterious Bookshop is still very much in business,
located as it is in downtown Manhattan on Warren Street.

So, I suppose, there’s still SOME hope.

For my next more substantial post I intend to bang out a rant that is aimed
at my displeasure over how the pricing and publishing pricing practices within
the rare/used book trade online AND off have been degenerating/inflating,
and also how some of the new small presses and other ltd. edition publishers
have been putting out books that are so outrageously expensive that it threatens
to ruin or “snobberize” the field we love, esp. horror, fantasy and SF.  A lot of
dealers on and offline and publishers are now guilty of sheer buccaneerism,
overpricing, and highwaymen type pricing and inflation way beyond what
the books are actually worth, and some of these small presses are pricing
their books at upwards of $500 for signed or ltd. edition titles which,
I would assume, are out of the reach of most average book collectors,
especially younger collectors.  We’re also in the midst of a massive
and seemingly interminable economic depression which is another
reason why I feel these trends are especially inexcusable.

The other issue, as I hope to address, is that the rare book markets
do not have anything like an Overstreet Price Guide book or
other authority to determine basic guidelines for pricing,
unlike the comics world, and of course that’s only a guide
in any case.  I just availed myself of a copy of Overstreet
yesterday, in fact, and ok, a 1st issue of DC Superman at Near Mint
is valued at nearly $150,000, and that’s one thing, but when
I see a copy of my friend S. T. Joshi’s recent Lovecraft: A Life
biography (itself an expanded reissue edition of the 1995 edition)
out from my friend Derrick Hussey’s Hippocampus
Press last year (2011) going for $1000 on Amazon.com,
being sold by some jerk of a private dealer or huckster,
and the copy’s not even signed by S. T., or anything,
and the basic book is only valued at $100 for the 2 volume
hardcover set, I get pissed off!   This isn’t a rare book yet,
it’s not signed, and it’s not out of print yet, and it’s only
a year old, so there’s no earthly reason for some dealer
to charge $1000 for one.  This is the type of wanker I’ll
be taking to task in my next post on this subject!
And woe be to you who are doing stuff like this!  You
shall be excoriated painfully and thoroughly!


2 responses to “Further evidence of the bookstore apocalypse

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  1. Good to see that the Mysterious Bookshop is still around but I wonder for how long? Even more than regular bookstores, it seems that genre bookstores are quickly becoming a thing of the past. I understand the reasoning: “Can’t make enough out of sales of one genre of books to run a store”. But it makes me sad all the same. Even beyond the loss of such a place for buying books, we lose an important social gathering spot for fans of the genre. Try going into a B&N and talking to a clerk about Arthur Machen or Ellery Queen and see how far you get. Sad days indeed.

  2. Yeah it’s like those scenes in Ghost World (the film anyway) where
    the girls go into the video store and are confronted by total morons
    who know nothing about films and all they have in the shop are the latest
    trash that nobody could possibly watch. Well, specialty shops are always
    a gamble I guess but in a place like Manhattan they used to tend to thrive,
    if done very well and the Mysterious Bookshop used to be one prime
    example–then again, not sure if it’s even still as good as it once was.
    And Forbidden Planet used to really corner the market on their own niche
    even with The Strand right across the street, which is no small accomplishment,
    but then they changed and moved up the block and downsized and that
    was the end of that…. I guess the comics/graphic novels/toys market
    became that much stronger than books so they shifted, I’m sure it was
    purely a marketing/sales move, and that happened ages ago already.

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