Books-A-Million Surprise

By | Sunday, October 14, 2012 3 comments
I'm not a big fan of the Books-A-Million chain. The ones I've been in (admittedly, only two) have been resoundingly disorganized. Things have always frequently mis-shelved and prove difficult to find there, and even what organization there is seems somewhat haphazard. But I still stop in to one of the stores periodically because it's only three miles up the road and near a lot of other stores that I use for errands.

On a whim, I opted to check the bargain books they had racked out front and was surprised to come across this...
I've read some Amelia Rules! before, but it's not a favorite of mine. Not that it's done poorly, it just didn't resonate with me. Which is fine because I'm fairly certain I'm not the target audience here. But, for three bucks? Well, it's a hard deal to pass up. Worst case scenario: I pass it along to my niece as a Christmas gift.

Now, for some reason I can't fathom, I opted to open the book one page at a time. Typically, if I want to scan through it, I'll just thumb through the pages back to front. But today, I don't know why, I started by actually opening the cover. Only to find...
That would be author Jim Gownley's autograph.

I've heard of some authors who surreptitiously sign their books while browsing bookstores, but I believe Gownley lives in California so that strikes me as unlikely here. My guess is that Gownley had autographed a number of books an early signing (this one was printed in 2010) and those got distributed to many Books-A-Million locations across the country. And, given the disarray their systems generally seem to be in, it wouldn't surprise me if the signature has gone unnoticed/unreported for the past two years. At best, the store might have known they had a copy of this book, but not of any additional value or significance. Most other bookstores I know make a point of calling attention to signed copies with an additional sticker or paper slip on the cover.

But, hey, if I can take advantage of Books-A-Million's lack of organization, I will not hesitate to do so!

(Oh, and of course I checked the other Amelia Rules! volumes. This was the only one that was signed.)
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Matt K said...

If I ever have a book available in retail stores, I am totally sneaking in and signing copies unannounced. That would be so much fun.

I believe signed books are nonreturnable, which gives authors one more incentive to do signings. Sean, Jimmy actually lives in Pennsylvania so he might have come out to that store for a signing at some point. Signing on the sly doesn't seem like his style.

BTW, you really should read the Amelia books—I know they are for and about children, but Jimmy is an amazing cartoonist and the books get more complex as they go along, too. There's a lot there for adults to enjoy, even as kids laugh at the sneeze-barf jokes.

Matt W. said...

A similar thing happened to me in my LCS a few years back. On a whim I bought a discounted hardcover of Marshal Law only to discover both writer Pat Mills' and artist Kevin O'Neill's signatures inside.