I popped into the secondhand dept of Blackwells at lunchtime today, and although there were lots of quite nice copies of recent fiction, they were all hideously expensive - c60% of coverprice, so around £5, which seems extortionate when I know I could get a copy on Amazon in the region of 1p (plus £2.75 delivery). I did pick up a copy of Margaret Drabble - The needle's eye, because I am liking her books (although it's been a few weeks since I've read one) which was only 2.50 (largely because the book itself was an older Penguin edition.
It got me thinking about where people purchase their books. I tend to buy most new books on Amazon; if there's something I want a new copy of, it's bound to be much cheaper (unless the shop has a really good deal on, as you may remember the Waterstones 3 for 2 was my downfall over the second May Bank Holiday). Plus they have so much more stock - I would have bought more in the 3 for 2 had the books I wanted actually been available. However, I do buy a lot of second hand books; mainly I get these from charity shops or from Amazon, and this enables me to get books that I want for cheaper, or, predominantly because they are out of print. I rarely patronise true second hand bookshops, because they tend to be expensive (certainly in Oxford anyway). It's not surprising that so many independent bookshops (new and second hand) are struggling when we have Amazon, and when the credit crunch makes people more savvy about their shopping.
What makes me decide between second hand and new? To be honest, generally it's second hand, unless it's something lovely like the Daphne Du Maurier Virago editions, or something that is very new or a bargain. And sometimes you can get very nearly new second hand books. I've got the final volume of Edna O'Brien's Country Girls trilogy in my handbag as I couldn't wait to find out what happened (it's called Girls in their married bliss). This was a second hand Amazon purchase, at a grand total of 2.76 delivered to my door, but is "as new".
In other news...
* I rang up about my car and I won't get her back until after the weekend. She needs a new door!! Thank goodness for comprehensive insurance. I hope they saved all of my rubbish that was inside the door itself though... It's frustrating as my boyfriend is out all of the weekend and I was hoping to go and visit a friend or at least go and get some stuff from Sainsburys.
* Didn't think A particular place was worthy of being described as good as Barbara Pym.
* Very tired and worn out, thank goodness tomorrow is a short day at work and then I can come home and collapse.
* Rhubarb and ginger cake is on the agenda...and I have a fantastic book to blog about on Sunday when I do baking!
Brian Selznick @PortEliotFest
8 hours ago