Buying books

The recent Amazon kerfuffle, which now seems to be over, prods me to post my own preferred (and in some cases aspirational) mechanisms of getting hold of books to read.

Amazon have a huge market advantage. There are other alternatives out there too. If you tend to buy a lot of second-hand books, the places to go are AddAll and Bookfinder – both do worldwide searches, and both include the Amazon providers and others who may do the same books but cheaper.

I’ve also recently joined BookMooch, which I hope will live long and prosper.

Here in Belgium, I flirted a few years back with Proxis, but in those days Amazon’s rates were simply better. I may try Proxis again now.

Also, of course, we should support our local independent bookshops. For me, that means Sterling Books in Brussels, now that the American Book Center in Leuven has closed. Go on, pick up the phone and ask them to order that book you want. It will probably be no more expensive than Amazon would have been, and let’s face it, the walk to the shop won’t do you any harm. (Probably.)

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1 Response to Buying books

  1. gareth_rees says:

    From “The Hidden Dangers of Cycling” by A. Shadwell, M.D., published in the National Review of 1897:

    The vera causa [of the nervous troubles associated with cycling] seems to lie in the extreme instability of the two-wheeled machine, which can never be left to itself for a single moment without dismounting. In this respect bicycling differs from any other occupation whatever. The strain of attending to it may not be very great in itself—sometimes it is and sometimes it is not—but it never ceases, and this incessant tension is the thing which tells upon the nerves. How incessant it is, the demeanour of most riders declares with an emphasis which still excites ridicule, familiar as the sight has become. Some time ago I drew attention to the peculiar strained, set look so often associated with this pastime and called it the ‘bicycle face’; the general adoption of the phrase since then indicates a general recognition of its justice. Some wear the “face” more and some less marked, but nearly all have it, except the small boys who care little for croppers. Has anybody ever seen persons on bicycles talking and laughing and looking jolly, like persons engaged in any other amusement? Never, I swear.

    This famous piece is a masterclass in conjuring up a medical scare from a handful of unrelated anecdotes (a couple of six-day-racers who became delirious from lack of sleep; one women who suffered an attack of appendicitis, and another of goitre, while riding a bike), while exuding the most noxious sexism under the guise of concern for womens’ health.

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