December 01, 2005

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

The DVD section of Borderlands Books is now under new management.  My name is Jeremy Lassen, and I am the new DVD buyer.  I'm a longtime employee of Borderlands, in addition to being a book geek and a total film fanatic.  Prior to the invention of DVDs, I searched high and low for my favorite movies in letter-boxed editions. . .I owned a laser disk player, and I have gone on long-winded diatribes concerning the subtle allure of Italian horror movies.

Having so thoroughly established my bonafides as a qualified DVD buyer, I wanted to let you know what my basic DVD buying philosophy is.  My goal is to turn the DVD section of Borderlands into your one-stop-shop for fantasy, science fiction and horror.  Rather then focus on new releases and blockbuster extravaganzas,  I'm going to work hard to bring to everyone's attention the overlooked gems and obscure titles that you may not have heard of, but are sure to enjoy.  I'm going to focus on older titles, but will try and have an extremely large cross section of genre films, old and new.  I'm not going to be all-inclusive, because, quite frankly, there is a lot of crap that I just don't think anybody will be interested in -- but I'm not going to be snobbish; I like both high and low brow movies, and the diversity of the DVD selection will reflect that.  In addition to bulking out the selection of titles in store, I'm going to be writing a column for the store newsletter focusing on the films that I think are particularly noteworthy.

September Bestsellers

1) A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
2) Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
3) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
4) Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson
5) The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks
6) Learning the World by Ken MacLeod
7) At All Costs by David Weber
8) Snake Agent by Liz Williams (Nightshade Books)
9) Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
10) Loop by Koji Suzuki

1) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2) Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
3) The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4) The Good, the Bad and the Undead by Kim Harrison
5) Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
6) Bad Men by John Connolly
7) The World Before by Karen Traviss
8) The Knight by Gene Wolfe
9) Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
10) Swastika by Michael Slade

Trade Paperbacks
1) Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
2) Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
3) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4) Liaden Universe Companion vol. 1 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
5) Looking for Jake by China Mieville

The 2005 Gift Guide

Since it's That Time of Year Again, here is a quick, opinionated sampling of neat items we at Borderlands think you should give to other people or pick up for yourself.  We have far, far too many interesting choices to list all of them, so stop by, have a complimentary cup of coffee, tea or cocoa and browse at your leisure!  We will also quite cheerfully gift wrap for you free of charge, though we readily admit that some employees are better at it than others.  (Some packages may have a Lovecraftian quality, and be "of no human shape." You have been warned.)

Local First

by Alan Beatts

Normally I try to keep the topics in the column focused on our field or on books and bookselling in general.  More importantly I try to keep away from San Francisco-centric topics.  I know that this newsletter goes out to people all over the country and beyond.  There's no need to fill your valuable reading time (there never is enough of that, at least in my world) with "local news".  That said, Borderlands is a San Francisco business and I feel we have an obligation to our home town.  So, if you don't live in or frequently visit SF and you're short on time, please feel free to skip the following.  However, though what I'm going to talk about is specifically related to SF, the essential idea applies anywhere in the United States.  For that matter, I'd bet that it applies to most of the developed world.

For years booksellers have been talking about the "evil" chain stores who are taking away their customers and forcing them out of business.  When I first got into bookselling I had no idea that such a controversy existed and I really didn't see any difference between buying books at an independent and buying them at a chain.  Once I got into the book business, I quickly found that booksellers in general were pretty rabid on this subject.  The problem was that, at bottom, all the arguments that I heard in favor of independent stores seemed to be based on a vague but very concrete conviction that indies were "better" than chains.  When such an argument comes from the owner of an indie store it lacks a certain credibility.  My attitude, despite owning a bookstore, was, "Let people decide for themselves.  If chain stores do a better job of giving people what they want, good for the chains.  If Borderlands fails I guess I'll go open a woodworking shop."