Saturday, March 21, 2015

Barnes & Noble: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The way my copy looked before I removed the price sticker
Almost unbelievably, it is ANOTHER rainy weekend in the Houston area, and because the baseball games I planned to attend today have all been cancelled, I had time to make a run to a local Barnes & Noble store.  It was a rather uneventful visit with little new stuff catching my eye, but I did find a couple of "bargain books" to bring home with me.

The first is/was a perfect copy of Zadie Smith's 2012 novel, NW, that I've wanted to read for a long time ago.  "NW" is a postal code in London, and when I lived there my code was "TW." I came to understand how different the areas within those code boundaries can be even if they are very close together.  Anyway...I've been curious about the book for a long time, so it was nice to find a first edition hard copy for just six bucks (especially in the condition it was in when I left the store with it).

The second book is a new one to me: also from 2012 it is called Basic: Surviving Boot Camp and Basic Training and it was co-authored by Colonel Jack Jacobs and David Fisher.  I grew a little nostalgic flipping through the book as it began to remind me of things I had forgotten about my own basic training in 1968 at the Army's Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  Had to have it.

My first surprise (the good one) was that the new bags I posted about earlier this week are already in the bookstores.  When the cashier placed my purchases in one of the new bags, I learned something I didn't know about them; they feature two different books, not one.  Mine has a portion of the first page of Tom Sawyer and an illustration of Tom smoking his pipe on one side, and a selection from the first page of Moby Dick with an illustration of the whale sinking beneath the ocean's surface on the other side.  They really are pretty cool.

My second surprise (the bad and ugly one) occurred when I got home and tried to remove the price sticker from the Zadie Smith book.  Why don't bookstore clerks realize that not all dust jackets are made from the same material?  The price sticker that will easily pull off a slick cover will damage a cover made of rougher (and more fragile) paper.  That's what happened to me.  Suddenly my Zadie Smith dust jacket turned from a pristine one into an embarrassment.  Now I'm ticked.  The "TH" of Smith's name was once dark, dark black on a snow-white background.  Now it's got little white dots on the bases of those two letters and the white background is smudged black.  Just shoot me now, B&N.  It would be quicker than this kind of slow torture.

6 comments:

  1. I hate stickers on books. You never know what will come off easily and what won't.

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  2. The worst offender around here is Half Price Books. There's always a 50-50 chance that the jacket will be ruined so I make them take the stickers off at the register before ringing up the books. B&N is much better, but I still find a failure/stupidity rate of at least 10% there.

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  3. I actually always try to peel half the sticker off before I buy it to see if it looks like it'll be a problem. Those stickers really, really bother me.

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    1. I did that too...until the day a rabid bookstore clerk loudly accused me of trying to change the price on the book. (He shut up only when I showed him the sticker was for all of $1.98 but he still never apologized.) Embarrassing, to say the least.

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  4. Don't you hate that when the stickers on bookcovers won't come off? B&N is generally pretty good but sometimes they totally flub it. Glad to hear the new bags are as cool as they appeared to be.

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    1. Did you ever get those stickers that are constructed to come apart in a dozen or so pieces once you start pulling on them? I always end up making fingernail indentions in a book jacket before I get the last of those things off? And the glue on them is usually the kind that takes forever to rid a cover of...

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