Books and the arduous task of buying them (November, 2011)

Hey guys!


So with Christmas just around the corner now (I can’t believe how fast the year’s gone!) I thought it prudent to do an entry on books and where you can find them.


I know, the answer seems pretty obvious: a bookstore, where else? But what kind of bookstore? Where can I find books that aren’t in the stores anymore? Kindle or hardcover? Audio or picture? The list seems endless, doesn’t it?


Never fear, I’ve got some suggestions which might help.


  • My first pick has to be secondhand bookstores. There are quite a large number of these throughout my own suburb, and I’m sure if you go searching you’ll be able to find some too. Generally, depending on where you go you can get good books for a minimum price of $2 AUD! And no, people this isn’t on Amazon it’s ACTUALLY AT A STORE. Others can range up to $35 for hardcover encyclopedias from the 1920s, or even more than that if you happen to find a rare book. 
    • For those of you that live in the city there’s a particularly interesting store of Charlotte St in Brisbane’s CBD called ‘Archive’s Fine Books’. Walking in there is like going into Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley, except with books instead of wands… Harry Potter references aside, it’s great for finding stuff you probably hadn’t found anywhere else, especially if it’s old. But be prepared to pay for it. They also have a rear section full of music scores, for those music buffs out there. 
    • Local markets like the Petrie Markets on Sundays usually have stacks of great books in a number of stalls. I managed to pick up a Shakespeare compendium from there for $8 and War and Peace for the same price, which wasn’t too shabby if you ask me. Again, they also have records, sheet music, CD’s, even the odd tape or video. Once I found a jukebox in there, which still worked. 
  • Apart from established secondhand stores, there’s always the great Rotary book sales, usually held in school halls of some variety. But do take a large shopping bag with you if you plan to go- last time I went I got at least 40 books. What’s great is they even do discount deals for you, and if you’re lucky even give you an extra box! For free! Amazing!
  • Okay, now we get to the obvious bits. The book dealers. You all know who they are and where to go, and they are probably the best place for all new books of any shape or size. Comparably though, their prices are significantly more than secondhand ones depending on how new the book is and where you get it from. 
    • One I recommend is ‘Avid Reader’, on West End Brisbane. I’m planning a trip, hopefully I can find something there. It’s got a great reputation and is worth a look. 
  • If, however there’s a particular book that you just can’t find anywhere (even in another state, trust me I tried it), it’s probably a good idea to either:
    • ask at the counters of normal bookstores, because sometimes they can order them in for you with a short wait
    • ring up a book finding agency or go to the ever-trusty web to find things. I haven’t tried it yet, but if Portnoy’s Complaint doesn’t turn up anywhere I might have to…

I know you’re probably thinking ‘wow, like we didn’t know already’ but I figured it might be useful to provide a summary. 


Finally, there’s the issue of e-books. There are lots of readers out these days, including the almost omnipotent iPhone or iPad, depending, so it’s really just a matter of buying a platform that suits your needs (and price range). Before you go out and buy, it’s useful to look up the reviews and even try it out in the stores because sometimes this can tell you information that the dealers aren’t necessarily willing to share (and haven’t been written on the box, either). As for books to put on them, usually you can find them online at the various stores associated with your techy-gadget of the month for download. Or, if you’re like me and prefer to have that as an emergency, Google has a service now that provides FREE books, namely the classic novels like Moby Dick, Great Expectations, Alice in Wonderland, etc. Or you can always download an e-Pub reader, the developers of which I eternally thank for letting me get Proust. 


Oh, and before I depart a note of warning: be prepared to go and buy another bookcase. Always. 


Until next time;




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