5.16.2011

Looting A Dead Corpse: 04 (Final Edition)

I actually didn't plan on going back, but at their request, I met up with some family late on Friday afternoon for a final sortie into the Borders Wasteland. Stock on hand had probably dwindled by 50% since I'd been in the the last two days, and mobs of people were now systematically combing the aisles getting their maximum savings on everything under the sun. Minimum discount was 75%, and that ran up to 90% on some select items. It was kind of all over the map in terms of what we ended up buying. I picked up a couple kids books for 75% off, cookbooks for 75% off, and I also grabbed the last copy of one of the Philip Roth books I mentioned before, called THE HUMBLING for 80% off. This rendered a $22 book just over $4. I picked up Koren Zailckas’ second novel FURY. I really enjoyed her first book SMASHED, and she’s one of the most exciting young writers to enter the scene for me in the last 5 years.

On the manga and graphic novel front, it was up to 80% off, so I just couldn’t refuse grabbing THE MURDER OF KING TUT in hardcover for $6, featuring some Chris Mitten art, PENDRAGON, featuring Carla Speed McNeil art, for $2, THE LITTLE PRINCE adapted by Joann Sfar in hardcover for a mere $5, THE CHILL for $4, which is one of those little Vertigo Crime hardcovers, and volumes 2, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 of Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER for just $2 each. As I’ve said before, it’s not my favorite work of his, but for $2 it’s just too ridiculous not to buy. I can’t resist a good deal. When you spend only $80 on a massive stack of books and your receipt says that you saved nearly $250 at the bottom, yeah, that’s a good deal.

Farewell, Borders Carmel Mountain. Borders Gaslamp has also closed downtown, but there’s still Borders Mission Valley and a couple more out in the South and East County, so I’ll keep my eye out for their possible demise. It’s kind of amazing to me how expensive books are to begin with and what the mark-up entails, not to mention the obviously bloated overhead of stores like this. They’re burning millions of dollars on staff, lighting, fixtures, etc., before you even consider the inventory cost. It’s been an interesting socioeconomic experience to observe this little slice of capitalism crumble.

1 Comments:

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Justin said...

[Thanks to a 13M reader, here's the previous content Blogger failed to restore in the Borders series.]

Looting A Dead Corpse: 03

Yesterday was probably my last trip to the Borders Apocalypse Now sale. At the time of this writing, there are only 4 days left for the store closest to my house, and things are pretty grim. I'd say that about 1/3rd of the store remains, merchandise pushed up to the front, everything out of order, vultures with stacks of books and empty-handed zombies slowly perusing the aisles, while the back 2/3rds of the store was a grim wasteland with yellow crime scene caution tape cordoning off the area where strange flea market types haggled down embittered store employees for the last remaning fixtures. There are still a few good books lingering about, I saw some recent Philip Roth novels regularly priced at around $20 going for like $4.20. I actually might go back for those, and there are plenty of high-end cookbooks at 60% off. Greeting cards were down to 90% off(!) and I grabbed three that I'll use as gag gifts. The problem on the cards is that most no longer had envelopes, but I cobbled together sets. They were regularly priced at $3.50, so I got them for 35 cents each, which is kind of ridiculous.

As for the manga section, there are a dismal 4 rows left clinging on for dear life on one side of one shelf in a random section. Nothing is in order. Gone are the vast volumes of Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, gone are the full runs of Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, gone are the stray issues of Children of the Sea, which I had my eye on, but curiously present was nearly a full fun of Urasawa's Monster. I'm pretty sure there are 18 volumes of this book, and 12 of them were present. I picked up volumes 4, 5, and 9. Regular price on these is $10, and with a hefty 70% discount, I picked them up for $3 each. That's a steal. I'm not sure if I'll go back for the rest of the run; I can't say I'm enjoying it as much as the other Urasawa books I've tried. Sure, it's a taut thriller with some intelligent criminal profiling going on, but it lacks the biting pop political commentary of 20th Century Boys, and lacks the retro action affection that Pluto held for me. It does possess Urasawa's fascination with symbology, secret societies, and grand conspiracies, all set in an intricate bit of plotting. I still appreciate his strong way with words like "killing is easy, you just have to forget how sweet the sugar is," and I love how he never uses exposition in the way American comics do, but it just doesn't strike me quite as intensely as the other works. I'm talking the difference between A work and A- work here though, it's a slim margin, so it's still tempting to go back for the rest of the run. Surprisingly, I was able to trade in the volumes ofMonster for Amazon credit, at $3.48 each, so now I'm actually making 48 cents per volume on this crazy endeavor.

 

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