January 12, 2017

Sponsorships for 2017

by Alan Beatts

At the beginning of 2015 Borderlands was getting ready to close.  San Francisco voters had passed an increase in the minimum wage that was going to end the financial viability of the store, probably by the middle of July that year.  If not at that point, then the second increase scheduled for July of this year was certainly going to do the job.  Although I and the rest of the staff strongly support minimum wage laws in general and we suspected that San Francisco's local increase would be generally positive for the city as a whole, we were trapped by the idiosyncrasy of the book business.  Unlike most products, books have a price printed on them. That makes the usual business solution of increasing prices to cover higher expenses impossible for us.  Rather than ride the business down into the grave, I and the rest of the staff decided it was better to close quickly, at the time of our choosing and at the top of our game.

Our customers were very much opposed to this and, out of their comments & suggestions and in consultation with the staff, we decided to try an experiment.  We would ask that a minimum of 300 people sponsor the store for $100 each.  If that many people were willing, it would offset the added expense of the wage increases that were scheduled to raise the wage to $15 per hour by the middle of next year.  Since that increased expense would be on-going, a basic assumption was that the sponsorship would need to recur each year.

We outlined a few benefits that we could offer sponsors at little or no cost to the business, and then announced the program.  It was an almost immediate success and, last year, we succeeded again.  And now, the new year has rolled around and we once again need sponsors. 2015 ended with 844 sponsors.  In 2016 the count was 679.  Of course, a drop from year one to year two was expected. When closing seemed imminent, people were impassioned and enthusiastic to support us (and I'm grateful to every one of them) but, a year later, some of those people were bound to conclude that they'd made their contribution and it was time to move on to other worthy causes.

What I'm hoping is that we can match the number from last year, or at least come close to it. That will be a sign that what we've created is sustainable over the long term.  If the numbers continue to drop, the long-term prognosis won't be known until the numbers stop dropping (or, we'll know when we fail to meet 300 and close).

Upcoming Events

Shaenon Garrity, SKIN HORSE VOL. 6 (Trade Paperback, $14.00) Release Party on Saturday, January 14th at 3:00pm

Writers With Drinks with authors Jeff Chang, Jennifer Dronsky, Antonio Garcia-Martinez, Aya de Leon, and Wendy C. Ortiz at The Make Out Room on Saturday, January 14 at 6:30pm

Black Comix Arts Festival at the San Francisco Public Library on Sunday, January 15th starting at 12:00 pm

Alex Lamb, ROBOTEER (Trade Paperback, Gollancz, $13.99) on Saturday, January 21st at 3:00pm

Laura Anne Gilman, THE COLD EYE (Hardcover, Saga Press, $27.99) on Sunday, January 22nd at 3:00pm

SF in SF with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday, January 22nd at 6:30pm

Ellen Klages, PASSING STRANGE (Trade Paperback, Tor.com, $14.99) on Saturday, January 28th at 3:00pm

Laurel Anne Hill, THE ENGINE WOMAN'S LIGHT on Saturday, February 4th at 3:00pm

Women in Horror event with Rena Mason, Lisa Morton, Kate Jonez, & Loren Rhoads on Sunday, February 5th at 3:00pm

Coming up later this year, we're thrilled to welcome Meg Elison, Erike Lewis and Veronica Rossi, Joe R. Lansdale, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi, and many, many other excellent writers!

December Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1. BABYLON'S ASHES by James S.A. Corey 
2. ARCANUM UNBOUNDED by Brandon Sanderson  
3. REJECTED PRINCESSES by Jason Porath 
4. MISTBORN (Leatherbound Special Edition) by Brandon Sanderson
5. PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling
6. INVISIBLE PLANETS edited by Ken Liu
7. FANTASTIC BEAST AND WHERE TO FIND THEM By J.K. Rowling, 
8. ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders
9. CROSSTALK by Connie Willis
10. DEATH'S END by Cixin Liu

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu
2. LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey
3. STORIES OF YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS by Ted Chiang
4. THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin
5. THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES by Ken Liu
6. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey
7. NORMAL by Warren Ellis
8. THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT by Seth Dickinson
9. THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman
10. JUST ONE DAMNED THING AFTER ANOTHER by Jodi Taylor

