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True Love: Books

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Half-Price Books is a local chain, at least, I always thought of it as a local chain. Used to frequent one store in Dallas, Oak Lawn area. Great store. Very strange and eclectic collection of books, and due to its proximity to the “nice” part of town, a huge number of good, lightly – if ever – used new hardbacks.

The store in Austin, I’m unsure if it qualifies as part of “The Drag” (strip of Guadalupe adjacent University of Texas), that store used to handle a great number of used textbooks. Wonder why.

One store in Dallas, now, sadly departed, was, at one time, a Spanish Galleon-themed restaurant. I loved to visit that store. After the great flood of ’95, I eventually sold them what was left of my academic library. Part of it, anyway, the stuff I no longer wanted, but survived the floodwaters.

It’s always a total guess about that they will give for whatever books I take in. I’ve gotten to the point that I’d rather donate my unwanted books to the library rather than try and pick up a very few dollars at Half-Price. As a business, it’s one that I admire, and the way the stock rotates and changes is good. A sharp eye can find a first edition Neuromancer.

The old Spanish-Galleon, sort of a flagship store, eventually moved across the street to a huge space, complete with coffee shop. Last time I visited there, I don’t think I came out ahead on my deal, the books I sold, I don’t think the price covered the cost of coffee (and at least two more books I picked up).

The problem, as an author, the chain doesn’t pay royalties. However, a book that’s been sold there, it was paid for at full price, presumably, at some point. I don’t think books have licensing right like that.

I’m not sure how they handle remaindered books, or anything else. I have seen bestsellers there, and I’m sure there are deals with publishers for overstock and extra material as frequently, the books I’ve bought there will have a tick mark on the butt of the book.

So far, I’m happy I haven’t found any of my own books there. I have found several books that have helped me along my way, though, and I’m happy about that. On more than one occasion, I’ve bought a steeply discounted book at Half-Price, and I was glad I got it discounted. Back in the resale stack.

I had two, English imprint (printed in England to a higher English standard, complete with funky British spelling and punctuation) novels in a bag of a several dozen books to be recycled. First edition, signed by the author. Both the novels failed miserably in the UK market and did less well over here. Although, from a weird collectors way of looking at it, maybe they were worth something. I tried eBay. Twice. Never got a minimum offer.

Sold quite well at Half-Price. I suppose, it’s all about the market.

Me? I love books. I just have to make room for what’s coming up in my near future.

Serge is back:

Tim Dorsey (Aquarius) has emerged as one of my favorite authors. All-time. His work, I’m sure it’s not high-brow enough for those effete literary snobs, but I don’t care. It’s amazing material. Recommendations? Start with Florida Roadkill, no seriously, it’s just easier to start at the beginning, although, jump in anywhere, the material is crafted well enough that it doesn’t have to be read in any particular order.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the author at at least two book signing, missed him last time in Austin. I think I spooked him one time, he looked at me, “you’re going to be here all night, aren’t you?”

I nodded.

What’s so exciting – to me – about his writing, the epic tales of Serge Storms, and the Florida overkill? Passion. Strength, passion, vibrancy. The words keep up at a frantic pass, this most recent is tightly plotted, and the descriptions, what shows is an ardent fever for the material, with this author, his series and the work, it’s Florida.

There are other “wacky Florida novelists.” Serge Storms meets Carl Hiaasen in one book, turns out, that was – according to the Tim Dorsey – a verbatim encounter he had with the great-grandfather don of the wacky-eco-crime-anti-hero Florida novelist. As much as I’ve enjoyed Hiaasen’s work, see this Gemini scope, I’m less inclinedto hang onto my Hiaasen novels, but I’ve got everyone of Dorsey’s in hardback. That are available.

I scour places like Half-Price and the remainder racks for any of the earlier texts. That Florida Roadkill? I’ve bought that text a half-dozen times now, seems to walk away…. Funny how that happens.

Borrowers of book are frequently crooks.

Anyway, Serge, old friends, the hastily resurrected sidekick Coleman, they are all there. I was wondering why, I’ve got two younger friends I’ve turned onto Tim Dorsey’s canon, and I was curious what made that connection work, especially with an MTV audience.

The tight threading? Mania, plot, story line? It’s the literary equivalent of a music video. More conceptual, except, see, Serge delivers the goods.

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