30 April 2015
How I Buy Books
It's simple. I buy from used bookshops ('cause I's poor) or I buy online.
Some stuff just doesn't show up in used bookshops. I remember visiting Wells Maine, which seems to have one used bookshop for every 2 citizens;'and looking for some Evelyn Waugh. (Begin Maine accent) “Oh we never have his stuff. Folks just keep re-reading it and then pass it down to their children” (End Maine accent).
Okay, maybe that's just a local thing, but I live in Space City, Houston Fucking Texas For God's Sake. I go into the local Barne & Noble trolling for skiffy and find...dick. Actually, I find a lot of Dick. In trade paperback, no less. Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of PKD, from back when he was a nowhere man and still alive. Now he's an underrecognized literary genuis. And there I was thinking that he was turning out 5 novels a year to keep up with his alimony.. Silly me. I'm not seeing Pournelle, Niven, Robinson, HEINLEIN FOR CRISSAKE. Some David Weber (although IMPO he is kinda like the band Chicago - “complete the set”), four copies of Neal Stephenson's “Zodiac” and one of the middle volume of the “Quicksilver” trilogy.
China Mielville's newest gets “cover out” (shows front cover rather than just spine, with more copies to keep it level). Larry Correia? None. “We can't keep enough in stock so we don't even try”. Lots of dragons and sparkley vampires but no rockets to Mars.
Now let's go over to the used bookshops. I went to an independently owned used book shop with the complete series of Kinky Freidman novels (well, complete at the time). Most were autographed first editions. Maybe a dozen books. Shop-owner fucked me up. Asked me what I wanted for them. I told him maybe 25 bucks. knowing that the chain used bookshop down the street would offer me 5. “$50 and not a penny less” he said much to my surprise. “You know that he's playing at
just 3 blocks from here this weekend. That's this week's island
display!” (an island display is first one you see on entry, a
table rather than shelves, You know what I mean). This is a man who
knows his customers.
For new releases, I go to
Aztoroth Amazon, because
the just want my money, not my approval.
I wanna buy Helmut Newton photos, they're ok with that. The new Correia or Ringo? My money's fine with them. But I can't find them at the NewBookStores. “Cause they're tired of being asked for things when there's no demand “
So I don't go to chain bookstores. I do go to indie bookshops (Murder by the Book is really good on author appearances, and so is Brazos Books, and I wish them the best) and there are a couple of used bookshops that I won't name 'cause I'm a selfish sombitch (one begins with the letter q and is just around the corner from a well known pizza place near Rockin' Robin Guitar Shop, and another is in what's called the “Bellaire Triangle”).
Now here is the great secret. Estate sales. Paperbacks one dollar, Hardcovers $5.00. Buy it then, or wait a week or so. The unsold books are gonna end up at the local library for a tax deduction and at half the price. Check the obits. An old buddy of mine was a professor of geology, His hobby? Shakespere. Goes to show you never can tell.
So rock on.