Books and Book Buying


Ms. Lee Ann, of amazing book consumption lore, posts here a most insightful and amusing insight into her philosophy of book-buying and book owning.

Little does Lee Ann know that I am every bit the book buyer--the problem here is the EXTREMELY limited secondary market. When I lived in Columbus, I had access to several major library sales each year, not to mention a seemingly endless array of second-hand shops--probably part and parcel of living in a major univeristy town. In my present berg I've found one so-so ongoing library sale (although many will be chagrined to learn that I DID buy a copy of The Purpose Driven Life [for a home-fellowship group]) and one nonantiquarian used book shop. So, I haven't the resources Ms Lee Ann has, though she finds that incroyable. Nevertheless, I do my fair share of buying.

And yet, even so, E-books have an appeal that normal books do not. I tend to like to write out lengthy passages of the books I read to note important points. Well, I don't like the copying thing as I am not one of the world's great typists and the handwriting bit means I spend so much time copying it out, I can't possible comment on it, and the whole purpose for keeping the dratted passage should be noted at the time you keep it, and then subsequently commented upon so you have a kind of extended chronoconversation with the piece. The natural advantage of e-books is that it makes such quoting and commenting possible.

That said, the appeal of a find book, well bound and hefty in hand is infinitely finer than the slender stale sandwich of a PDA. But I stand by my choices--I love the ability to carry 40 or 50 books at a time (when I upgrade to the new PDA I'll be carrying as many as 500 or so at a time. (at 100-200K a pop, a 128 meg memory card/stick can hold a goodly number of books--and not all that I want to carry is so large (most of Shakespeare's plays are smaller.) The profound advantage of having a library wheresoever my PDA may be is well worth the tradeoff in sense-luxury.

One final point on e-books--I am able to get a great deal that I really, really like and which has been out of print for a looooong time. I always bring up H. Rider Haggard, but I'm discovering as well some of the lesser known works of Mrs. Gaskell, Wilkie Collins and Charles Reade. Publishers can't make a lot of money on these very limited markets, so they don't publish them.

I recognize the very great chasm between our attitudes. Nevertheless, I do hear where Lee Ann is coming from and I do have a great deal of empathy for the position.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 5, 2003 8:38 AM.

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