Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Regarding an Incident at our Commercial Drive Location

On Sunday 18 August, a client called our Commercial Drive shop to ask if we were buying books. A staff member said we would be happy to look, and the client brought books down to offer for sale.
Between the client’s phone call and his arrival at the store, the staff member took a phone call from another bookstore that made him feel uncomfortable about buying the client’s books. 
When the client arrived, the staff member did not discuss the concerns raised by the other bookstore with the client, but simply said that he was unable to buy the client’s material.
The client was, understandably, confused and upset, because he had been told on the phone that we would at least look at his books.  Voices were raised, and an argument ensued that eventually involved other customers.

Frustrated and angry, the client left the store and threw his books around on the sidewalk.  For reasons I do not understand and definitely do not agree with, the staff member chose to leave the store and hurl the client’s books back at him.  An altercation ensued that ended up with a 911 call and the staff member and client being interviewed by the VPD.

There has been extensive online discussion suggesting the client was profiled and assaulted because he is Indigenous.  This allegation is untrue. The staff member did not realize the client was Indigenous until he was being interviewed by the VPD, and the client’s indigineneity played no role in the staff member’s poorly conceived decision making.

To be clear: the client did nothing that excuses or explains his treatment by my staff.  Our response was unconscionable, offending even basic standards of common sense, good judgment, and empathy.  The staff member and I apologize, unreservedly, to the client and his family for our collective failure.
To be clearer: I am a settler who owns and operates businesses on the unceded traditional territories of the Swx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. 

I believe all levels of Canadian government have systematically failed Indigenous people since first contact, and that so-called “reconciliation” efforts are typically attempts at maintaining a preexisting power balance in favor of a settler state.  I do not want to reproduce, in miniature, existing power relations.

I am available for ongoing dialogue with anyone affected by this incident, either by phone (604.876.4311), Twitter (@pfbvan), or email to pulpbook@gmail.com.

Christopher Brayshaw
Owner, Pulpfiction Books
20 August 2019      

Monday, May 20, 2019

Now hiring: Full Time Bookseller(s)

Pulpfiction Books, Vancouver’s legendary independent bookstore, seeks mature, enthusiastic individuals interested in joining us as full time booksellers in August 2019.

The successful candidates will:

• Work 40 hours per week.  These are full time positions.

Not currently be attending college or university full time, or planning to within two or three years.

• Be available for a variety of shifts, including mornings, evenings, and weekends at all three of our shops.

• Possess good practical intelligence, and the ability to work quickly and multitask under pressure.  The jobs involve a lot of physical and mental activity, and are best compared to fast-paced restaurant work.  Those interested in standing behind a cash desk socializing and/or being paid to read will not be a good fit with us.

• Be client-focused.  Each time we hire we invariably interview folks who know lots about books, but very little about client service, and even less about sales.  We can teach our retail systems to almost anyone, but can't teach empathy and good judgment, which are more elusive components of character, and highly prized around here.

Have previous customer service or supervisory experience.  Previous book-related experience is preferred but not required. Some of our best staff came to us with no previous bookselling experience of any kind.

• Have a wide familiarity with contemporary literary fiction and non-fiction.

• Already possess an undergraduate degree or equivalent work history.

• Bring other skills and abilities to the table.  Examples: social media (Twitter; Blogger); basic accounting and/or bookkeeping skills; carpentry; HTML; SQL, PHP & MYSQL coding experience, etc.

We offer competitive compensation and a vibrant, entrepreneurial work environment.

To apply for these positions, please forward a detailed resume to pulpbook@gmail.com, or drop a resume off at any of our locations. Please, NO phone calls, non-resume email queries, or walk-in requests for employment.

We thank all applicants for your interest, but may not, depending on resume volume, be able to reply to everyone.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

PFB Events, October/November 2017: Jen Agg; Lynn Johnston

On Monday, October 23rd, Toronto's Jen Agg, author of I Hear She's A Real Bitch (Random House, 2017) and owner of Toronto's The Black Hoof, Grey Gardens, & etc., will be in house at 7pm to talk (for a while), answer questions & argue (for probably longer), drink wine (continuously), & maybe even sign some books.  I've read her book, & Agg is a business owner after my own heart -- smart, funny, possessed of real service standards, & ferociously opinionated.  If you'd like a seat, I recommend arriving c. 630pm for a 7pm start.  Both booze & books will be available in abundance.

