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November 28, 2006

For When You're Shopping Your Brains Out: A Bookseller Pimp Thread

I'm not saying that you're planning on putting The Android's Dream on your holiday shopping lists, or even that you should, although, clearly, if you don't, we'll have to sell Athena to the salt mines, and with her bad neck and all, how long will she last? Really? However. If you are thinking of putting TAD on your holiday lists, it may interest you to know that Mysterious Galaxy Books and Clarkesworld Books both have signed copies of the book, awaiting purchase.

This will save you the hassle of trying to track me down and/or fending off a large hunting dog when you step onto our premises to get an autograph. Mind you, Kodi doesn't want to tear out the soft flesh of your neck, but what choice to you give her, when you step onto her lawn? You see how it is. I'm trying to protect you, is what I'm saying.

As long as I'm doing shoutouts to booksellers, I'll note Borderlands Books also has the book in stock (albeit not signed), and I think they rock, so if you're in the Bay area, or just want your book to come from people who love the books they sell like darling, living things, then you know where to shop.

Since I've pimped a three booksellers, and three is the magic number, I hereby declare this a bookseller pimp thread. Surely there are other totally awesome booksellers that you like and enjoy on a regular basis, wherever it is that you are, so tell us about them. If they have a Web site, link away, although remember more than one link per comment and your entry will get shunted into moderation and will have to be released by me (and of course, if you are a bookseller, feel free to self-pimp). Heck, the bookseller doesn't even have to have any of my books in stock, although if they don't, that's just one more step toward the salt mines for Athena. You know what I'm saying, here.

Posted by john at November 28, 2006 02:34 PM

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Tim Akers | November 28, 2006 02:51 PM

I get the impression that you're holding your daughter hostage for our book-buying dollars. Or, in my case, book buying DOLLAR.

Ohako | November 28, 2006 02:52 PM

All you Boston-area folks out there!

Come visit Pandemonium Books & Games! We're moved into comfortable _big_ new digs in Central Square, right off of Mass Ave. We've got The Android's Dream in stock (probably). I bought it, laughed like a maniac on the subay, and got several other people interested in the book (and many more just looked at me funny).

Anyway, here's the website.

Tim Walker | November 28, 2006 02:58 PM

Not one, not two, but *three* bits of bookseller pimpology here. (Watch me make our host slave over the moderating queue with my wanton use of links!)

Biggest/baddest bookstore in Austin (or Texas, for that matter) = BookPeople. Lots and lots of books, well more than yer average chain book superstore, spread across two floors. Lots of cool author events, comfy places to sit, kids' events, etc., etc. A community institution, really, plus they just put in a new REI next door, and it's across the street from the Whole Foods mothership.

New UT campus-area fave: Follett's Intellectual Property. Brainy books galore, and it's just across the corner from the Texas Union. Plus, they have a really cool frequent-buyer program.

My favorite bookstore in North America: Tattered Cover. I go to the big five-story one in the Cherry Creek area every time I'm in Denver.

Sam | November 28, 2006 03:07 PM

So the book is out, I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday to read it for free(yes I said free, I'm getting married next yr and I was told that I'm not allowed to spend my own money so during my 1 hr break I go to Barnes across the street and read science fiction, Sorry John dems da breaks) and it wasn't even in stock.

Travis | November 28, 2006 03:16 PM

In Minneapolis, Uncle Hugos and Uncle Edgars is the place to go for SF&F and Mystery.

Dreamhaven in Uptown is also pretty good.

D. Paul | November 28, 2006 03:22 PM

Well, I'm not sure if they have TAD in stock (although I'd imagine they do, 'cause they're hip like that), but I'll give a shout out to The Cloak & Dragon in northwestern PA. It's a cute little shop, that's conveniently situated right next to a mouthwatering chocolate shoppe. How awesome is that?

grumpator | November 28, 2006 03:39 PM

Pimping Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ. Not only do they have The Android's Dream in stock, they are also accepting preorders for upcoming Works of Scalzi.

