Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Hours

PFB Main Street and PFB Kits will close on Saturday December 31st at 5pm.

PFB Main Street and PFB Kits will be closed on Sunday January 1st, 2012.  Reason: packing for PFB Commercial Drive.

Regular hours resume Monday January 2nd 2012 at 10am (Main) and 11am (Kits).

God willing, PFB Commercial Drive (1830 Commercial, between 2nd and 3rd, on the east side of the street) will be up and running by the 20th of January.  News here (and maybe a few photographs) as things develop.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Breaking News: PFB 3.0

1830 Commercial Drive.

New and used books, side by side.

January 2012.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How Can We Help?

With Christmas fast approaching, an instant recap of what my microeconomics course calls "sustainable competitive advantage":

Most paid-in-advance special orders from us are now 30% off Canadian cover price. Ever feel like you had to buy something on-line, or from a corporate giant, because you suspected that buying local & independent was going to cost you more? That's a choice you no longer have to make.

What's more, if you order $100 or more of books from us at once, we'll deliver your books to your home or office, anywhere in the city of Vancouver, at no additional charge.

Q: How do you guys make any money at this?

A: By selling lots and lots of books, and by receiving an extra bit of margin from our favorite suppliers, based on the steadily increasing volume of our orders.

Q: Phone orders?

A: You bet. Visa, MC, AmEx. Or our wireless debit machine at your door, just like the pizza guy.

Most special orders from come as fast, or faster, than when ordered online.

Example: book ordered from Big Canadian Chain and shipped from Ontario to Vancouver: 5 to 7 working days.  Book ordered from PFB and shipped from Vancouver-based or Western Canadian supplier: 2 or 3 days.  Plus, when you order from us (or any other real bookstore, for that matter), you never pay shipping, handling, or border brokerage.  Nor do you have to wait in a 55-person lineup at your local Canada Post outlet, listening to Phil Collins sing "The Little Drummer Boy."

We hope you'll keep us in mind this holiday season.  If you have any questions about any book-related issue, please phone or email.  We are always happy to hear from you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nomados Book Launch Tonight @ Main Street

Please join Nomados Literary Publishers as we launch four new books: Sonnets : Louise Labé by Edward Byrne; Lever by Stephen Collis; Twenty Objects for  the New World by Alex Leslie; and that stays news by Nikki Reimer. Readings by the authors and a mystery guest.

Saturday November 19 at Pulpfiction Books 2422 Main, 7-9 pm. Light  refreshments. FREE.

Associated with the Kootenay School of Writing, Edward Byrne is the author  of Aporia and Beautiful Lies. He is also the co-editor of The Recovery of  the Public World: Essays on Poetics in Honour of Robin Blaser.

Stephen Collis' most recent book of poetry, On the Material, won the 2011 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He is currently writing a book about change.

Alex Leslie's collection of short stories People Who Disappear will be  published by Freehand Books in April. Winner of a CBC Literary Award and a  Gold National Magazine Award, she has published in literary journals throughout Canada.

Nikki Reimer's book [sic] was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert award. Her  chapbooks include haute action material and fist things first, and her work has appeared in The Capilano Review, Dandelion, Poetry is Dead, West Coast Line, Matrix, PRISM, and other magazines. She is currently Managing Editor
of EVENT magazine.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

CJB's Top 10 Ever Fiction List

A client requests, and I warily supply, a list of my all-time top ten favorite novels.  Your mileage may vary.

1.  Paul Bowles, Let It Come Down (1952)

2.  Don Carpenter, Hard Rain Falling (1966)

3.  M. John Harrison, Light (2001)

4.  Russell Hoban, Turtle Diary (1975)

5. Denis Johnson, Fiskadoro (1985)

6. Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, tr. Lydia Davis (1857 / 2011)

7. Cormac McCarthy, Suttree (1979)

8.  Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, tr. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (1877 / 2000)

9. Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962) or A Scanner Darkly (1977)

10. Pete Dexter, God's Pocket (1983)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breaking News: Free Delivery; Extra Savings

Most paid-in-advance special orders from us are now 30% off Canadian cover price.  Ever feel like you had to buy something on-line, or from a corporate giant, because you suspected that buying local & independent was going to cost you more? That's a choice you no longer have to make.

What's more, if you order $100 or more of books from us at once, we'll deliver your books to your home or office, anywhere in the city of Vancouver, at no additional charge.

Q:  How do you guys make any money at this?