On Thursday. November 9th, Lynn Johnston, creator of "For Better or For Worse," and one of the world's best living newspaper-strip cartoonists, will make a rare appearance at Main Street from 7-9pm, in conversation with Kurtis Findlay, her editor on IDW Books' new complete edition of For Better or For Worse.  This event will definitely be over capacity and we may have to turn people away if we max out the load limit on the floor!  Facebook event here, though please note that signing up on Facebook does not guarantee a seat; seating is strictly first-come, first-served, & showing up at 6pm for the 7pm start might not be a bad idea.  Free admission; books will be available for purchase.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

PFB Events: February 2017

Winter looks to be coming to an end, at least up at Main and Broadway. and we've lined up a variety of events for the remainder of the month, including one next week that will be standing-room only:

Next Saturday, 18 February, from 7 to 9pm, we're pleased to welcome Lawrence Weschler to Vancouver.  Weschler is a writer of creative nonfiction and 20+ year veteran of the New Yorker whose work encompasses visual-art criticism and in-depth profiles of figures like Robert Irwin, David Hockney, J.S.G. Boggs, and David Hildebrand Wilson and Diana Drake Wilson, co-founders of LA's Museum of Jurassic Technology.

On the 18th, Weschler will read from, and discuss, his latest book, Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists (Bloomsbury, 2017), a profile of the legendary sound and film editor's other love, astrophysics, and, specifically, "the rehabilitation of Titius-Bode, a long-discredited 18th century theory regarding the patterns by which planets and moons array themselves in gravitational systems across the universe."

This event will be 100% packed out!  Admission is free, as is box wine & the deli tray, but I definitely suggest early arrival if you don't want to be standing halfway down the aisle.  And thanks to our friend Genevieve Fuji Johnson, for arranging Lawrence Weschler's visit.

On Thursday, 23 February, from 7 to 9pm, our friend Robin Bougie launches the 10th anniversary edition of his extreme cinema zine, Cinema Sewer, at Main Street.  Leave the kids at home, but come for chips, free wine, zines, and a variety of shock- & smut- related merch and door prizes.

On Friday, 24 February, we're down at SFU Woodwards for the launch of Jaleh Mansoor's Marshall Plan Modernism (Duke UP, 2017). Free admission.

Finally, because I can never close these letters without a recommendation, Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach, a perennial PFB favorite, has just released a new novel, Son of a Trickster, which reads like an extended riff on Twin Peaks, but with First Nations spirit beings stalking around an otherwise realistically rendered Northern BC.  I devoured this book in under 24 hours, and unreservedly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Now Hiring: Contract Web Position

Pulpfiction Books is currently seeking an experienced web designer for a part-time contract position of between 40 and 50 hours of work, to be performed over the next month or month and a half. As far as we know, this is not a continuing position.

The job will involve updating our handmade webpage(s) under the guidance of senior staff, to improve their visual appearance, especially on mobile devices.  It will not involve designing pages from scratch.

Familiarity with HTML, CSS & image editing programs like Gimp and Photoshop is assumed.  Familiarity with Python, MYSQL, Google Adwords, or any combination thereof is a definite plus.

Most work to be performed @ PFB Main Street during regular business hours, ie., no late nights!

Compensation: $20/hr + staff discount on books.

Please submit a resume of relevant experience to pulpbook@gmail.com, clearly marked, WEB POSITION.  Please do not submit a resume if you don't live in the Lower Mainland; if we can't meet you face-to-face on a daily or weekly basis, we'll be unable to consider you for this position.

Thanks for your interest, & we hope to hear from you soon!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

PFB Events: November 2016

Grey drizzle, low light, hot water heat finally turned on behind the desk at Main Street: must be late fall!  And, after a month or two in which not much happened, November brings a whole horde of readings and other special events:

On Tuesday 1 November, with the help of the Association of Book Publishers of BC, we're presenting an intimate evening with Vancouver poets Julie Emerson, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Fred Wah and Evelyn Lau.  Each author will read from their most recent book for 15 or 20 minutes, followed by a short question-and-answer session and the cusomary freebie wine.  Things get going around 7pm and should wrap up by 9pm.