KevinQ | November 28, 2006 03:43 PM

One of the websites I like for book purchases is Pricenoia. It compares the prices for the book you're looking for at all of the various international Amazon stores. It only looks within the Amazon empire, so it's not good for people who like to buy from smaller booksellers.

However, it is good for people who like rare or hard-to-find books, or who want to like to get books by British writers before they come out in the states. (Like me.)

But, for the record, if you're in Canada and looking for a copy of The Android's Dream, you can save CDN$1.29 by picking it up from Amazon.com instead of Amazon.ca.


DocJones | November 28, 2006 04:03 PM

I'll second the Dreamhaven pimp. Everytime I'm in Minneapolis I spend way too much money there. Also incidently, it's apparently Neil Gaiman's favorite store. He stops in there a lot. I never have been lucky enough to see him there though.

BTW Travis, your link to the other store seems to be broken. If you could fix it I'd be much obliged. Can never have too many good bookstores to visit. Especially when you're stuck in a town without any.

Audrey | November 28, 2006 04:08 PM

I just bought a copy of TAD at Powell's on my lunch break. They've been my favorite bookstore since I was a kid. I don't know why the idea of stocking used books side-by-side with the new ones doesn't catch on everywhere.

Jeff Hentosz | November 28, 2006 04:23 PM

1) I'm sure there's some job Athena could do — I don't know, pick sharpening? — on a stool. Cooking porridge for the other children shouldn't be too strenuous, either.

2) Barnes & Noble at Easton in Columbus not only has signed TAD and OMW, they also have signed Rough Guide to the Universe and Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies.

Dr. Phil | November 28, 2006 04:44 PM

In Grand Rapids and Lansing MI, Schuler Books & Music has four stores, two in each city, plus a website. I glanced there just now and they're doing shipping for a buck a book on the website.

And yes, they're chock full of John Scalzi, including links for all his stuff yet to come, such as The Sagan Diaries (hard and soft). Hey, they even have Northwest Passages: A Cascadian Anthology, where I have a short story, "The Pulse of the Sea." (grin)

Dr. Phil

Jeff Porten | November 28, 2006 04:45 PM

Actually, the immediate mental image I had was of Athena singing and dancing to entertain the salt miners after a hard day.

I've visited salt mines, and for some reason they're a concept I've never been able to get my head around. "We're going to dig into the planet for a special rock, which will drive the world's economy for millennia, and which you will sprinkle on your food." Not that salt farms make any more sense, I suppose.

Imani | November 28, 2006 05:30 PM

Three cheers for Wordsworth Books the best (ok, the only) independent bookstore in Waterloo, ON! The store space is small but the selection is excellent. Poetry gets a fair shake in the displays; they stock books and other items (like journals or bookmarkers) created by Canadians (including a lot of locals); and the workers there know books and a lot of what's going on in the literary blog world. Chances are they'll have the latest Litblog Co-op pick along with a few other books enthusiastically supported by bloggers. And they treat their regulars very well.

With several cafes within walking distance, including Starbucks and Timothy's along with great locally owned spots there's no longer an excuse to spend all your money at the soul-less Chapters up the street. The only thing 98% of the employers know about books is where they are stocked in the store and that you shouldn't carry unpurchased stock into the connected Starbucks.

Steve Buchheit | November 28, 2006 05:34 PM

Well, yeah , I guess there are no more wandering gypsies to sell children to. And circuses (circusi?) have strict hiring practices these days. So to the Salt Mines it would be. There's no nunneries when you need them, and they don't pay well anymore anyway.

They tried Salt Farming around here, growing crystals and such. The Sea Monkeys kept mucking up the works, and then the local deer population got wind of it. It wasn't a pretty scene.

Joel Finkle | November 28, 2006 06:09 PM

We'd love to sell your books, but they're just a wee tad more mature than the YA books we market at

Have you had any ideas for books for the YA market?

John Scalzi | November 28, 2006 06:11 PM

Some. I'll be talking to Tor about them at some point. I did write several chapters of a YA a number of years ago, but it never went anywhere, and looking back at it I don't think it's good enough to shop.

