Comics Creators

What non-comics are you reading these days?


Was that the one on Dam St, not far from the market, heading towards the the Cathedral? The one that smelled of old,old books as soon as you open the door?

I bought loads from the clearance bookshop on Market St, the opposite side from Woolies, but a little bit farther up from Samuel Johnson’s birth place.


Yes! It was two doors down from a new bookshop as I recall (Redferns? Don’t remember) which I think is also now no longer there. Those two shops were essential visits every Saturday morning when we had our family shopping trip into town.


What are you talking about? Chapters is still open, I was in there yesterday.


This is an interesting piece about the suppose demise of literary fiction. It’s partially a transcript from a BBC broadcast- apologies if it’s the one posted above.


The Faithful and the Fallen: Book 3: Ruin

Gwynne really up-ends the board of expectations towards the finale of this. Initially, this book seems a lot slower than the previous one, Valour, but that had the advantage of picking up from the cliffhanger ending of Malice. It is in dealing with the consequences of the confrontation at Murias that the book works, as we see both Corban and Nathair and their followers adjusting to the world they now find themselves in.

Something the book demonstrates very strongly is that there can be a great deal of complexity within a moral framework of good and evil, for matters are often far from clear-cut. At the same time Gwynne does set up a very fundamental conflict between the two sides, but he does so carefully and subtlety. Tor, the series’ US publisher had an article about this series on its websites titled along the lines of: Like Game of Thrones, but They’re Not All Bastards. I’d go with that.

There’s also a good sense of balance - it’s not just the bad guys running rampant, quite a few get offed, but not without losses. If anything, the series’ attitude to its reader is more-or-less: Still here? Good, keep up, because we ain’t slowing down.

The ending of the book was such I immediately started on the concluding volume Wrath and I am about 50 pages in on it.

Waiting until I had the set to read in one go was definitely a good idea. Having the next volume to hand with a day or couple of weeks or a couple of minutes gap between reading them makes remembering everything that’s going on much, much easier.

I’ve recently bagged the first of his sequel trilogy, so will likely be reading that in a couple of years, assuming Gwynne avoids the curse that hits so many fantasy authors. That this series is complete is encouraging.


I’ve been keeping track of my reading at Goodreads for half a decade, and been writing lengthy reviews most of it. I read nearly eighty books last year, which is kind of slow by earlier standards.


Penguin have just published new editions of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Unfortunately, they tend to just reuse the same ISBNs as previous editions, such as the stylishly designed ones from a few years ago that I’ve been (too) slowly buying and reading the past few years, which means that every pretty much every online book seller around just updates the covers on the same listings, practically eliminating the previous editions from existence.

So, cue me hastily ordering the remaining books in the series in what I think (hope) are the editions matching the ones I’ve already got, before it becomes impossible to find them with any certainty.

I know that sounds terribly anal retentive, and it is, but I don’t think I could live having volumes 2-5 and 8 looking like this:

and 0,1,6 and 7 looking like this:


This is pretty common practice in the book industry especially for paperbacks. I’m surprised you can get the old editions as they’re usually stripped for returns.


My favourite bookshop is big on their remaindered titles, so they frequently have three or four different covers for the same book on the shelves. When Laura bought nineteen eighty-four a few years ago, she picked between the edition she liked the look of the most.


It’s interesting as there seems to have built up an alternative system, at least for books published in the UK. The ‘stripped for returns’ always seemed to me a little wasteful in both magazines and books.

There is a growing setup in Malaysia of both shops and fairs selling remaindered UK titles at around 25% of cover price. For Christmas I bought my mother in law several popular novels from a shop in KL that was charging RM10 a title (which is about 2 quid or $3). For many you can see the original shop stickers underneath from stores in the UK and Ireland.

I know Martin has mentioned similar ones in his area.


I agree it’s incredibly wasteful. However, it’s often done for marketing as the refresh of the cover is done to try to stimulate sales on a line. I know it doesn’t seem like something that would add sales but it does. Having the old books on the shelf beside them at a discounted price undercuts that a bit.

There’s usually a disclaimer inside the cover of a paperback (especially mass markets) about the strip.



It makes sense but I think the alternative system UK books now seem to be using separates real bookshops from the discount stores. The likes of Waterstones or Chapters have all the latest titles and full ranges you may want (they are basically the local equivalents of Barnes and Noble). The budget shops are more haphazard, you may get a Peter Galbraith book but not Harry Potter, some Stephen King but not his biggest hits.

They aren’t stripping but moving them down to a second tier.


That’s probably a better idea.

There are bookstores that are similar to that in the US. Books-a-Million is probably the biggest one left. Hastings used to be a bit similar but also incorporated used sales. None of them are fed directly by B&N’s off-cast though. They get them through other channels.

Hardcovers are another deal entirely though. They either get returned to the publisher or are cycled into the bargain section.


Taking them overseas too may be a major part, it’s not catering to the same audience that didn’t buy them initially. I worked very briefly in a newsagent as a kid and we stripped covers and sent them back to be pulped.

15 years later I saw similar unstripped magazines in Kuala Lumpur shops at a third of the price. Just before we got married my wife was very happy with the wedding ones as basically it doesn’t matter much when they were published, some mags need to be fairly immediate but many don’t (National Geographic, BBC Food etc.)


While I was at B&N, we changed the way we did strips. It’s possible there’s been even another iteration. Used to, they would strip books or magazines and send the covers back for credit while tossing the book/magazine itself into the trash. That’s why books have those disclaimers. Eventually, we switched to stripping them and electronically scanning or counting and recording numbers for returns. With both systems, we were “required” to discard them but often kept what we wanted as employees.

I think magazines at least use a lot of these numbers to over-inflate distribution or at least give room for opportunity sales. It’s why I think comics and their non-returnable system are at a disadvantage for getting ad revenue. We used to get cases of Maxim and similar men’s magazines that we would only sell a fraction and we were a small store. The counts were never adjusted as I assume it was done on purpose.


I think Gar’s right that in the UK, instead of getting stripped, they’re remainder marked, sent back to the publisher and/or sold onto a publisher’s outlet shop like The Works or the dearly departed Bargain Book Time (Marvel trades at 30% of RRP. Sob).

The previous editions of the Marlowe novels weren’t entirely out of print though. I was actually in town this afternoon and Waterstones has a copy of each volume on their shelves still, and judging by the info page they’re later printings.


At the intense behest of my housemate, I’ve started reading Ready Player One, or rather listening to the Will Wheaton narrated audio as I drive to and from work.

I don’t dislike it, but Wade, the main character, hasn’t grabbed me, but I am interested in Wade’s world.


This is from a French blog I follow by a guy who’s into lavish collected editions of comics (and other books), especially by Alan Moore and a few other favourite creators.

When I saw this latest entry, I just thought “imagine having the job of translating that”.


The saddest thing I ever did for Borders was rip covers off comic books.


That’s a great thing though. It means they were strippable and able to reach a wider audience. It’s the way comics used to be. I think it would be great if LCS had a choice whether to strip a book, try to sell it at a reduced price or save it for possible appreciation in back issues.

I’ve always wondered how the magazine distributors managed strippability in comics. They must have just ate the cost or had a special arrangement with the publisher as none Diamond doesn’t allow it.