It would seem that The Fuller Memorandum – which is, of course, the latest volume in the Cthulhu-meets-mathematics-meets-spy-fiction series by Charles Stross – is not supposed to be out until July 6th. But, of course, that doesn’t mean that the book magically pops into our reality on that date: it has to be printed ahead of time, which means that it has a tangible physical existence.
And that means that it has to be shipped to bookstores before the official publication date.
And sometimes they screw up, and put one copy in the relevant genre section.
And sometimes a person is walking through the relevant genre section in that magic golden hour between somebody screwing up, and somebody noticing the screw-up. On the off chance that something like this could happen.
And sometimes that person notices the book, grabs it without breaking stride, and heads for the register.
And sometimes that person buys the book, and gets away clean.
Not that I’d know anything about that, of course.