A:  By selling lots and lots of books, and by receiving an extra bit of margin from our favorite suppliers, based on the steadily increasing volume of our orders.

Q:  Phone orders?

A:  You bet.  Visa, MC, AmEx.  Or our wireless debit machine at your door, just like the pizza guy.

Q:  Can my friend in Nigeria order 500 copies of the new Steve Jobs bio?

A:  No.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cinemasewer #3 Launch Party!

This coming Saturday, October 22nd, 7-10pm.  Cash bar.  Mr. Bougie will be in the house peddling his latest collection (above), while his extraordinarily talented wife, Rebecca Dart, will be selling copies of her new sketchbook, Battle Kittens, and some other publications.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We're (Still) Hiring

Pulpfiction Books, Vancouver's largest independent used & new bookstore, is hiring for a full-time (40 hr/week) position, available immediately, and two part-time (20-30 hr/week) positions with flexible start dates later on in the fall.

Successful candidates will have:

• AT LEAST 2 years of used/new bookselling experience, with additional experience warmly welcomed.  Please note that bookselling experience is ESSENTIAL for these current positions; while we *theoretically* welcome resumes from folks with no bookstore experience at all, we're super-busy at the moment and have no time to train new staff from scratch.

• The ability to think quickly under pressure in an absurdly busy retail environment, and abundant common sense.

• Deep familiarity with relatively obscure authors and micro-genres.  If Kenneth Patchen, the Strugatsky brothers, Jack Ketchum, Tucker Coe, Maureen McHugh and Victor Serge are familiar to you, you'll probably get along just fine with us.

• Previous cash handling experience and basic familiarity with a variety of record-keeping systems and databases (Book Manager; Word; Excel; Filemaker)

• Patience in the face of endless requests for books you've never heard of (every day, guaranteed!).  And bibliographic research skills, that will help you educate yourself, your co-workers, and customers about the same.

• The ability to work a variety of rotating shifts, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

• The willingness to accept responsibility, and the ability to work unsupervised for long periods of time.

• A positive, upbeat, non-Type A personality.

• No serious physical ailments.  All of our positions involve standing on your feet for long periods of time, plus frequently lifting 30-40 pound boxes of books.

• A minimum time commitment of one year.

We offer:

• Competitive compensation.  None of our positions are minimum wage.

• Fully paid extended medical benefits, including dental, for full-time staff.

• An unparalleled opportunity to work in a creative, entrepreneurial, non-corporate environment.

• The opportunity to take on increasing responsibilities, and to be compensated accordingly.

If interested in either full- or part-time work, please send a detailed resume, including the names and contact details of at least three current references, to  Please, NO phone calls or walk-in requests for work.  Please also note that our part-time positions are a MINIMUM of 20 hours a week, and probably not suitable for those enrolled full time in school.

We thank all applicants in advance for their interest, but regret that we will be only able to contact selected applicants for interviews.

Monday, August 22, 2011

PFB Is Hiring

We're looking for a candidate for a full time, 40 hour a week position.  The successful applicant will have substantial new and/or used bookstore experience, or will be able to fake it under pressure. Perks: above-average compensation, health plan.  Disadvantage: eccentric manic-depressive boss.  Resumes in any format to  Please, no phone calls or walk-in requests for employment. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Winter is Coming

2 days and counting...

Our Main Street shop will be open until midnight on Monday night, so that we can begin selling George R.R. Martin's A DANCE WITH DRAGONS at 12:01am on Tuesday, July 12th.

20% off Canadian cover price, 30% off if you COME IN COSTUME (which cardboard "armor" isn't).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More New Books @ Used Prices

We just bought the stock of a bankrupt BC bookstore.  About 16 boxes of brand new books, which we're selling at used prices.  Lots of recent literature, visual art, books about BC, First Nations studies, & etc.  As always, limited quantities.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Big 11th Anniversary Sale. TWO DAYS ONLY: June 11 & 12

We turned ten last year, and I promised we'd do something to celebrate and then promptly forgot about it due to the usual deluge of new and used books, overtly optimistic expansion plans, etc. etc.  So we're doing something for our 11th birthday instead.

Even though we are notorious for never having sales we're having one this weekend:

$200+ of books (new & used) = 50% off all used stock

That's like getting $100 of used books for free!  New books count toward the $200, but don't get any additional love.

