Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How to Get Books Cheap

An interesting experience came out of my recent book signing: I was allowed to shoplift my own books.

While the signing went off without a hitch, there was a problem with the distributor and the books the bookstore had ordered did not arrive in time, so I brought my own stock with me. As mentioned in my earlier post, they sold out (yesss!). But the shipment to the bookstore still did not arrive.

I ordered more books to replenish my own supply and they arrived the next day, so I gave some additional books to the bookstore so they could fill the back orders and put some on the shelves. This kept them going until their order finally arrived.

On Saturday morning, I went to the bookstore, confirmed that they had received their shipment and accepted a pile of books from the manger as repayment for the ones I had loaned her. When I got home, however, I saw that she had only given me the amount I had used during the signing, not the extras I had supplied.

So I went back to the store (it’s a five-minute walk—a double-edged sword if ever there was one) and found her scurrying about doing bookstore manager type things. She acknowledged her error but, as customers were pressing for her attention, she told me to just take them off the shelves.

Up until that point, I hadn’t even bothered to seek out the book, just so I could see myself on the bookstore shelves, but now that I did look, I found she had done me well. My book was in the travel section, the local section and set up on several display stands strategically scattered throughout the store. I was, to say the least, delighted. What I did not want to do, however, was take all of them from one place, as this would lessen the impact. The result of this decision saw me wandering through the store, apparently at random, lifting books from the shelves and stuffing them in my rucksack.

And nobody stopped me.

Only once did another customer look askance at me as I grabbed a few books from the Travel section and deposited them in my pack.

“Don’t mind me,” I told her, “I’m just shoplifting.”

She smiled, and continued her browsing.

When I had my quota, I shouldered my backpack and walked out of the store without anyone saying a word.

Now I’m not advocating stealing books because that would be wrong (and bad for my royalty statement) but it certainly was fun having permission to nick my own books. I only hope some people noticed I was stealing the same book over and over and thought, “Wow, that must be some good book! I’d better buy a copy.”


  1. How strange no one thought to wonder what on earth you were up to , and even to not notify the shop assistants that a grand theft was taking place under their very nose's.
    I'm glad I sent for my copy before they all got snapped up!!! but then I used Amazon.
    Love Granny

  2. Stealing your own books? Isn't that like kissing your sister?

  3. Granny: It was very strange. I can't imagine what I would have thought if I had seen someone doing that?

    Rob-Bear: How do you know that? Have you been kissing my sister?