Graveyard of the Manga: EDIT
First day off the mountain in months. I’ll pay for it by doubling up on work tomorrow, but my adventures today included an afternoon at a regional book fair. Held in an enormous warehouse in the middle of a wheatfield in the middle of nowhere, this semi-annual event features thousands of remaindered books and book product at rock bottom prices. I walked out with two big shopping bags full of goodies and spent only $60. That includes 2 unabridged audio books by James Owen and Clive Barker, as well as a cute kitty frame, boxes of notecards, hardcovers with dustjackets, a nifty set of design art reference books, gifts for almost everyone in my family. The design reference books retailed at $22 each alone. I bought the boxed set of three.
I don’t know what it says about the state of the industry, but the shelves groaned with manga at 75% off or more. There were more manga in that remainder house than in the big city bookstore where I used to shop. Tokyopop provided the bulk, though there were many how-to art books and some very fine reference books on manga as well.
The children’s section featured even more stacks of manga, and most of it had no business there. Yaoi does not belong anywhere near My Pretty Pony.
Yeah, I know some people swing that way, but I don’t want to hear about it.
Greedy for bargains, I looked for GN’s, but the only two I saw in quantity were the ZOT collection by Scott McCloud, and The Fate of the Artist by Eddie Campbell. Big stacks of them. I wept, because I already had them at retail.
As I wrote, I’m not sure what all those piles of remaindered manga might mean (if anything), but I was surprised to see them.
One art book publisher, Impact Books, had lots of product, including some of their best sellers by authors like John Howe, and those books are recent releases.
Computer how-to books dominated an entire wall of the warehouse. Many Stephen King hardcovers could be had for just a few dollars, and all those unabridged Anne Rice audio books I bought back in the day at $30 were selling for only 99 cents!
It took serious self discipline to walk out of there without buying 10 times what I settled on. I did some major early Christmas shopping.
Anyway, I thought it odd that there were shelves and tables buried in manga and just a handful of US GN’s to be had, though I did see a number of books on the history of comics and comics collecting.
PS: I worked on a teen magazine 2 years ago which was canceled for selling a lowly 100,000 copies per issue (Sweet 16). Shojo Beat was moving less than half that.
(click here to return to the webcomic)