Armchair Anarchist | November 28, 2006 06:58 PM

For the benefit of UK readers, y'all should be hooking up your genre fiction and related book-type needs from The Aust Gate, which is an online store maintained by one Iain Emsley, who used to be my reviews editor at Interzone, and is an all-round decent bloke.

Athena will be pleased to know that Aust Gate can order us unfortunate Brits a US hardback of tAD, even though we've been told that we shouldn't buy US imports because it damages the chances of authors getting distribution over here ...

Dan | November 28, 2006 08:44 PM

I already bought a copy for a friend who said he'd never buy a science fiction novel. It's not that he's snobby or anything. It's just not a genre he really investigates, but he did love Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, so I'll let you know what he thinks of TAD.

CaseyL | November 28, 2006 09:13 PM

Seattle has beaucoup independent booksellers, but my favorite is the main Third Place Books up in Lake Forest Park.

It's huge. It stocks used-and-new together like Powell's, along with a special section in the back for really cheap books - old backlist, used books in quirky genres, oddments galore. Third Place hosts readings, and has knowledgeable friendly sales staff that's happy to chatter away with you about favorite writers, genres, whatever.

And and and: it has a food court right next to it (including a Honey Bear Bakery!) so you can take your purchases, buy a meal or a snack, and camp out at a table for as long as you want to eat, drink and read. Plus there's a small stage and audience area for live music, more readings, and local poetry clubs.

I've spent nearly entire days there. I'm terrified to go in, though: on my really good, iron willed days, I can keep my purchases down to 4 or 5 books. Then there are the days I stagger to the cash register with 7 or more.

COD | November 28, 2006 09:22 PM

I bought it at Borders in Fredericksburg VA about 2 hours ago. They had 4 or 5 on the shelf. When I checked out they told me I had $16 available on the club card. I hope the wife wasn't saving those for something. After that and the coupon, my out of pocket was about $1.50. Deal of the century :)

Chang, who gets nothing done without caffeine | November 28, 2006 10:25 PM

Longfellow Books Portland Maine!

Chris Bowe is my man! He was my former boss, now he's the man!

Gotta love a fiesty independent bookseller who isn't afaid to tell someone looking for a big box store to go to HELL!

chris. | November 28, 2006 11:36 PM

I, too, want to highly recommend The Cloak & Dragon in Bloomsburg, PA. And am somewhat, tho' pleasantly, surprised that D. Paul (or anyone, really) beat me to it -- someone else who knows this little bookstore in this little town! The women there are friendly and helpful, and always seem to remember me even tho' i moved to Seattle in 2001. A clarification, however: The Cloak & Dragon isn't anywhere near the Erie (i.e., NW) corner of the state, but is more central (and somewhat east-ish). Bloomsburg's a neat small town (bias alert! it's near my hometown and is also where i finished college!) that makes a nice stopping point off I-80 while driving across PA.

As a Seattleite, i also second CaseyL's suggestion of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. My personal favorite, tho', is University Bookstore -- Duane does a great job with the sf/f section, especially about pulling authors in for readings.

PixelFish | November 28, 2006 11:56 PM

Somewhere in the Bay Area are a copy of Old Man's War and Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards! floating around aimlessly. I purchased them for a friend, and then he accidently left them in his hotel room. :( Alas, there was no retrieving them....so guess what I'll probably be sending him for Xmas. Nobody can say I didn't do my part, because I'm buying OMW TWICE for at least one friend.

Djscman | November 29, 2006 01:19 AM

I'll grudgingly second Travis and DocJones' Minneapolis suggestions. DreamHaven is great for books, comics, etc. Uncle Hugo's is like a cross between a bookstore, a library, and a museum of rare books. (Uncle Edgar's is in the same building and focuses on mysteries.) But if you're downtown, you could try the Barnes & Noble across from the IDS. I--uh, I mean, this guy I know works there, and he got his hands on three copies of TAD. They're nicely front-faced in the second-floor SF/F section. He--uh, I mean, I just finished reading it last night, by the way. I--I mean, he will probably put it on the "staff recommendation" list after the holidays, and after he takes care of hi-muh-his stuttering problem.

