July 29, 2013

Shell Shock & Gaudy Mortal Fear Minus Eighty

What the staff is reading this week. . . .

Alan: "I'm reading the third Spencer novel by Robert Parker, MORTAL STAKES.  Despite the absolutely horrible clothes (ah, the 70s) I think that it is excellent."

Cary: "Just finished an advanced reading copy of THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by
Scott Lynch, currently reading ARC of DEAD SET by Richard Kadrey.
(Both are due out in October)."

Claud: "LOST IN A GOOD BOOK, THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS, and SOMETHING ROTTEN, by Jasper Fforde (rereads); DEAD EVER AFTER, by Charlaine Harris; EVELYN BRENT: The Life And Films Of Hollywood's Lady Crook, by Lynn Kear; SHELL SHOCK CINEMA: Weimar Culture And The Wounds Of War, by Anton Kaes; and BIG DATA: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, And Think, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger."

Cole: "WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss."

Devany: "LOVE MINUS EIGHTY  by Will McIntosh."

Jude: "An advance copy of PARASITE by Mira Grant; GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers; THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT, GOD SAVE THE CHILD, and MORTAL STAKES by Robert Parker; I IS FOR INNOCENT and J IS FOR JUDGEMENT by Sue Grafton, THE SHAPE OF DREAD by Marcia Muller.  And Cary just handed me the ARC of REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch, so I know where the next few days are going!"

July 09, 2013

Incremental Persuasion in the Cold, Dark Summer

What the staff has been reading:

Alan: "An advance copy of THE INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Brust and Skyler White.  And he's quite looking forward to Brust coming to the store for a reading."

Cary: "Been re-reading Joe Abercrombie.  The First Law Trilogy and BEST SERVED COLD."

Claud: "IN PERSUASION NATION and TENTH OF DECEMBER, by George Saunders; GODBODY, by Theodore Sturgeon; THE ABSOLUTIST, by John Boyne; MISS BUNCLE'S BOOK, by D.E. Stevenson; THE STEEL SERAGLIO, by Mike, Linda and Louise Carey (excellent); CINDERELLA: From Fabletown With Love and CINDERELLA: Fables Are Forever, by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus; KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE, by Catel & Bocquet; ZOO CITY, by Lauren Beukes (excellent); THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH & EVERYTHING, by John D. MacDonald (reread); BEYOND THIS HORIZON, by Robert A. Heinlein; MAE MURRAY: The Girl With The Bee-Stung Lips, by Michael G. Ankerich; THE MAKING OF BLACK DETROIT IN THE AGE OF HENRY FORD, by Beth Tompkins Bates (wonderful); SAINTS ASTRAY, by Jacqueline Carey; DARK CURRENTS, by Jacqueline Carey; TOP 10: Vol. 2, by Alan Moore and Zander Cannon; THE EYRE AFFAIR, by Jasper Fforde (reread); and NADA, by Carmen Laforet."

Jude: "Okay, here goes: finished the advance copy of THE INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Brust and Skyler White and passed it to Alan.  JUSTICE HALL by Laurie King.  Sue Grafton's C IS FOR CORPSE, D IS FOR DEADBEAT, E IS FOR EVIDENCE, F IS FOR FUGITIVE, G IS FOR GUMSHOE. (What can I say?  Those books are like popcorn!) DOG ON IT by Spencer Quinn, which is very charming, but narrated by a dog, so that has both upsides and downsides.  TO HELL ON A FAST HORSE: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner."

Naamen: "I'm reading THE SUMMER PRINCE by Alaya Dawn Johnson right now. Really great world-building, story is set in a post-post-apocalyptic futuristic South American city and only 30 pages in I'm already pleasantly surprised by a lot of the twists that are built into what could be a more traditional YA plot but isn't.  Can't wait to read more."

July 02, 2013

B&N, Marriage, and World War Z

by Alan Beatts

Barnes & Noble's Financial Report

B&N had a very poor year based on their recent financial filings.  Their 2013 fiscal year (which ended on April 27th) showed a total loss of $154.8 million dollars, compared to last year, which showed less than half that loss ($65.6 million in 2012).  Much of that was a result of sales of their e-reader, the Nook, falling off a cliff (sales down 16.8%).  But sales at their retail stores were also poor: same-store sales (the comparison between stores that have been open for at least a year) were down 3.4%.

Most telling to me, however, are the figures for the last quarter of this year.  In the 4th quarter alone, ebook sales (both devices and ebooks) were down 34% and same-store retail sales were down 8.8%.  That looks like an accelerating slide to me.  If you dig through the accountant-speak in the report, some of the retail store sales drop was tied to poor Nook performance, but that could also be wishful thinking.  Likewise, that quarter lacked some big sellers like Fifty Shades of Gray and such but still . . . it's not looking very good.  What will tell us a great deal is what the quarterly reports for the next two look like.  If the drop continues or increases, it'll be a very bad sign for the company's future.

June Bestsellers

1. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
2. Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz
3. The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
5. Quarry by Iain Banks
6. The Long War by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
7. The Human Division by John Scalzi
8. Mending the Moon by Susan Palwick
9. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
10. Inferno by Dan Brown

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
3. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
5. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
6. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
7. Home From the Sea by Mercedes Lackey
8. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
9. Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
10. Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

Trade Paperbacks
1. Cold Steel by Kate Elliott
2. Sorcerer's Luck by Katharine Kerr
3. World War Z by Max Brooks
4. Abbadon's Gate by James S.A. Corey
5. Aether Age: Helios edited by Christopher Fletcher and Brandon H. Bell

June News Roundup

* Those of you going to see "Star Trek: Into Darkness" probably already have, so, hilarious Spoiler FAQ from i09.com: <http://io9.com/star-trek-into-darkness-the-spoiler-faq-508927844>

* And more from i09.com: The difference between geeks and nerds, settled by an infographic: <http://io9.com/the-difference-between-geeks-and-nerds-settled-by-a-ge-590379134>

* We unfortunately lost two of the greats this month: Iain M. Banks at age 59 <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/scottish-author-iain-m-banks-dies-of-cancer-aged-59-8651163.html> and Richard Matheson at age 87. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/books/richard-matheson-writer-of-haunted-science-fiction-and-horror-dies-at-87.html?_r=1&>

July Upcoming Events

Simon Wood, NO SHOW (Thomas & Mercer, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Saturday, July 13th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF (at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street) with authors Nalo Hopkinson, Madeleine Robins and Deborah J. Ross, Saturday, July 20th at 7:00 pm

Grania Davis, TREE OF LIFE, BOOK OF DEATH - THE TREASURES OF GRANIA DAVIS (Ramble House, Trade Paperback) Sunday, July 21st from 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99 and Trade Paperback, $15.99) Saturday, July 27th at 3:00 pm

Sheldon Siegel, THE TERRORIST NEXT DOOR (Poisoned Pen Press, Trade Paperback $14.95 and Hardcover $24.95) Saturday, August 3rd at 3:00 pm

And coming up later on this year, look for events with Seth Harwood, Richard Kadrey, actress and author Lara Parker, Seanan McGuire, and many, many more!

Details after the break