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
2. GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
3. THE WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss
4. LEAGUE OF DRAGONS by Naomi Novik
5. DISSIDENCE by Ken MacLeod
6. AMERICAN GODS: TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Neil Gaiman
7. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
8. NIGHT'S MASTER by Tanith Lee
9. INSURGENCE by Ken MacLeod
10. MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson

January News

* Despite any number of people (including the author of the law, who failed to be re-elected in November, and an ill-informed commenter on our blog), saying, in essence; "Oh, don't worry about it -- it's not meant to affect books", California's AB1570 autograph law is being taken seriously by publishers.  Easton Press, publisher of lovely, leather-bound editions of classics, is no longer shipping signed copies of Neil Gaiman's OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE to California.  So, yeah, it's a really stupid law - http://eurekabooksellers.com/repeal-californias-autograph-law-ab1570/.

* Overheard in the store:
"I wish the cyberpunk dystopia that we actually live in had more ninjas and day-glo colors."

* Rest in peace, dear Carrie Fisher.  Actress.  Writer.  Feminist.  Icon.  Jedi. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/arts/carrie-fisher-a-princess-a-rebel-and-a-brave-comic-voice.html

December 09, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide

by Jude Feldman

Winter has well and truly come to San Francisco, which means that we're now hitting a (for the City) quite chilly 42 degrees at night.  Definitely the perfect time for curling up with hot cocoa and a good book, and for picking up some great books for holiday gifts.  We here present our usual Opinionated Gift Guide to help you out.  However, we're always happy to make custom suggestions for you or anyone in your life.  We'll even wrap 'em for you!  (A special note to those of you purchasing presents: we're happy to gift wrap upon request, although our typical caveats apply: first, if we're busy, you may have to wait a bit to have things wrapped, and, second, some staff members are MUCH better than others at it.  It is possible that your package may resemble a brightly wrapped Lovecraft-ian, batrachian, rugose, Thing of No Human Shape.  For some customers, this is not a problem . . ."better than I can do!," they say. However, if you are concerned about our, ahem, abilities, we're also happy to just hand you the gift wrap, scissors and tape.)

Let's start with some awesome signed books.  We have signed copies of brand-new ARCANUM UNBOUNDED and ELANTRIS, THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Brandon Sanderson, BABYLON'S ASHES by James S.A. Corey, FEEDBACK by Mira Grant, pretty much everything including all three of the VELVETEEN books by Seanan McGuire, GHOST TALKERS by Mary Robinette Kowal, most of the Sandman Slim books by Richard Kadrey, a handful of signed Dan Wells titles including the just-released EXREME MAKEOVER, BLOOD MIRROR by Brent Weeks, IMPRUDENCE by Gail Carriger, SNOWED by Maria Alexander, A BLADE OF BLACK STEEL by Alex Marshall, and so many, many more.

Upcoming Events

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Northern California Holiday Party on Saturday, December 10th from 2:00 - 4:00pm

James S. A. Corey, BABYLON'S ASHES (Hardcover, Orbit, $27.00) on Saturday, December 10th at 5:00pm

Shaenon Garrity, SKIN HORSE VOL. 6 (Trade Paperback, Couscous Collective, $14.00) on Saturday, January 14th at 3:00pm.

November Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1. ARCANUM UNBOUNDED by Brandon Sanderson
2. REJECTED PRINCESSES by Jason Porath
3. GHOST TALKERS by Mary Robinette Kowal
4. INVISIBLE PLANETS edited by Ken Liu
5. PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling
6. CROSSTALK by Connie Willis
7. DEATH’S END by Cixin Liu
8. THE BLOOD MIRROR by Brent Weeks
9. GOLDENHAND by Garth Nix
10. ALIEN MORNING by Rick Wilber

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
2. ROMANCING THE INVENTOR by Gail Carriger
3. STORIES OF YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS by Ted Chiang
4. THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin
5. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey
6. MYSTIC by Jason Denzel
7. CYBER WORLD edited by Jason Heller and Joshua Viola
8. THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES by Ken Liu
9. EXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION by Dan Wells
10. THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. BREAK THE CHAINS by Megan E. O’Keefe
2. MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson
3. AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson
4. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
5. AMERICAN GODS: TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Neil Gaiman
6. THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King
7. WILLFUL CHILD by Steven Erikson
8. EMPIRE ASCENDANT by Kameron Hurley
9. ONCE BROKEN FAITH by Seanan McGuire
10. THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley

December News

* Overheard in the store:

"Alright, then! Let's hear it for characters that aren't dumb!"

