Monday, October 12, 2009

Libraries vs. Bookstores & Honorable Insight

Because I needed something to do while sick this weekend, I broke down the honorable mentions from 2008's Best Horror as selected by Ellen Datlow. My copy of the book should be somewhere between Delaware and my house (according to Amazon), but the full list of honorable mentions is available here.

If anyone is curious like I am, you can download the list of all markets receiving 5 or more mentions in PDF here. I listed everything periodical as a "magazine" (even though some consider themselves quarterly anthologies), anything available online as "online", and multi-author collections..."anthologies". These numbers don't reflect stories actually reprinted in the anthology. Black Static was the big winner with 20 mentions. Gives one some idea of the markets receiving notice.

On Sunday afternoon, after watching the Cheifs lose (again...but hey, overtime baby), I took a trip to the library. Lovely thing, libraries. I picked up a few books to read (great display of horror/dark fiction for the Halloween season), and even placed a hold on a book not yet on the shelf (a scholarly work about monster mythology).

Then I went to the book store (Borders, in this case). Blah.

The library always fills me with hope and wonder...so many books...so quiet.

The books store? So many stacks of Glenn Beck books (ugh. How did he get away with posing in a pseudo-nazi uniform anyway?)...so few books I actually wanted to find. Can I help you? the employee asked. Yes--show me the door.

I've expressed my love of used book stores before (more like the library, really). I feel much the same way about independents, but it will be some time before you find me in a "big box" chain again.

17 comments:

katey said...

I COMPLETELY agree. I love the library, when I go in I never want to leave. But book stores? Unless they're used or fearlessly indie, get me the fuck out of there. All those books, and not a damn thing to read.

I was really sad about the Chiefs. Mostly because I always want Dallas to lose, but also because I think the Chiefs are pretty good this year, and one likes to see the not-obvious guy do well. (I won't call 'em underdogs, but you know.)

Sundays are awesome.

abrokenlaptop said...

I'm running out today to snag a copy of World War Z (Max Brooks is in town on Friday!) and I can't wait to browse the book store. My favorite local book store just closed down, which is too bad. I like to support the indies as much as I can.

Loved your 52 Stitches Trailer! Also, my friends are getting the first 52 Stitches book for Christmas. :)

-Mercedes

Cate Gardner said...

We don't have any independent bookstores in Liverpool and our local library closed. A terrible state for one of England's major cities.

Jamie Eyberg said...

We have a very small library and the nearest bookstore is over an hour away. Lucky for me I have the interweb thingy and I can order to my hearts content. Now, if I had the cash to support my habit. . .

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - The Cheifs are getting better. Kansas City's problem is all offensive line. People tend to overlook the line, but it's sooo important. A good offense helps your defense. Okay. Enough football (for now).

Mercedes - Enjoy World War Z (funny stuff). And yay for the stitches!

Cate - Wow. Yikes. I'm a little in shock. The library closed? Oh...

Jamie - Another vote for the internet!

Barry Napier said...

1 - I was pulling for the Chiefs because I hate the Cowboys. (Of course, being a Redskins fan, I will be booing you from VA this coming weekend).

2 - I am SO torn about bookstores...Barnes and Noble in particular. I so want to hate them but the mixture of coffee scents and book scents is too much to fight off. And when I have to pass by the Glen Beck or Limbaugh sections, I simply just really hope I can manage a nice fart...

Aaron Polson said...

Barry - 1. C'mon man, we need a win. Just one. Please.

2. I turned around all the copies of Glenn Beck's latest at Wal-Mart on Saturday. My son asked me why. Good question kid. Of course, Beck's ugly mug was on the back, too.

katey said...

You're totally right about the line though. It was a huge problem for my Steelers for the last few years (they can blame Roethlisberger all they want, but that moving around and holding the ball is what wins them games), and it's so frustrating. Thank god, this year it's better...

And the defense, of all freaking things, sucks now that the offensive line is sorted out. I miss Polamalu, and not just for his pretty hair :/

Er, but yeah. Books. I love books!

Natalie L. Sin said...

BORDERS really vary depending on where you go *sigh* I"m lucky to live near pretty good ones, and the Cafe is very good to me ; ) The caffeine in me rejoices.

That said, I love the smell of a used book fair : ) Nothing like finding an old copy of a book with a killer cover. The old Stephen King ones are the best!

BT said...

I think the differences between here and there has a lot to do with population size (300mil - 22mil). We have very few old book stores - they are truly rare diamonds to be cherished, but often they are presented more as someone's old book collection sitting in a disheveled manner in a rented space - dark, dusty, inviting, with a scent of old leather they are not! Our libraries tend to be fairly small and uninviting places as well.

Not all (I stress), but most are this way. I envy writers in the US for the access you have to these things, and I envy writers in Europe (inc the UK) for the history and access to some of the world's best scenery. I love Australia, and little old Adelaide in particular, but there are big drawbacks.

Enough crap. Thanks heaps for the PDF link - very useful.

K.C. Shaw said...

I get discouraged in book stores too. The selection is never any good. I was at Borders this weekend and couldn't find anything I wanted to read. The two books I did pick up to look at turned out to be later volumes in a series, and of course the store didn't have the first volumes in either. But the Twilight books take up about twenty feet of shelf space.

I love libraries. When I was in my 20s and completely broke, I would walk to the big downtown library on really cold days and spend the whole day browsing and reading. It was so cozy and restful in the library (and my apartment was always fricking freezing).

wdprescott said...

I envy everyone who has and indy store or a decent library. Here in Southern Jersey, there is nothing. Luckily, I have found two amazing used bookstores. But It doesn't help with anything published after the mid 90's.

So, while everytime I go into a Borders and B&N and start making remarks to myself about how they have books in the completely wrong section or table display, they are the only places that I can go to to get new releases other than Horror Mall or Amazon.

Alan W. Davidson said...

We don't have BORDERS here. There are only 3 outlets for new books in St. John's (a Coles, a Chapters and Costco). That leaves libraries and a few used book stores.

Michael Stone said...

I'm reeling at Cate's revelations above. No library! No indie bookstore! Stoke on Trent is one of the poorest cities in the UK, but we have over ten libraries, and most of them are huge and well-stocked. And the best bookstore is an indie, but price-wise they can't compete with Amazon or the supermarkets, which makes me wonder how longer they'll keep going.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - vintage covers rawk.

BT - The grass is green, not always greener. If that means anything.

KC - I used to hang out in the stacks when I lived in the dorm for two years. I'd rather be crushed by books than people, I guess.

WD - Online shopping has been the savior of many niches. Thanks for stopping by.

Alan - Let's not forget the scenery. "The Rock" has cornered the market on scenery.

Mike - Same here. I was a little stunned, but with the rate the world has devalued "literary" reading...

Jameson T. Caine said...

I think I love any place loaded with books, be it a super size Barnes and Noble or a squeeze in, hole in the wall shop with used books. The big chain stores drive me nuts cuz I nearly run from one section to another, drooling at all the various books on history and science that I'd love to have. Then I hit the science fiction/fantasy section and I go bonkers. Used book stores are like searching for buried treasure. You never know what older (and possibly OOP) titles one may find.

Aaron Polson said...

Jameson - I think my problem is our Borders is wide open and sections like fantasy are over-loaded with like 50 copies of Tolkien and little else. The Hastings (a smaller, regional chain that sells music, video, and books) carries a better selection of genre fiction.