Buy out Glad Day

Here’s the obverse of a graphic novel at Gladstone:

Handwritten price and other labels alongside an orange tag from Beguiling: $16.95

Oh, so we’re buying comic books from the Beguiling now? Well, that’s fine. (Or maybe they’re just the distributor, but go with the first idea for a moment.)

Glad Day Books, the antediluvian, difficult-to-like homosexualist bookstore, has a treasure trove of items unavailable anywhere else. Of particular interest are their several spinner racks of DVDs, chock full of every gay movie you’ve never heard of. Since the taste level of TPL’s DVD selection committee sits second to bottom above that of the CD selection committee, movie choices tend to be quite poor. TPL overbought on anime and Law & Order reruns and seems to have two unwanted copies of Redbelt at every branch. And despite assurances to my face, the library would prefer to buy hundreds of copies of shitty American product than five copies each of every single Canadian film released every year. (Actually, that’s a post in itself, but let’s continue.)

TPL should just swoop in with a blank purchase order and buy out the entire non-porn DVD collection at Glad Day. In cases where the store has only one copy of a title, that’s still more than enough information to buy a few more. Stick one copy in the graveyard of the Reference Library, never to be seen again, and let the rest circulate (yes, with holds allowed).

Or just go there with a reasonable digicam and take a picture of the cover and ISBN of every movie in the store, then go back and order them. But why go through all that hassle? Just clear the place out.

This would be a good time to discuss simply buying half the store. That’s what the proprietress of the old design bookstore Another Man’s Poison wanted UofT to do, but they were too stupid to take the bait and just buy the place and inhale all its books.

In this case, I wouldn’t be a priss about it. I wouldn’t carefully double-check the catalogue to ensure the library does not already have one precious copy of any particular book, invariably locked away in the vaults at TRL. (Like, I dunno, Mates.) Besides, that would take weeks. Just swing a deal to buy everything that isn’t a calendar or outright porn. (And why not some of the latter? The library already buys it. So did UofT back in the day.) That wouldn’t necessarily cost full retail, either; I’m sure both sides could do business.

What exactly is wrong with this idea? Do you really think the library knows what it’s doing enough, and has enough contacts, to stock sufficient gay and lesbian books? An amusing bit of puffery there, I’d say. Assuming you can put up with the atmosphere for that long, spend half an hour just reading the spine titles on a couple of the shelves at Glad Day. Then walk up the street to Yorkville and compare the books on display (admittedly, what they’ve got there are new releases). It’s no contest.

Does TPL want a good collection, or is it more interested in avoiding any suggestion its own in-house staff and procedures have failed to produce such a collection? Well, it’s too late: I’m saying right here that TPL’s gay collection isn’t good enough. There’s an easy fix close at hand. But to do it, somebody would have to admit that the current system isn’t working. Somebody other than me.

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