Friday, November 30, 2012

Why I Love The Clearance Section

The holiday season is coming up. Christmas lists are being formed. Wallets are shrinking. Some of you probably dove into the crazy Black Friday shopping, metaphorical guns blazing and literal elbows flying. I admire people who derive joy out of finding a good deal. I'm one of them, though I tend to value sleep over money.

I can't offer much help when it comes to shoes or leather jackets or big-screen TVs. However, I can offer tips when it comes to books. Most tips are pretty common sensical. Watch for sales. Sign up for memberships when it makes economic sense. Buy boxed sets when possible. (They're cheaper in the long run.) And, as much as it pains me to say it, always double check prices online (but make sure to factor in shipping).

But there's one tip that people often ignore, one that I slacked on myself until recently. Always check the clearance section.

Despite what you may think, the clearance section isn't just for old, rejected books that no one else wants. Okay, yes, the clearance section isn't filled with new books, but hear me out.

How I view Corporate
In most stores, what happens is the corporate office buys up big bins of surplus books from the publishers. For one reason or another, the amount of books printed outstripped the demand from consumers, so all these books sit in some dusty warehouse, taking up space and wasting money. When stores buy books to resell as sale books, the producers get the extra shipment out of their warehouses for some money (so it's not a total loss) and the stores get to sell cheap books that their customers will snap up. At least, that's my understanding of the way things work. I just have to deal with those stupid, scanner-unfriendly sale stickers.

Still, you may be underwhelmed at the thought of picking through unwanted books. And granted, some of the books milling about in our clearance section aren't very exciting. But there are also some hidden gems to be found.

For instance, over the last few months, I bought the following sale books:
- Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
- Behemoth by Scott Westerfield
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
- Lionness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
- Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted
- Heist Society by Ally Carter
- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Thief Queen's Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon

All of those books I bought for $6 or less, and all (ALL!!) with the exception of The Lightning Thief were hardcover.

It gets even better. Take the day I bought I Am Number Four and Graceling. Ordinarily, hardcovers of each title would run... oh, say, $16 each in store? That day, they were each marked at $3.32. A STEAL. But then I also used my 20% off employee discount (only a bit better than the 10% store members get) and a $5 gift card. So those two books, which would have originally costed $32 plus tax ended up costing me $.32 plus tax. How nuts is that?!

Granted, the sale section doesn't give you the same selection as the rest of the store, but it's still pretty stinkin' good! Just last week, we had hardcovers of Scott Westerfield's Uglies and Pretties, as well as all of Lauren Kate's Fallen series, P.C. Cast's House of Night series, and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series. Again, ALL FOR UNDER SIX DOLLARS APIECE.

And don't think that because we have a book displayed near the front that it won't be back in the sale section. We've stocked books on our regular shelves and on sale shelves at the same time. I know. That's tricky of us, but c'est la vie.

Therefore, for the health of your wallet and the happiness of your friends and relatives, I will repeat myself one more time: ALWAYS CHECK THE CLEARANCE SECTION.

You're welcome.

What gems have YOU found on sale?