Q | November 29, 2006 07:17 AM

Hee! Tickled to see a few votes of confidence for Dreamhaven in Minneapolis... I was just thinking to myself that I really don't have any local favorite small books stores here in Maine, but I was wondering to myself if Dreamhaven was still around. Was my favorite one when I went to school at the U of M... they had a shop in Dinkytown near the U as well as the Uptown shop.

Also, anyone in Seattle area care to help jog my addled memory? I recall a wonderful bookstore that I visited several times... but I don't remember exactly where... nor do I remember its name... the extra cool thing about it though was that it had several resident cats wandering around that would often sit with you and allow you to pet them while you read from a book... they also had a cool little system of (literally) catwalks near the ceiling and between the bookshelves that the cats could traverse... Can't believe I can't remeber a name or specific location... then again, its been 8 years since I lived in Seattle...

Michelle | November 29, 2006 07:30 AM

Hey Scalzi, thanks for pimping those booksellers. I was tickled by the idea of a signed copy of anything you've written, so I checked out Clarkes. They offered the best shipping to Canada, i.e., $8 instead of $20 (ouch). So I'm actually going to be receiving a hardcover, signed (woot) version of TAD (and I NEVER buy hardcover full price!). I decided to treat myself ot a signed copy of OMW as well. Whooooo.

I can't wait!

Brad | November 29, 2006 08:42 AM

"if you don't, we'll have to sell Athena to the salt mines"

That is so wrong! Shame on you! It's wrong because:

A. You're a 'Sci-fi' author (shameless pigeon hole - wink wink). Therefore you're supposed to sell her to the 'Radium Mines'. Barsoom princesses don't just grow on trees you know. Someone has to put them up for grabs so they can be rescued.

B. You'll net a much higher profit from selling her to a Radium mine. (So, she'll glow in the dark later, and possibly grow a third arm. But that'll just make her more 'handy'.)


P.S. I checked the local 'Little Professors' Book store (and the owners are fans of yours), and they had OMW - but no copies of Ghost or Robot. I'm deeply tramatized. Hopefully Santa can work some of his magic for me before Xmas eve. :)

Jim | November 29, 2006 08:59 AM

I moved to Rhode Island from the Binghamton NY area eleven years ago and to this day I miss Fat Cat Books on Main St. in Johnson City. Brian and Betsy Perry started Fat Cat Books at least thirty years ago with science fiction and fantasy books, comic books, and game stuff. On the Web at http://www.fatcatbooks.net

One time back in the late seventies a whole bunch (i.e. about two dozen) of us got together on WorldCon weekend and declared that we were constituting the Binghamton Area WorldCon and went to a Szechuan restaurant and ordered lots of hot and spicy food to pass around and share and then went to Brian & Betsy's house for a marathon session of drinking and talking and debating...

Of course anyone who lives in that area probably already knows about it and shops there... but if you live in the NY's Southern Tier region and have never been to Fat Cat Books, you should do yourself a favor and check it out.

Ron | November 29, 2006 10:18 AM

I bought TAD yesterday, on amazon.ca. Couldn't find it at the local bookstore giants. I came to this blog originally because of Bacon Cat, and liked it, so I figured your book might be worthwhile. So, maybe you could claim bacon on your tax return as a business expense.

John Scalzi | November 29, 2006 10:28 AM

I think my accountant's head would explode. Which might make it worth doing.

chris. | November 29, 2006 11:08 AM

Q, sounds like you're thinking of one of the Twice Sold Tales (used books only, i believe). There are at least 3 locations that i've visited -- Capitol Hill, U-District, and Fremont -- and i believe they all have cats. Tho' i think it's the one on Cap Hill that has the overpass catwalks constructed on top of the bookcases.

RooK | November 29, 2006 12:06 PM

Audrey said:

I just bought a copy of TAD at Powell's on my lunch break. They've been my favorite bookstore since I was a kid. I don't know why the idea of stocking used books side-by-side with the new ones doesn't catch on everywhere.

Indeed, Powell's main store in downtown Portland Oregon is truly the finest bookstore I've ever seen. It's an entire city block of books, with a science fiction and fantasy section the size of a regular bookstore.

