Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I know it's Middle Grade Month and I'm suppose to only talk about Middle Grade things (and lets face it, I'm pretty much failing at it because Math II is kicking my butt hardcore) but this is something happened recently (as in yesterday) and it really makes me mad.

So I was at HPB yesterday selling a few books and as I was waiting, I went to browse the YA/Teen section. Well I saw an ARC of The Enchantress by Michael Scott. You know, book #6 in the The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series? The one that JUST came out on May 22nd of this year? Yeah, that one.

So I pulled it off the shelf and I brought it to the bookseller at the register's attention. She totally understood what I was saying -- that it clearly states on the cover "Uncorrected Proof. Not for sale." so she placed it aside behind the counter. Hubby had brought up how were they able to catalog it (and price it at $10.99) if it has no bar code? Good question. I mean, if it had been mixed up and someone just wasn't paying attention when they were placing stickers, I could see that happening. But that really wasn't the case.

After I had gotten my offer and went to cash out, someone higher up was discussing it with the sweet bookseller I had just mentioned it to. She said, and I quote, "no matter what edition it is. We sell it." She then snatched it from behind the counter and placed it back on the shelf. But the front cover CLEARLY says "Uncorrected Proof. Not for sale." Do people at HPB not know the difference between an ARC and a finished copy? Or do they just not care that much that they're only interested in making money?

Either way, I refuse to continue supporting a bookstore with that kind of attitude. How do I know that the few ARC's I have donated weren't sold? How do I know they're really going to the Oakland Children's Hospital? I don't. So maybe I'll donate them there myself from now on instead.

I decided to do some research and it turns out that this issue isn't something new. Someone who had previously worked there said that managers had a meeting and decided in the end to sell the ARC's because they're a "used bookstore". 

After going on a rage rampage on FB, a lawyer friend of mine pointed out that selling ARC's isn't illegal since it's under the first amendment but since it was never sold to begin with, the original owner can sue under private property.

It just sucks, why would you sell something that once again says "Not For Sale" on the cover? How could you catalog something without a bar code? I don't know, it just frustrates me and rubs me the wrong way. Luckily this was the first time in two years of going there I've seen this.

What do you guys think? Do you think it's okay that HPB's sells ARC's because they're a "used bookstore"?


  1. it's not cool to sell it because the writer didn't making money off it to begin with.

    Not illegal because of first amendment? That's an interesting reason.

    1. @Arianne That's what I'm thinking. HPB is making money from something that the publisher and the author didn't even make money from! How is that fair?

      And that's also what I thought. But selling private property is sort of like a lesser illegal, in a sense. The publisher (or author) can still sue and have it removed.

  2. This seems to be a store by store policy. My HPB won't even look at ARCs - whether they have the "not for sale" language on the cover or not.