Yeah, I know, that was pretty lame, but I’m busy, and tired, and, aw what the hell.

This past Friday was September 7th, known for three monumental occurrences:

1. The birth of seminal rock star Buddy Holly (1936-1959)

2. The birth of me (1964-any minute now if I don’t get some of this weight off)


3. National Buy a Book Day

On Friday you went out and bought a book—I just know you did. I did, and saw an awful lot of people reporting on Facebook, Twitter, and so on that they did the same. This year it seemed as though no one was noticing, then on the day all these people reported in that they bought a book. I loved it.

Next year, it will be even bigger, I promise.

I am about to hit you up for money, so prepare yourself. I’ll give you a little time to adjust by telling you what I bought on Friday.

I started off the day at, in an effort to prove the answer to three common questions regarding National Buy a Book Day. Look, another numbered list:

1. Do online bookstores count as bookstores?


2. Can I buy a used book?

YES. I bought two from Amazon, and one of them made it to my mailbox yesterday, which is crazy fast.

3. Do e-books “count”?

YES. I bought a Kindle book, too.

I then waited most of the rest of the day for my son to come home from school and my wife to come home from work, then off to the brick-and-mortar store we went. In an effort to buy newer books from living authors at full price, we chose our local Barnes & Noble and each picked out a book. I would have gone to an independent bookstore, but the closest one is pretty far away. I would have gone to a used bookstore, but had already bought used books that day and what am I, made of money? This also goes to one of the more frequently asked questions: How many books can/do I need to buy? The answer to that: As many as you want as long as it’s a number equal to or greater than one. You do not have to singlehandedly fund the publishing business. No one can do that. The idea is that if a lot of people each buy one book, a lot of books will be sold. Mission accomplished.

What did I buy? Here’s the full list:

It was my birthday, so I decided to treat myself and paid about $20 for one of the rarer Ace SF Doubles for my still-incomplete collection. I found a fine copy of #D-103 Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick/The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett.

Worth it for the cover art alone!

The Philip K. Dick Ace Doubles are hard to find and coveted by collectors, so I had to pony up for it, but I’m delighted to have it as part of my collection. I polybagged it and will care for it lovingly.

I’m planning to read the entire Berserker series by Fred Saberhagen, but don’t have all the books yet, so I bought one of the missing titles: Berserker Wars.

The Kindle book I chose was We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen because it looked interesting.

At Barnes & Noble I picked out Maphead by Ken Jennings, which I had not heard of and just happened to see on the shelf.


This appears to be a book written specifically for me, a lover of maps. It’s going up close to the front of the rotation. And come to think of it, I need to blog about maps. Remind me.

My wife picked out Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones, subtitled “An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury.” She’s a Queen fan, and will happily tell anyone all about her having seen them play live in Chicago in the 80s. And let’s face it, something tells me this guy’s “intimate” story will be real page-turner. I might have to check it out myself.

My son, who’s just started seventh grade, chose The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. He’s read at least a couple books by that author and is a fan, and I’m a fan of kids who are fans of authors. I paid for it with a smile on my face.

My daughter’s off at college and was on her own to buy a book, and she better dang well have done so. Her tuition money depends on it.

(Not really.)

Please feel free to tell me what book(s) you bought here in the comments section.

And now, I hit you up for money.

The National Buy a Book Day Foundation is up and running. I’m still working on expanding the web site and creating programs for readers, booksellers, authors, and publishers, and by this time next year we’ll have a lot more to offer. For now we have two goals:

1. Get our 501(c)3 paperwork done and submitted. This costs a bit over $700 but will allow us to received tax deductible donations, and corporate donations.

2. The next goal is to get some kind of a presence at Book Expo America in 2013. This will require as much as $5000. Not cheap, but we need to get to where the book people are, and start getting retailers and publishers on board with this.

In the weeks ahead we’ll have a PayPal solution for the web site, but for now, we’re kickin’ it Old School and accepting checks or money orders by mail. Follow THIS LINK to find out where to send your check.

The National Buy a Book Day Foundation supports readers, authors, booksellers, publishers, and most of all, BOOKS. If that isn’t a worthy cause . . .


—Philip Athans








About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
This entry was posted in Books, conventions, E-Books, National Buy a Book Day, Publishing Business, Romance Novels, Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels, SF and Fantasy Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. craig says:

    The Importance of Living – Lin Yutang, Kindle Edition

    It’s a heavy read though, so I think I’ll shelve it until I’m on vacation next.

  2. Shawn says:

    I picked up, brand new I’m happy to add, the first book in a trilogy by some author I’ve never heard of. What was it called again? Whisper of Waves or something silly like that. I’m skepticle about it. *wink wink*

    Since I finally got a new job and just recently started, I splurged and bought a second book. The Voice of the Night by Koontz. I bought that one used at my local book store. I do plan on a few more buys and I’ll be targeting authors I have never heard of. Gotta’ get in to the flow of my new job, though and become more accustomed to 3rd shift.

    • Shawn says:

      Sorry for the second comment. I just butchered the word ‘sceptical’. -_- It’s 6 AM. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

  3. Mike says:

    I ended up buying _Roadside Picnic_, apparently a classic Russian SF novel from the 70s that I’d never heard of, just out in a new translation. I kinda cheated because I bought it just before B&N closed at 10 on Thurs night, but I figured almost 10 PM on Thurs here was actually Friday on the east coast, so it still counts, right?

  4. R.T.C. says:

    I didn’t know about buy a book day, but on friday I bought your book guide to writing fantasy and sci fi and then came here and found this

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