Book-Off

One of my favorite people in the world (and partial originator of the ‘janicu’ nickname) came to New York City last week over Memorial Day Weekend. Besides our usual (the MoMA: all six floors, and then food), we visited Book-Off, which is at 49 W 45th St, just a a short walk from Grand Central.

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This place is magical. Basically it is a used book store, but it’s a Japanese chain so there are a lot of Japanese books and manga there. There used to be a Book-Off about 10 minutes away from me in Hartsdale, NY but that was a short-lived venture – probably because there were a lot more books in Japanese than English and I don’t think very people really knew it was there. But this Book-Off, the one in NYC? It has plenty of English books. It has rows and rows of used DVDs and CDs in the front, a huge sale section in the back, magazines to one side, and then a floor below with Japanese books and manga, and an upstairs balcony with I think non-fiction (but don’t quote me because I was just glued to the fiction shelves, salivating and petting bindings). Also many books are on sale for $1. MANY MANY books. The books that are not on sale: about $2.50 for a paperback and $5 for a hardcover. It’s not too shabby. I also prefer it over the Strand when it comes to its selection of genre fiction: SF&F and Romance in particular. The Strand does have a bigger YA section and general fiction section, but I think Book-Off beats the Strand’s prices because all the books at Book-Off are used.

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You can open the drawers on the bottom of the shelves and there are more books!

Anyway, if you happen to be in New York City, I’m just saying this place exists.

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Booknerd on a Road Trip

I’m road trippin’ it in southern New England this week, so not so much time reading or being online.  I’m working on a review of Finnikin of the Rock, but in the meantime, I’ve been visiting bookstores (of course). Here are the three I’ve stopped by so far:

Oblong Books, Millerton, NY. Discovered through this post on Good Books and Good Wine.  This place is an hour and a half north of me, which isn’t too bad, but when I drive up to that much to work three times a week, when the weekend comes around, I need a great deal of incentive to drive BACK upstate again. I think I may make an exception for Oblong books. They have a monthly (?) Hudson Valley YA society event which looks to be rather awesome with Stasia Ward Kehoe (Audition), Gretchen McNeil (Possess), Sheela Chari (Vanished), Rosanne Parry (Second Fiddle), and Jessica Martinez (Virtuosity) in attendance at the last one. This was not the same store the event took place at (there are two locations), but I still snagged a signed copy of Virtuosity, and saw a lot of other signed YA books. I seriously had to hold back. This looks like the place to go for newer YA. They sell new books but there’s an upstairs bargain section where books are 30%-50% off. Also this is in a very nice, sort of touristy part of town with a lot of other interesting shops.

Rodgers Book Barn is a bookstore that is basically in someone’s barn. In the middle of nowhere. I discovered it because… you know, after randomly deciding we were going to stay in Great Barrington, MA the first night of our trip, I had to look for bookstores nearby. This one got awesome reviews from yelp: every single review was five stars. And I like a good adventure. My husband kept asking me if I was SURE I had the right address – (I did, it really is in the middle of nowhere), we got there 20 minutes to closing. Awesomely mazelike and full of books, this place mostly has general fiction and upstairs there are travel and children’s books, but the speculative fiction was only one shelf, and I saw no YA or romance. On the other hand, this is a used bookstore and the prices were *really cheap*. I found a copy of Boneshaker for $2.50.

Yellow House Books in Great Barrington – this is another used bookstore and I found the selection here to be skewed to the older books. There were a lot of what looked to me like very old copies of classics in every genre (no romance or YA really though).  It looked like the place to go if you were looking for an out of print, maybe hard -to-find book. As I was not (although I was tempted by some of the Tanith Lee books in the SF section), I didn’t really buy anything here. Like Oblong Books in Millerton, this was in a nice part of town with restaurants and specialty shops in close proximity.

And these are the buys so far:

  • Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (signed)
  • Lips Touch, Three Times by Laini Taylor
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
  • Virtousity by Jessica Martinez (signed)

Road trip to Boston: Harvard Bookstore

Ok, yes it’s true, whenever I travel and happen to see a bookstore, I KINDA go in. The Husband and I went on a roadtrip to Boston last weekend to go visit a couple of our friends who live up there (they just bought a place! I’m jealous of their attic which I can see being remodeled into a cool library). We also eat a lot on these trips, but since this is a *book* blog..I give you Harvard Bookstore:

This bookstore was pretty nice.. small compared to The Strand and Powells, but I liked the selection. It has a used and remainder book section in the basement (scifi/fantasy was only 2 shelves, no dedicated romance section, but the used copies seemed to be good condition copies and there was a good used YA section), and the new books upstairs.

The staff was also pretty friendly. I was looking for Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and I couldn’t find it. I ended up just buying a couple of bookmarks, but when I left the store, what do I see? Graceling on display in their window, with a sticker that says signed by the author! I popped back inside where the girl at the desk found me a autographed copy of my own AND said Kristin Cashore was doing an author event there November 24th at 7pm. Anyone in the Boston area who wants to see Kristin Cashore read from Fire should go. I have a volunteer who promises to go to Harvard Bookstore and get a book signed for me. Since I already have Fire signed (from BEA), I’m going to make him get Bitterblue when it comes out, heheh. Here’s the haul from the trip (I was good):

The bookmarks I bought are made out of stamps laminated together. I liked the fish ones from Manama, Dependency of Ajman, and the other ones are Boris Vallejo(!!) stamps from “Batum”. The Boris Vallejo ones tickled my fantasy reading sensibilities. If you’re interested in the sheet set it came from, click here.

Vacation in Oregon: Powell’s bookstore

OK, I’m in Portland, Oregon right now, which is the reason for the lack of posts from me lately. I could go on about the horrible delays getting here through Chicago on friday or how the airline lost our luggage, but all is soothed by going to bookstores.