Andrew Cory | November 29, 2006 03:54 PM

Cody's Books in San Francisco also has copies. And a staff full of geeks...

Steve | November 29, 2006 04:07 PM

I get the feeling I may be the only one pimping anything in Delaware, but as I get all my best books from Between Books hand picked by the owner Greg Schauer, I hereby pimp my favorite bookstore and favorite bookstore owner. And, yes, I got TAD from Greg, so feel free to blame my interest on him. He probably won't mind. There is a website, but ah... It's not quite fit for human consumption yet. The less said about that the better. Moving on...

Peter Ahlstrom | November 29, 2006 07:45 PM

I'm a big fan of Books&Co. in Kettering, OH. (The old store. There's a new, bigger one up the street, but I haven't been back home to Ohio (Fairborn) in a while.) Lots of books, but a low ceiling and an organic store layout, not just a huge box with shelves on the floor. A very friendly place. They got bought by Books-A-Million a few years back but have kept their charm, and the fact that the new store uses that name instead of Books-A-Million (which is a name utterly lacking in charm if you ask me) attests to its local reputation.


They had a great science fiction month years and years ago with a short story contest, a scarf-knitting contest, and all sorts of signings including my first introduction to Lois McMaster Bujold. In the early 90s I would ride my bike there (12.7 miles each way) every other Saturday or so and just hang out.

Madeline F | November 29, 2006 07:55 PM

I saw the BBC miniseries of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People over Thanksgiving and was on a mission of deepest urgency to get the books so I could continue wallowing in that awesome world. (OMG!)

Borders in the Emeryville Public Market did not have TTSS. Aa! What is the use of a big box bookstore if it does not have such basic things! Moe's in Berkeley did not have it either. Shakespeare's in Berkeley, ditto. I paused momentarily. Was I to be forced to wait a week for a book off the internet?

Never! I continued on. There was a Barnes and Noble on Shattuck. It had many Le Carre books. There, at the end of the shelf: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy! Joy! Book!

Across the street, at Pegasus: gazoodles of used Le Carre, extremely cheap! Now I have Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and The Honourable Schoolboy as well! And they gave me double buyer points this month. Pegasus: small, but cheap and friendly!

...Er. On previewing, I note that I sound extremely excited. I can only hold in my defense that the BBC TTSS and Smiley's People miniseries are among the most excellent miniseries possible. (Alec Guinness! Amazing British character actors!)

Jude | November 29, 2006 11:10 PM

Thanks so much for the kind mention, John! We are returning the favor in the store by mentioning TAD to anyone who will hold still long enough, and several people who haven't. Seriously -- we have a stack in the New Arrivals section, some copies on Staff Picks, and one on the counter to force on innocent passers-by. Ripley thanks you, too, for helping to keep her in kibble!

Marianne | November 29, 2006 11:32 PM

I am nobly refraining from pimping my most-favorite bookstore, the one where I work, and shall instead pimp the undersung White Dwarf Books in Vancouver, BC. They are my go-to place for all the Canadian/British/Australian sf&fantasy that is really hard to get in the States, AND the few times I have been there in person they were really nice and smart, AND they have a store basset hound. Now I want a basset hound. Anyway, yay White Dwarf! (PS I just checked and yes, they are selling The Android's Dream.)

handdrummer | November 30, 2006 04:52 AM

I'll shamelessly pimp my own shop, Webster's Bookstore Cafe in State College, PA. We're the last independent bookshop left here. We stock around 75 thousand used books with thousands of used SF paperbacks, mysteries, lots of history and other scholarly stuff as well. We stock a couple of thousand new book titles, including Mr. Scalzi's.

Great coffee, good books, and world music on the sound system. Can't go wrong.

Nancy | November 30, 2006 01:09 PM

The Tattered Cover in Denver, all 5 floors of it, moved to a new, smaller location on Capitol Hill. However, it spawned stores in Downtown and Highlands Ranch. In any of the stores, it's still the same great stock; great service and hang around and read all day place.

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