January 14, 2018

2018 Sponsorships Are Ready To Go

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 the following year.  Since that increased expense would be on-going, a basic assumption was that the sponsorship would need to recur each year.

2018 will be our fourth year operating as a sponsored business.  Thus far, it has been a huge success.  Not only have more than double the required number of people sponsored us for the past two years but, with the support of our sponsors, customers, and fellow professionals in our field, we were able to raise the funds to purchase a building on Haight Street to be our permanent location.  2018, our 20th year in business, is going to be a momentous one marked by our relocation to our new home.  We will no longer be subject to the greatest threat to the survival of any small business -- a massive and unmanageable increase in rent.

As exciting as this year will be, it's not going to be easy.  We are still under the wage pressure that caused us to start the sponsorship program in the first place.  In time, our new building will ease some of that pressure, once the costs of moving and the finances stabilize, but for now the finances of the building are only self-supporting and they do not benefit the bookstore.  In fact, the building finances are only self-supporting once the bookstore is paying the rent that currently goes to our landlord into the building's coffers instead.  Added to that pressure, Alan will be doing a great deal of work to get the building is shape to house the store, which means that there will be even more work than usual for the rest of the bookstore and cafe staff.

If you have never been a sponsor or if you were in the past but stopped, this year will be a watershed moment for your support.  If you'd like to sign up, you can do so on-line at https://borderlands-books.com/buysponsorship.html, or you can call 888 893-4008, email office@borderlands-books.com or come into the store in person.  Though there are quite a few benefits to sponsorship (you'll find a full list here - http://borderlands-sponsors.blogspot.com/p/sponsor-benefits-and-privilidges.html) the greatest thing that your sponsorship will accomplish is helping us move forward and make our transition to our new space.

If you're interested in more details about how the sponsorship program came to be, you'll find the story here http://borderlands-sponsors.blogspot.com/p/why-sponsorships.html.

In closing we'd like to thank everyone who has been a sponsor in the past.  Without you, we wouldn't be here.  

January Building News

by Alan Beatts

Hi Everyone and Happy New Year,

I hope that 2018 is treating you well thus far.  For me it started with a horrible cold and it's gotten steadily better from there (not a hard trick to accomplish).  Of course, it's been crazy busy and I'm still way behind on my email, but it would be unreasonable to think that it would be any other way given the events of the past few months.

The biggest one, our purchase of the building on Haight Street (Borderlands West, if you will), has been working out mostly quite well with only a few hiccups so far.  The process of getting the building in shape for us to move is mostly what I'm going to be writing about in this newsletter over the next few months.  Those posts are liable to be pretty long (like this one), which is why we've moved them to the end of the newsletter.

Before I get into all the news and plans about the building, I wanted to let you all know that I'll be having an open-house there this month.  This Saturday, January the 20th, I'll be around from noon until six in the evening.  Feel free to stop by any time in that window and I'll give you the nickel-tour of the place as well as answering any questions you have about our plans.  If you can make it, you really should -- the place is probably just about as torn up as it'll ever be and I think it will be fun in a few years to talk about how you remember back when it was a construction site.

But, if you can't make it to the open house, I've finally got some pictures up - http://borderlands-books.blogspot.com/p/haight-st-photos.html.  It's not the best forum for pictures but it was easy to do and easy is a feature much in demand for me, right now.  I should have more pictures up in a bit.

Upcoming Events

Chad Stroup, SECRETS OF THE WEIRD (Grey Matter Press, Trade Paperback, $18.95) Sunday, January 21st at 3:00 pm

CANCELLED - Na'amen Gobert Tilahun, THE TREE (NightShade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.99) Sunday, January 28th at 2:00 pm 

SF in SF with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson (at the American Bookbinders' Museum, 355 Clementina, San Francisco) Sunday, January 28th at 6:30 pm

David Fitzgerald and Dana Fredsti, TIME SHARDS (Titan Books, Trade Paperback, $14.95) Saturday, February 3rd at 3:00 pm

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED (Book View Cafe, Trade Paperback, $19.99) with authors Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Marie Brennan, Nancy Jane Moore, Deborah Ross and Dave Smeds Saturday, February 10th at 3:00 pm

Writers With Drinks with authors Steph Burt, Ellen Klages, C.B. Lee, Angela Pneuman, and Molly Sauter  (at the Make-Out Room, Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco, CA) Saturday, February 10th at 7:30 pm

December Bestsellers


1) Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
2) La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
3) Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
4) Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
5) Artemis by Andy Weir
6) Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders
7) Well of Ascension Special Leatherbound Edition by Brandon Sanderson
8) A War in Crimson Embers by Alex Marshall
9) The Power by Naomi Alderman
10) The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer

Trade Paperbacks

1) The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans by Ken Liu
2) Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
3) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
4) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
5) Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
6) The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
7) The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
8) A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
9) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
10) A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall

Mass Market Paperbacks

1) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
2) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
3) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
4) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
5) Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
6) Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
7) Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor
8) The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt
9) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
10) Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

January News

* Overheard in the Store:

"My astrological chart makes it really difficult. . . I desperately want to save the world, but I can't find my keys."

"There's a 'Game of Thrones' coloring book?  Does it only come with red crayons?"

"Frequently when I'm traveling it ends up being 'Hm, books or pants?'"

"She's so beautiful. . . it's like if Disney had made a Goth princess."

"Well, yeah -- [Book Title] is totally atrocious trash, but it's SO MUCH fun to read!"

"You've got to grab life by the cookies."

"My brain is like, 'I know it's 3 am & you were just about to doze off, but you don't actually know what "emulsify" means! You should look it up IMMEDIATELY!'"

"I may have reached 'peak San Francisco'.  Girlfriend has 'Instant pot' on her Christmas list, and I have no idea whether that is a cooking thing, or a medical marijuana delivery service, like InstaCart for joints."

* Overheard at Writers With Drinks:

"Alyssa Cole understands that the most heroic thing an intergalactic hero can do is fall in love."

"I don't know what a BitCoin is, but it seems like the kind of thing you'd get when you sell your soul."

"Bookstores are like a magical petting zoo for stories!"

"It's not like 'Oh, I can't watch that anymore because. . . hyperspace."

* Our friends at Comix Experience <https://www.comixexperience.com/> will be hosting a signing with the fabulous Saladin Ahmed on January 19th at 6:00 pm!  He'll be signing BLACK BOLT.  For more information, see https://www.comixexperience.com/events/

* Distinguished local author Nick Mamatas is teaching another Fabulist Fiction course at WeWork Golden Gate (25 Taylor St., San Francisco).  The class will run for six sessions (Saturday, 2:00 - 5:00 pm), February 10th - March 17, 2018.  For more information, and to sign up, see: https://sfwriting.institute/portfolio/fabulist_fiction/

* R.I.P. Susan Grafton, celebrated author of the popular Kinsey Millhone mystery series.  Her daughter has stated that there will be no ghostwriter to finish off the series and it will stay lettered from A to Y  https://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/Mystery-Writer-Sue-Grafton-Dies-in-California-467174743.html