10 November 2008


The drive from Boise to Portland was beautiful; through the rolling hills of Eastern Oregon and then down into the Columbia River Gorge and along the river. It rained a little, but mostly the weather cooperated by becoming part of the landscape. Somehow I avoided killing myself and others at high speeds while shooting the following photos out the window of my speeding vehicle.

Then I got to Portland, checked into Hotel Lucia - which tends to be my headquarters when I'm here - and went out to find something to eat and to make a pilgrimage to Powell's - possibly the greatest bookstore on the planet.

Now If you recall, last year Powell's and I had something of a lovers quarrel. I showed up on tour for Grave Imports, only to find that they were selling the two ARCs (advanced reading copies) that the publisher had sent them for free, and not carrying the actual, finished edition of the book that they would have to pay for. In essence, they were stealing from both my publisher and from me. I was annoyed. I made my annoyance known. I may have even implied in my blog that were someone to go to Powell's and shoplift my ARCs and send them to me, I'd be happy to sign them for them and send them back. Powell's wrote me a rather distressed email over the whole thing, and I rescinded the offer, but nothing was really settled.

So this year I went back, not sure what I was going to do if they were selling the ARCs of Flight of the Hornbill if they didn't also have the real book on the shelf. I was thinking that perhaps I would shoplift the ARCs myself, deliberately get caught, and then make a big case of it by insisting on going to trial and defending myself by claiming that I was simply trying to prevent their stealing from my publisher and myself.

I didn't get the chance. They don't have any copies of the book on their shelves at all. (You can order it from them online if you know what you're looking for.) They also didn't even have any copies of my friend and fellow Bleak House author Bill Cameron's new book, Chasing Smoke, and he's a local Portland author.

I found the whole thing utterly depressing. There were a bunch of books I wanted to buy at Powell's. I decided against buying any books there if they aren't going to carry my books. It could be that my love affair with Powell's is now officially on the rocks, and that saddens me.

Sorrows were drowned over drinks and dinner with an old pal who lives here. It was a very good evening, but a hangover ensued. Hopefully things will perk up by the time of my book event in Salem this evening.

1 comment:

A.H. Ream said...

Plant the ARCs. Then steal them. The publicity would more than pay for the lawyer. Think of the sales it would generate!