The fine print: Saturday and Sunday only at both locations.  No trade slips, hold shelf items, gift certificates or half-assed "negotiation."  Dealers welcome if we already know and like you.  If we don't. . .

Oh, and we're also going to have a (free) barbecue sometime before the end of the summer.  Details forthcoming.

(And, just because someone will ask: 2011 is shaping up to be the busiest in our ten-years-and-counting history, and the image above has been carefully selected in the spirit of "playfully flaunted irony")

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're 11 Years Old on Sunday

Stay tuned for a big announcement tomorrow about this time.  No, we're not closing or adding a new location.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stephen Collis & Garry Thomas Morse @ PFB

Stephen Collis and Garry Thomas Morse will read from their work @ PFB on Thursday, June 9, 2011.

Reading starts at 7:30pm, Thursday, June 9, 2011.  Limited seating, arrive early if you want a chair!

Stephen Collis is the author of Mine, Anarchive, The Commons, Phyllis Webb and the Common Good, Through Words of Others: Susan Howe and Anarcho-Scholasticism, and On the Material. A member of the Kootenay School of Writing, he teaches American literature, poetry, and poetics at Simon Fraser University, while continuing his work on “The Barricades Project.” His most recent book On the Material, is the winner of the 2011 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Garry Thomas Morse is the author of Transversals for Orpheus, Streams, Death in Vancouver, After Jack, and aDiscovery Passages. In 2008, he received the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist. His new book Discovery Passages is the first collection of poetry about the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) First Nations.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are Books an Endangered Species?

Essential reading:

"The books that publishers choose are almost entirely of zero interest to actual book-buyers.  After 9/11, there were a ton of books about 9/11, which nobody bought.  Same thing with the Iraq War, the rise of Obama, the economic meltdown, and even, inexplicably, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Or the books are rehashed business lessons, religious truths, sports clichés, motivational babble, exercise fads, weight loss techniques, or pandering to the political left or the right.  Who wants these books?  Almost no one.

Most of the major publishers today are owned by international conglomerates who, at some point, will awaken to the realization that English majors in their employ are spending millions of dollars on books that no one wants to read.  [For "English majors" I'd substitute "demographic marketers," but that's a minor point]

As a result, few trade books earn real money for the publisher (and certainly not for the author!).  That’s because the publisher bears the entire risk of buying, editing, printing, and shipping copies of the book to bookstores all over the country on a 100% returnable basis.  If your local Barnes & Noble doesn’t sell a particular book, it goes right back to the publisher, at the publisher’s shipping cost, for a full refund.  [Again, not quite: it goes right back to the publisher for a partial credit against future purchases.  But the "key takeaway" here is that much of the publisher's and retailer's profit ends up in the hands of the shippers who move the huge quantities of heavy books no one wants back and forth across the country]  Especially in the Internet era, you can’t make money putting books on trucks and hoping someone buys them.

At [Book Expo America] next week, the attendees will solemnly discuss the latest trends, discuss how to get 70-year-old authors to use Twitter, and generally party like it’s 1989.  But for traditional publishing, the party’s over.   They just don’t want to realize that it’s time to turn out the lights."

[Also pertinent: a recent conversation with my old nemesis, Penguin Canada.  We ordered a travel guide for a client who was heading to India on short notice.  Penguin, after the usual 10 to 14 day wait, shipped an entirely different book, and I called to complain on behalf of my client, who was getting on a plane in two days and was understandably pissed:

PFB [after relaying the whole sordid tale]:  What should I tell my client?

PENGUIN CANADA:  Tell her these things happen.

We sourced the guidebook elsewhere, and the client boarded her plane book in hand.  But the strong impression I took away from my telephone conversation was that, as with any monopoly, Penguin really felt that the client and I had no other option other than to wait for Penguin to fix the problem it had created in its own sweet time.  This is an attitude that belongs to 1965, not 2011, and these days I feel more and more like a small, warm-blooded mammal running around the towering, but clearly unhealthy feet of such dinosaurs as Penguin and Random House and the Hachette Book Group]

Friday, May 13, 2011


We just bought the best collection in the shop's history.  If you don't come in every week, this weekend might be a good time for a visit.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Electronic Publishing Bingo

(via John Scalzi)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Building Steam With a Grain of Salt

Not many updates here this month because it's been very, very busy at both shops, and blogging always comes at the tail end of a long list of higher value activities, including:

• Doubling the number of new books available at our Kitsilano location (3133 West Broadway) and dramatically increasing the number of new cultural studies and philosophy titles at Main Street

• Better organizing the stock at both shops (no more half-empty shelves, books piled one on top of the other, or huge overflowing stacks of stuff in the aisles)

• Expanding our book distribution network once again.  We can now obtain 99% of the books currently in print in North America in approximately 5-10 working days, typically at US$ cover price and often less.  Unlike Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and the rest of the big online outfits, we never charge for shipping.  And, if you special order $100 or more of new books at once, we'll promptly deliver your books to your home or office at no additional charge.

