How Much is That Dawkins Book? January 20, 2011

How Much is That Dawkins Book?

Reader Justin went to a local Barnes & Noble the other night and noticed that the price for Richard Dawkin‘s The Greatest Show on Earth had been reduced.

He used his Members’ card, bought a copy, and only after did he see the final price:

The only thing that would make it more amusing is if it was a Christian book 🙂

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  • pinkbunnyslipperz

    It could just be all the cold medicine I’ve got in my system, but when I saw the title of your blog, in my head I heard:

    “How much is the Dawwwwww-kins book in the window? arf arf”

  • Firstly, didn’t they recently figure out that they’ve been wrong all of these years and the “real” Number of the Beast is 616?

    Secondly, I personally feel that Justin should have shopped at his local, independent bookstore.

  • coyotenose

    *reads receipt*
    *spits out baby-flavored milkshake*

    6% sales tax? Mine is 7.25%! Do you know how much extra worldly sin I could buy with that?

    That’s a rhetorical question, given that you’re a mathematician AND an atheist.

    Also, shouldn’t Christian book prices be listed as imaginary numbers?

  • dauntless

    Secondly, I personally feel that Justin should have shopped at his local, independent bookstore.

    Those still exist? Where?

  • David

    and the cashier is Sarah Palin

  • Dannny Flexner

    Haha, I figured he’d send this to you!

    If anyone doubts that this really happened; don’t. I was there when he bought it and he showed me the receipt; it was crazy awesome.

  • Rich Wilson

    I was under the understanding that 616 vs. 666 depended on which language it was translated from, Greek vs. Latin. ???

    I wonder if the price from Simon and Schuster will drop. I have a Groupon coupon burning a hole in my email.

  • I just got a new copy of that Dawkins book for giftmas from my lovely wife. Haven’t cracked it yet. (I also received a copy of Mark Twain’s autobiography – excited! – but why would you care:)

    I’m actually posting in response about buying from a local privately owned book store rather than Barnes & Noble. I too like to suuport local shops but only one exists around here. What is really getting under my feathers lately is that my local Barnes & Noble store has been significantly reducing the size of the science book section as their selection of Christian and other religious books continues to grow. I live in the Bible belt so I’m currious; is this a deliberate trend within the Barnes & Noble chain or just a case of supply meeting the demand in my area?

  • Justin

    Thanks for posting Hemant! @ Todd Grzech No this is not just in your area. It’s the same with our B/N. They always have an extra middle table in the walking area with the newer religious books as well. On the topic of buying from a local shop rather than a B/N, I would love to but sadly we do not have any around here. The B/N is the only shop within a reasonable drive.

  • Forget your local book store, if you live in the U.S. your taxes are already paying for your local library and it’s awesome resources. Check out the book, read it, return it, get another book to read. Most will order the book if they don’t have it or another library in the area doesn’t have it. The ones here in Austin will have it shipped if at another library if you don’t want to go pick it up yourself.

  • Angulimala

    @Todd Grzech

    As an employee of B&N (actually, from a store in the same district as the one on the receipt), I can verify it is a case of supply meeting demand. When a B&N opens, the initial size of all the categories are based on the setup of an existing store within the area. After a little while, as sales of certain categories are demonstrated to be higher than company average or lower than company average, the size of the sections are adjusted accordingly.

    I can say that my store is experiencing a similar trend that you describe. Our Religion/Inspiration section is exceptionally large (Xtian Inspiration and Religious Fiction mostly) while other areas are exceptionally small (Science/Tech, Gay/Lesbian Studies, Philosophy). As in-store sales continue on trends (or begin new ones), the subjects are shift/stretched/shrunk accordingly.

    I mention this simply to point out that we’re in the interest of making money and selling books to do so. If I had my own bookstore and a surplus of funds, it’d be mostly philosophy, sci-fi/fantasy, science, and cultural studies. We don’t necessarily stock in-store what people ask for, but more so what they buy. Several subjects are heavily browsed but have poor sales; among them are Science, Nature, New Age, Education, Cultural Studies. As a result, the sections are messier than others, but have shrunk over the years that the store has been open.

    My suggestion is that if people are dismayed by the small size of a subject area in their local B&N (Borders does a similar thing, or at least used to), that they and their friends do what they can to use it as a supplier for their science and atheism titles. The trends are noticed and acted upon in the long run.

  • Aaron

    The 666 AND Sarah Palin is the cashier? Pretty coincidental. I mean, that’s almost as coincidental as a tornado blowing through a junkyard and forming a Boeing 747. 😉

  • coyotenose

    @Todd and Justin:

    Same in my area also (North Carolina Piedmont). That’s depressing.

    Drew: Would love to use the library, but our local system is horribly underfunded and the religionists actively steal smarty-pants books. Y’know, because Jesus would have wanted it that way.

  • Complaining — Here in Chicago, >10% and our gov. just pushed through a major tax hike.


    Did you point out the humor while at the register; an atheist buying an atheist book and paying the mark of the devil?

    During my high school years, I remember many customers that walked away from their purchase if the 666 total came up. Always good for a laugh.

  • Drew M.


    Secondly, I personally feel that Justin should have shopped at his local, independent bookstore.

    Yeah, that’s all well and good, but a lot of people don’t have that option. In my case, I’d have to burn a little over a gallon of gasoline to make a special trip to the only independent store in town.

    That would be absurd.

  • Danish Atheist

    Ridiculously low taxes guys 🙂 sales tax in Denmark is 25%…

  • @Dauntless: gotta look for them. They’re there, but they won’t be if people don’t use ’em.

    @ Todd Grzech: Interesting.It brings up a question: are most independent book stores liberal-leaning? Mine is but, I live in VT and most things are, so it’s hard for me to say.

    @Drew: good point! My problem is that, if I like a book I borrowed, I always end up buying the darn thing later.

    @Drew: it’s not pointless if you don’t just drive to go to the bookstore, but hit the grocery store, hardware store; this is a good idea anyway. Plus, I live rural, so the closest bookstore (well, anything but the hardware store) is 17 mi. away and I make big trips. Also, I look at avoiding big stores as serving a greater good, but that’s just me.

  • frizzlefrazzle

    Shoot, I’ve been beaten to the punch, but the first thing I notice was that Sarah Palin was the cashier. I’m sure, like she did with her governor-ship, she’ll quit Barnes & Noble, too.

  • JSug

    Damn… I paid $30 about 6 months ago. Is it out in paperback now? Not that I’m complaining. It’s an excellent book, and the hardcover edition is fantastically produced. Well worth the price I paid.

  • *giggles*

    This happened to me once, my purchase total came out to $6.66. Shopkeep and I looked at each other and just laughed.

  • Jessi

    I’m an employee at a Barnes & Noble in Mississippi, and I just bought the same book at my store. What amused and disturbed me was that it’s on the table for “bargain fiction.” I’m pretty sure that’s just an oversight, as Dawkins’ book is not the only non-fiction on the table, but the idea that evolution is fiction is beyond entrenched here, and I can’t help wondering. It gets under my skin every time I have to straighten up that table.

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