Powell’s, the largest independent bookseller in the U.S, was one of my first stops here in Portland – this is the Powell’s City of Books location. I will not lie, my heart did beat faster when I saw the Powell’s sign. It’s like falling in love. It takes over a whole city block, has 9 (big) rooms on 4 floors. THERE IS A MAP for goodness sakes. And a few information booths throughout the store which I suspect is for all those people who get lost. I spent a few hours in here, happy as a clam on Saturday and again today. It’s in walking distance of my hotel. I’ve been really good though and haven’t bought much. Just 2 books, 2 book bags, and a t-shirt. I also picked up free stuff – Powell’s postcard, sticker, bookmark, newsletter, and map. I have plenty of time to go back (planning to get another t-shirt). If you spend $50 or more, they will ship the books back for you for free, which is good if you don’t want to bring it back in your luggage.


There’s a mix of new and used books all on the same shelves. The prices for used look like they’re around about 60% of new books. The sf and fantasy sections are quite awesome (4+ big rows next to the horror section which was about a row and a half) and I noticed that romance had paranormal romances split into a separate series of shelves, but I thought for such a popular genre, the romance section was pretty small (2 rows).

There’s a post in the “Gold Room” (genre fiction room) which has autographs of science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors who have visited Powell’s. I took pictures of all sides (plus a couple of close ups – Neil Gaiman , Robin Hobb and Elizabeth Moon):

Couple of links

I got a couple of interesting book related emails today.

1) Abebooks most expensive sales of 2008

Topping the list is an art book called Etudes à l'Eau-Forte with 25 plates by artist Seymour Hayden, which went for $17,216. Number 3 was a first edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which was signed by the cover artist, which fetched $12,874. Other interesting sales:

  • The Twilight series (all 4 books) – first editions, first printings and signed by the author – $4000
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – first edition, first printing – $6780
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding – first edition, proof copy – $9260
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm – first edition, first issue copy including 22 plates by George Cruikshank inside a clamshell box – $11,388

Click the link above to see more, I'm just giving you the ones I thought were interesting but there are several categories that Abebooks displays on that webpage. Moral of the story: it may pay to be a reader and to hold on to the first edition copies of books you love.

2) From bookcloseouts I got an email about their dollar for dollar sale. Don't hate me when you spend all your money.

"How it works: When you add books to your shopping cart, you may spend that same dollar amount on these 5000+ selected titles for FREE* For example: Buy $10 worth of books, put them in your shopping cart, and then go back to here and spend your $10 credit.

Please note (*) the following:

  • This promotion cannot be used in combination with any other promotion including coupons.
  • This promotion ends January 31, 2009.
  • "FREE" books are limited to the 5,000+ titles selected for this promotion
  • Some titles have limited quantities
  • Dollar for Dollar free product must be added to your shopping cart before you finalize your purchase
  • All free product will appear in BLUE in your shopping cart "

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Bookstores that support charitable works (and more contests online)

The Age of Kali
William Dalrymple

I got this book for mom for Christmas. It's SO HARD to shop for that woman. She will pretty much tell you off for spending money on her for something that you could get cheaper somewhere else on the planet (like Asia, despite the unlikeliness of you passing by there to shop). But this year, she actually told me to get her this book because she loves William Dalrymple's books on India and she hasn't read The Age of Kali yet. This made things easier for me until I decided to go buy it:

It's out of print!

And I waited till last week to order it (Thursday)!

Then ecampus emailed me on Monday (4 days later) to tell me they didn't have it and to cancel the order.

Arghghhhh.

Finally I found it elsewhere and ordered it Monday night. It arrived on Wednesday, which I'm really happy about. The store I got it from is the Housing Works Bookstore through Amazon, which also supports homeless New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Cool! I'm very pleased and recommend them. Shop their bookstore here.

Another place that you can go to to support worldwide literacy through your book buying is BetterWorld.com. I've bought books through them before and have been happy with the transactions. They also offer FREE shipping in the US. From their about us page:

All books are available with free shipping to any location within the United States (or $3.97 worldwide). And in case you’re concerned about your eco-footprint, every order is shipped carbon neutral with offsets from Carbonfund.org.


Ok so on to MORE online contests this week. Over at Reviewer X (a high school sophomore, so lots of YA books featured), Girl Week is going on. She has so much going on, I'm not sure she sleeps. She has 12 giveaways going on and a bunch of author interviews with Melissa Walker, Libba Bray, Megan McCafferty and a few others whose names are new to me. Good thing she has a table of contents with everything organized. This is the list of her contests (the first few are already over though):

1. Signed copy of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert (trade paperback)
2. Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee (ARC format – already released)
3. Win one of five TESS lip glosses (donated by Melissa Walker).
4. I Know It's Over by CK Kelly Martin (hardcover)
5. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (ARC format – already released)
6. Signed copy of Braless in Wonderland by Debbie Reed Fischer (hardcover)
7. Signed copy of Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher (hardcover)
8. Signed ARC of Willow by Julia Hoban (ARC format – out in April 09)
9. ARC of Triple Shot Bettys in Love by Jody Gehrman (ARC format – out on Jan 22nd, 09)
10. Signed set of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (all three books)
11. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (ARC format – already released) [contest over]
12. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (hardcover)
13. Signed Leftovers by Laura Wiess (trade paperback)
14. Signed Jessica Darling series, books 1-4, by Megan McCafferty (all four books)

I can say that I don't know most of these books but I thought Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings were keepers though they didn't make me want to go through High School again. I want to read the rest of the series. I also liked Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby but she's another author whose backlog I haven't had a chance to read yet. I also keep hearing good things about Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. I read the first book a few years ago but haven't read the other two.

I think this ends in a couple of days so get cracking and enter!

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