"It's a fire-juggling Santa-clown.  I hate clowns but I love fire.  I'm kind of having a crisis right now."

"Gee, who knew that writers were so moist?"

"I wish the cyberpunk dystopia that we actually live in had more ninjas and Day-Glo colors."

* Please help keep SF in SF at the American Bookbinders' Museum.  We've been working with SF in SF (Science Fiction in San Francisco) for a decade now, and they are wonderful people who have presented dozens of brilliant authors.  We received the following from Madeleine Robins; local author, sponsor, and Operations Manager for the ABM: ". . .[I]n 2016 the ABM became the new home for SF in SF, hosting eleven monthly readings and discussions in our beautiful museum space.  We hope to be the program's home for 2017 and beyond, but to do so we are asking for your support.  The ABM is a relatively new museum, filled with equipment, archives, and ephemera that tells the history of bookbinding--particularly of binding and the innovations of the Industrial Revolution.  In addition to telling this story, the American Bookbinders Museum is committed to supporting the book community in the Bay Area: this year, in addition to SF in SF, we have hosted events for Litquake, Quiet Lightning, and the Lantern Review.  In order to continue doing so, and to continue to provide programming to reach and enrich our community, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses. . . ." If you'd like to help support the American Bookbinders Museum and help ensure a home for SF in SF, you can use this link to donate to the ABM: http://bookbindersmuseum.org/support/donate/?mc_cid=4720e1f973&mc_eid=48692d0e31

November 07, 2016

November Upcoming Events

Chris Roberson, FIREWALK (Night Shade Books, Hardcover, $24.99) on Saturday, November 12th at 2:00pm

Megan E. O'Keefe, BREAK THE CHAINS (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) on Sunday, November 13th at 1:00pm

Mary Robinette Kowal, GHOST TALKERS (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) on Sunday, November 13th at 3:00pm

SF in SF with authors Nick Mamatas and Rick Wilber (at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina, San Francisco) on Sunday, November 13th at 6:30pm

CYBER WORLD (Hex Publishers, Trade Paperback, $14.99) event with Richard Kadrey, Aaron Lovett, Josh Viola, Isabel Yap, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro on Saturday, November 19th at 2:00pm

Dan Wells, EXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) on Saturday, November 19th at 5:00pm

Richard Lupoff, WHERE MEMORY HIDES: A WRITER'S LIFE (Bold Venture Press, Trade Paperback (Black & White Edition), $22.95, and Trade Paperback (Collector's Color Edition), $49.95) on Sunday, November 20th at 3:00pm

Jason Denzel, MYSTIC (Tor Books, Trade Paperback, $14.99) and Brandon Sanderson, ARCANUM UNBOUNDED: THE COSMERE COLLECTION (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99) on Wednesday, November 30th at 5:00pm

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers of America Holiday Party on Saturday, December 10th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

October Bestsellers

Hardcovers
1. THE BLOOD MIRROR by Brent Weeks
2. GOLDENHAND by Garth Nix
3. EVERFAIR by Nisi Shawl
4. GHOSTLAND by Colin Dickey
5. FEEDBACK by Mira Grant
6. DEATH’S END by Cixin Liu
7. CROSSTALK by Connie Willis
8. REJECTED PRINCESSES by Jason Porath
9. THE WALL OF STORMS by Ken Liu
10. INFOMOCRACY by Malka Older

Trade Paperbacks
1. THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu
2. THE DARK FOREST by Cixin Liu
3. THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin
4. THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers
5. THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES by Ken Liu
6. THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman
7. TO HOLD THE BRIDGE by Garth Nix
8. THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin
9. THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King
10. MANNERS AND MUTINY by Gail Carriger

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
2. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
3. ONCE BROKEN FAITH by Seanan McGuire
4. BREAK THE CHAINS by Megan E. O’Keefe
5. AN ENGLISH GHOST STORY by Kim Newman
6. SHADOWS OF SELF by Brandon Sanderson
7. POSEIDON’S WAKE by Alastair Reynolds
8. ALTERED STARSCAPE by Ian Douglas
9. ZEROES by Chuck Wendig
10. SOLAR EXPRESS by L.E. Modesitt Jr.