Saturday 28 June 2008

An Unfortunate Resemblance

Something struck me the other day looking at the cover of a book I read last year. It's Black Juice, a collection of dark fantasy tales by Australian author Margot Lanagan. Here's the cover, with a sinister woman on it:

And here's every-prize-but-the-Nobel-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood:



In other news, i recently visited a Borders for the first time in a while. I remember when this shop opened in Adelaide, my home city: it was huge, and had a vast array of books. Now it has many, many fewer books, and seems to be all about expensive magazines, coffee and DVDs. Apparently this is normal operating practise for this chain. In any case, I was looking around, and couldn't help but notice that the entire shop had only two (2) books by Chekhov, one (1) book by Patricia Highsmith, and five (5) whole frigging shelves of books by 'Robert Ludlum'.

This made me quite angry, and I inadvertently said aloud, "Well, fuck you, Borders!", at which point a woman near me browsing the Alexander McCall Smiths gave a start and darted away.


Steerforth said...

I agree. Borders is just a multinational retail operation that happens to sell books. All of the buying is done centrally and there is little scope for booksellers to have much of an input.

Chains like these depend on their EPOS stock control sysems, which are only able to judge a book by its sales history.

Ten years ago Borders looked like the future, but these days their huge, high rent sites are a handicap.

JRSM said...

It's interesting to see that Borders in Australia has been looking around for a buyer, and couldn't get anyone for quite some time, until some faceless equity corporation decided to take the plunge. Perhaps they're on the way out--having wiped out several local bookshops before going, alas.

Anonymous said...

Re the Margaret Atwood: the similarity is too close to be a coincidence!

JRSM said...

I wonder if the cover designer meant it as a tribute or an insult.