Interested?  Give us a call or drop in.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We Can Haz Twitter?

The usual sporadic updates, as time permits.

(Image courtesy Stasia's iPhone)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coming Soon: George R.R. Martin's A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

According to GRRM's website, A Dance With Dragons will (finally) be available for sale on Tuesday July 12th, 2011.

Our Main Street location will be open until midnight on Monday July 11th, 2011, and copies of DWD will promptly go on sale at 1 minute past midnight.

All copies of DWD will be 20% off Canadian cover price.  We'll even provide an extra 10% discount if you come dressed as a "Song of Ice & Fire" character, or with alcohol for the hard-working late night staff.

We anticipate a block-long lineup, and have some festivities planned to keep everyone entertained during the long slow midnight countdown.

(We're already taking special orders for Dance, in case you can't make it in at midnight, or want to ensure that you receive a first edition, first printing).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"I Can Order That Out-of-Print Book Myself Online!"

Or...we could source the book for you, arrange for shipping, customs duties, & etc., and usually negotiate a better price in the process.

We just obtained a mint first edition copy of Hunter S. Thompson's very rare novella, Screwjack (#1/300 signed and numbered copies) for a client.  After taxes, shipping, and our finder's fee, our client saved approximately $300 USD over the prices quoted for similar condition copies by online sellers.

If you are thinking of ordering a scarce, out-of-print, or collectable book, drop in; we can definitely save you some time, and probably some money, too.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Totally Off-Topic Survey

Readership-survey questions:

1. How much would you happily pay for a doughnut made with premium ingredients?  (eg., something tasty, and of good quality, but not necessarily certified green, organic, or "locavore")

2.  What are some of your favorite doughnut flavors?

3.  Favorite doughnut spot in Vancouver?  Canada?  The US?

Replies of any length, even wise-ass ones, welcome.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


In response to customer requests, and by special arrangement with New York's OR Books, we're going to be carrying copies of Eileen Myles' Inferno: A Poet's Novel up at Main Street.  (Some other recent Myles titles, including Sorry, Tree (Wave Books, Seattle) and her excellent The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art are already on the shelves).  Inferno is not readily available in Canada, and we expect it to sell briskly.  Want a copy?  Call us; we'll save a copy for you and will phone or email when it arrives.  $16CDN = US cover price!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich

Lots more here.

(via Constant Reader Reiko T., with major thanks)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alexander MacLeod Reads @ PFB

Halifax resident Alexander Macleod will read from his Giller shortlisted debut collection of short fiction up at Main Street this Thursday, February 24th, from 7-9:30pm as part of the UBC Creative Writing program's monthly Locution series.  Admission's free, but we expect this event to be way beyond capacity.  If you want to get a seat, or to even squeeze in the front door, plan on arriving by 6:45pm at the latest.  Books and beverages available as usual.

In other news:

Q:  Why is this blog never updated?

A:  It's nuts here.  We probably took in between 400 and 500 books today, and sold just as many.  2011 is definitely turning out to be the busiest year in our going-on 11-year history.  Blogging's fun, but it comes way behind buying books, selling books, and sourcing books for customers.

Q:  Still taking special orders?

A:  Every day, like mad. We've even added some new distributors so that we can order scarce academic stuff, and mysteries, science fiction and fantasy titles previously only available in the UK.  And we're starting to experiment with sourcing out-of-print and antiquarian books on demand.  Want a $2500 US limited edition Hunter S. Thompson hardcover?  Come see us. Not only can we get it for you, we can likely save you some money in the process.

Q:  Kindle...Amazon...Nook...e-books?

A:  Not much of an issue here.  We're busy, happy, packed to the rafters with interesting stuff, and hiring new staff to keep up with the demand.  New lights installed at Main Street -- big hydro bill savings; more easily visible shelves! -- and lots of new titles in at Kits.

Q:  Still buying?

A:  Definitely!  Every day at both stores, up until 5pm.