Oh, the bounty.

I worked at Pegasus Books on Monday.

Cameron wanted a day off, the bastard. Ungrateful wretch.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to do a book order, going around the store, looking for holes to fill. There are no holes, but there were places I could still stack. Heh,

My mind flashed back to a day in 1997 when every category of product was in decline. Comics, cards, games, toys.

Worse, I couldn't think of anything to do about it. There was product out there, but I didn't have access. Toys companies were impossible to deal with, book distributors weren't much better. Diamond didn't deal in the breadth of stuff they do now. Even graphic novels were relatively skimpy.

I was ordering everything I could think of that was readily available and it wasn't enough. I'd hit a glass ceiling in Bend, limited by the population and the relative strengths of product that was beyond my control.

My decision was to dive back into Magic, which I'd abandoned because of rampant discounting. I gave in to reality, gave people discounts, and sales picked up, if not profits. The end result was that when Pokemon came along shortly thereafter, I had the mechanisms in place to take advantage of it.

Over the next few years, Diamond eventually came through, offering a wider variety of games, toys and books, and especially graphic novels, and the store became at least marginally profitable.

Little by little, I was able to get access to more and more stuff, and then--about a decade ago now--I dove fully into Games and New Books, both of which were a risk. Games were a risk because every single time I've invested, a full-service game store has come into town shortly thereafter. This time I just accepted reality and expected it and designed it accordingly. (Sure enough, two stores quickly followed, one mostly magic and the other boardgames and magic). But we can still sell stuff mostly because of our location.

But it was new books that was the real eye-opener. I'd stayed away from new books because the wholesalers really didn't want to deal with comic stores. Ironically, the popularity of graphic novels in regular stores made the bias silly and  moot and they finally came around.

I'd also heard so many horror stories about books. I kind of went all in when Borders and B & N were still going strong, when digital looked like it was going to conquer the world.

But the thing I've discovered is this -- if I carry a really good book, someone will buy it. And there is a long history of good books. It doesn't take research to realized that "Dune" will always sell or "The Alchemist" or "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and so on. I mean, there they are--proven books--and you are allowed to order them and stick them on your shelf, and then you find hidden gems, and then...

The point is--my problem is no longer finding enough stuff to sell, my problem is choosing which of those things that sell I can fit in my store.

A much nicer problem.