You wouldn't think this would be hard to find... But IT IS.
I couldn’t find this book. Hardly anywhere.
And if I did, I sure as hell couldn’t buy it for cover price. I have detailed this sad phenomenon in two posts now: MANGA PUBLISHERS– Why Do You H☠TE Me? and Comic Book Retailers – Update Your F****** Websites! It seems like all of the Manga publishers really don’t care about– or don’t care to cater to– the completists (like me) in their audience. To be clear, I don’t mind an occasional book hunt (in fact, sometimes it’s fun)– but I really do not want to hunt to fill holes in every frickin’ Manga title I decide to collect.
Yet, I usually have to.
Run from the Borders!
Case in point: Tokyopop’s Future Diary series. Volume 6 just came out, OK? But try to find Volume 2. This Manga title oddly seems to follow the old comic collector paradigm– as #2 seems the rarest volume so far.
Which is why I was so delighted to find that the Borders Bookstore located down the street from me had one in stock. Note to the wise: The “Check for Store Availability” links on mainstream bookseller’s websites are often a big boon to the collector of hard-to-find books… Especially if you have friends in other cities or states and can con them into picking up a copy for you and sending it in the mail. Put your Zip Code (or a friend’s Zip Code) into one of these website search boxes and BOOM– you might be able to save yourself from overpaying $20 to $30 USD (or more) for a scarce Manga title.
Luckily (or so I thought), I didn’t have to do that this time. Once I found someone to go over there and getting the book for me– I’d be all set. My friend nicely offered (around 5 pm in BIG CITY traffic no less). I felt double fortunate.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Possibly my new Best Friend (Unfortunately, I mean the Magnifying Glass)
About 20 minutes later she called from her cell phone. Seems she bought the book (I was having it held for me at the front desk) and when the clerk finally handed it to her– she realized it was not in acceptable condition. You may have read this in another one of my posts before but I am going to write it again: I do not care how much of a discount a mainstream bookstore, comic shop or website gives me on a book. If I buy it NEW– I expect the tome to be in new, Near-Mint to Mint condition. I’m not going to pull out a magnifying glass or anything when I buy it– but the damn thing better look– and be– right.
Seems my rep had preceded me– as my friend knew that I was very condition conscious. She told me that the book looked like it had been opened and read several times. The line where the cover was “scored” (so it will bend back easily at the spine) was WHITE– even though the cover itself was BLACK. This meant 2 things: #1 the book was severely manhandled and #2 the book had been carelessly read so many times, the black ink had fallen off the score line. That’s a lot of reading.
I apologized for her wasted time and gas and asked her to return the book.
WHAT PISSED ME OFF MOST OF ALL
Has Alfred E.Neuman taken over Borders?
My friend later told me that when she handed the book back to the clerk– asking to return it for a refund due to its’ poor condition… The clerk just looked at the book, rolled his eyes a little, sighed and said, “Okay.”
No “Gee whiz, I’m sorry the book is in such bad shape! Let me see if I can find you another one.” Just a resigned sigh that, once again, another customer had him selling a less-than-new product.
Barnes & Noble, Bookstar and Borders– This is what happens when you turn your bookstores into libraries!
You provide comfortable seating in all kinds of places throughout your store and you never stop your customers from reading your books from start to finish. Often these people will read a few chapters and then come back the next day to read a few more… And will continue this pattern until they have finished a whole novel. I’ve even seen people reading while they are eating a sloppy tuna sandwich that they’ve just pulled out of a paper sack. These folks are obviously enjoying a free read on their lunch break! Mom’s bring three or four kids into your stores and they all pick out a book to read– but rarely buy anything.
And you have the audacity to blame Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad for your flagging quarterly profit reports?!
You then add your own insult to your own injuries by selling coffee and chocolate eclairs too!
All the while allowing your customers to read, read, read. Have you ever bought a book from one of these stores and gotten home to see a big chocolate smear inside– on one of the pages of your supposedly new book? I have actually seen customers doing this horrendous act while they read a book in a Barnes & Noble. No shame, no remorse. They just flipped the page and kept on reading.
Good God Almighty! They damn well better be glad that I haven’t ever paid for and brought one of these sullied atrocities into my home. I’d race back to that bookstore and return that damn thing so violently it would take an amazing proctologist to retrieve my return!*
But I wouldn’t feel bad. I doubt my hijinks wouldn’t stop them from selling that rescued copy either.
Guess what DOESN'T mix with a NEW BOOK?
*Many thanks to Jose Melendez at the CCW*TV Blog for reminding me of my hatred of people who eat and read for free in bookstores a couple of weeks ago.