Monday, December 30, 2013

James Bond Collection In Slipcase

Over the past few months I've seen heaps of ads from overseas on eBay featuring pictures like the one below of the Vintage 007 slipcase set of Bond novels up for sale.  As far as I'm aware this set of books has never been available in retail stores here in Australia...
... until now.
I saw this display in a Big W store here in Melbourne.  The set of 14 Fleming novels are also very reasonably priced.  Despite having a price sticker of GBP £111.86 on its base the set is selling at Big W stores for AU $50 which at the current exchange rates is equivalent to US $44.31 or GBP £26.88.

My wife and I visited a few Big W stores this morning before purchasing this set.  The slipcase is sealed in plastic so I haven't had a chance to check if there are still barcodes on the back of the books however the paper stock used for the covers is definitely different to the same cover series already displayed on the website.  I'll be interested to see if there are any slight cover or colour variations, but regardless it's a great slipcase.

On a different note yesterday I attended Day 3 of The Ashes match at the MCG between Australia and England.  (We won convincingly today on Day 4).  Anyway, my brother disappeared at lunch and returned with a meat pie and several of the postcards shown below advertising the "Designing 007" exhibition here in Melbourne.  Never thought I'd be returning from the cricket with 007 collectables !  Thanks bro.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bond Omnibus Arrives In The Post

"The James Bond Collection" featuring "Casino Royale", "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Dr No" by Ian Fleming arrived in the post a couple of days ago.  This omnibus was released in the US in May this year but instead of purchasing a copy on-line my plan was to buy a copy while on holiday last August/September.
However upon seeing a physical copy in a Chapters Bookstore in Vancouver, CA I realised it was going to be too heavy to take home in my suitcase and I had to abandon that plan.

I'd never been in a Chapters Bookstore before when I entered this store in Vancouver City in August this year.  It reminded me of a Borders store, right down to people sitting in chairs reading books and magazines they'd picked up from the shelves.  (I'm not sure that similarity is a good one either.)  As well as the omnibus they also had copies of the latest series of US Fleming covers and many of the new US Gardner covers.  There were many Charlie Higson novels for sale but no Young Bonds.

And if you're interested, here's some more photos I took while in the same Chapters store.  Since the demise of Borders there are no book stores as big as this in Melbourne any more.  I was very envious and wondered if these Canadians knew how lucky they were to still have such a large retail base for books.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Free Tourist Magazine With "Designing 007" Cover

I recently picked up this free tourist magazine "Where".  The article promoting the "Designing 007" exhibition in Melbourne is just a couple of paragraphs long but I couldn't go past it for the iconic photo on the cover.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Weekend In The City - Part 2 (The Bad Part)

As mentioned in my previous blog entry my wife and I stayed overnight in the City the other week.  After visiting a number of book stores we made our way to the last store on our list - Flinders Books / Kill City on Swanston Street.

Despite visiting this book store many times I always have problems finding it.  I know I'm getting close when I'm walking opposite the Town Hall.  But as the shop front is just a doorway, and the large yellow sign "Secondhand Books" under the front awning is just one of many from a distance, I have to look for the familiar small yellow square flag hanging near the doorway that reads "Second Hand Books" (see top left of the last photo in this blog entry from December 2012).

Today I couldn't see the flag and for a moment I was disoriented.  Then my wife pointed to a closed red door, and upon that door in black hand-written text was written "Book shop closed".  I climbed the stairs to the opal shop next door and a person behind the counter confirmed it too.  Flinders Books / Kill City was no more.

While my wife could see how disappointed I was, all I could think about were those words I'd heard earlier that day at City Basement Books - "Yes, we're certainly a dying breed".  In fact it turns out Flinders Books / Kill City has been closed for several months now.  While I was packing for my trip overseas they were packing up shop for good.

For as long as I can remember Flinders Books has operated a shop at this location on Swanston Street.  They also had a second store on Flinder's Street itself but that closed in 2012.  I wrote a blog entry featuring this store closing too, including some photos, but I suppose it didn't concern me too much at the time because the Swanston Street store was still open and I saw it as intelligent consolidation.

In the mid-2000's Kill City suddenly closed on Chapel Street in Prahran and opened again at the Swanston Street store.  My recollections of Kill City are two-fold.  I think I visited the original Greville Street book store in Prahran just a couple of times.  I remember it being filled with weird characters and strange books and mags, but it also had Bond on it's shelves.  Then Kill City moved to Chapel Street in the same suburb and the store felt different.  Gone were the strange people and unusual items on the shelves.  This store was clean, well organised with standard shelving and many of the books for sale were almost remainders, but all still linked to thrillers and crime including Bond.

Now both Flinders Books and Kill City are just photos and memories.  Although I may be speaking too soon... there's a chance of them reopening at another location according to this excellent blog entry on Pulp Curry by Andrew Nette, so fingers crossed !

Here's some more photos of Flinders Books / Kill City when we found it closed the other week.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Weekend In The City - Part 1 (The Good Part)

About three weeks ago my wife and I stayed in the City for a "dirty weekend" as we had a fun run the next morning.  After checking in our luggage at the hotel the first stop on our obligatory book hunt (before clothes shopping) was City Basement Books on Flinders Street.  My wife stayed in the car while I walked/ran to the store.  The two owners along with a family friend were sitting behind the counter and greeted me as soon as I entered the store.  I made my way to the fiction section and quickly found the Bond paperbacks.

As usual they had heaps of Bonds, and from memory there were a few new ones.  After quickly scanning all the books available I spotted a White Pan Series copy of "For Your Eyes Only" in great condition and decided to buy another copy.  I enjoy visiting this subterranean world.  It has a really friendly and relaxing vibe under the City.

Before I left I also asked if it was ok to take these photos.  They said no probs.  I explained about this blog and how I'm trying to promote second-hand book stores and they said "Yes, we're certainly a dying breed".  That statement couldn't have been more ominous as I was about to embark on further book hunting in City, but at the time I just thought they were commenting on the general state of book stores around the world.

After dumping our car in a car park, next stop was Fed Square where they have book stalls every Saturday selling second-hand.

The Ripponlea Books stall had these three different cover variants of "Casino Royale" for sale.
And these were other Bonds for sale at another stall whose name escapes me now (sorry).

We then walked to Collins Street to visit Reader's Feast Booksellers.  My wife always enjoys visiting this store which sells new books.  It's really bright, staff are friendly and they have plenty of books.

Kay Craddock Antiquarian Booksellers next door which was unfortunately closed as it was after 4pm.

And a photo of the Regent Theatre opposite.  As I've previously mentioned in this blog we saw this musical the following week.

Finally, some more photos of the City as we wandered around:

Bourke Street Mall with Christmas decorations.

The Myer Christmas window display, not great photos unfortunately because of the reflection.

Inside the same store.

An empty looking Swanston Street.

And finally a photo at the intersection of the Bourke Street Mall and Elizabeth Street.  This used to be an Angus & Robertson book store that sold new books.  Now it's being turned into a bank.  This was another ominous sign as we were about to visit the last second-hand book store of the day...