On Wednesday 2 November, PFB owner Chris Brayshaw will be co-interviewing graphic novelist and journalist Joe Sacco down at SFU Woodwards.  Tickets are still available through the SFU website ($13).  We'll be on site all evening with a variety of Sacco's books for sale.

On Thursday 3 November, we're selling books at a private event for novelist Patrick Taylor (An Irish Country Doctor, & etc.).  If you would like a signed copy of one of his in print works, please let us know!

On Friday 4 November, our friend Clint Burnham has organized a reading by American poet Rodrigo Toscano, which starts around 7pm at Main Street. Toscano will be reading from and signing his most recent book, Explosion Rocks Springfield.

After all this activity, a break for a week or two, and then on Wednesday 23 November poets Danielle LaFrance and Anahita Jamali Rad, co-editors of the feminist literary journal About a Bicycle, will join us at Main Street at 7pm to read from their latest collections, both published by our friends at Talonbooks.

That's it for events this month.

As usual, a few staff picks and recent client favorites round thinsg out.  Not a book club, just titles we're currently reading and enjoying:

Katherena Vermette's The Break

Mary Beard's SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

Emily Witt's Future Sex

Lynda Gray's First Nations 101

Zoe Whittall's Best Kind of People

Steve Wolfhard's Collected Cat Rackham

Finally, December is fast approaching.  A gentle reminder that things will soon become completely mental over here, and that extra savings are often available on books in return for a slightly longer wait.  If your Xmas /  Hanukkah /  pagan winter festival gift list includes books, give us a holler by late November, and avoid being stuck behind the guy who desperately needs a signed first edition of the Hobbit on December 23rd (which sounds like a joke, but we have taken this exact frantic request once or twice each December for the last 16.5 years)!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

PFB Events: June 2016

After a quiet May, we've got a number of author events in June:

Tomorrow, Wednesday June 1st, Olympia writer Jim Lynch visits Main Street from 7 to 9pm to read from his new novel  Before the Wind.  Lynch's lyrical Pacific Northwest family sagas have earned comparison to everything from Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion to Steinbeck's Cannery Row, & his previous novel The Highest Tide has been a perennial PFB bestseller since its release in 2005.

Nothing special is planned for Sunday June 12th, which is PFB's 16th anniversary.  Always kind of a surprise when the date rolls around; it feels more like a very busy eight or twelve weeks, but the calendar & my brow furrows apparently think otherwise.

On Thursday, June 16th, our good friend Sam Wiebe, author of the terrific debut Vancouver-based noir novel Last of the Independents, which many crime-loving PFB regulars read & enjoyed, launches his second novel, Invisible Dead, at Main Street from 7 to 9pm. This launch will be very busy; if you want a seat, plan to arrive by 6:30 or so.

On Friday, June 17th, PFB's third-ever customer, SFU's Clint Burnham, will be in house from 7-9pm to read from his new collection of poems, Pound @ GuntAnamo. Clint will be joined by special guest reader/performers Jordan Abel and Shazia Hafiz Ramji.

As always, these events are free and open to the public.  Most have free box wine and/or snacks.

Finally, two miscellaneous notes:

1. Our friends at the SFU library are bringing perennial PFB bestseller Maggie Nelson (Bluets; The Argonauts) to Vancouver in January 2017!  Still a ways off, but we are obviously stoked by the prospect of a free Maggie Nelson lecture at SFU Woodwards, and several days of events on Burnaby Mountain!  More details in the fall.

2.  Question #1 at the desk: "What are the regulars reading?"  We're not Oprah and this isn't our book club, but a few recent titles that have been mega-popular among folks we're on a first-name basis with include:

Leanne Simpson, Islands of Decolonial Love

Elena Ferrante, The Neapolitan Quartet

Lindy West, Shrill (coming soon to our friends across the street at the Fox!)

Paul Lazenby, When We Were Bouncers

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Thanks for reading this far!


Christopher Brayshaw & staff