Why Booksales Are the Devil’s Work. Also? Debit Cards.

NB: I am offering my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Book 1 for sale. Refer to third paragraph from bottom for details. Sold to the James Hetfield wannabe against one bottle of beer.

I was standing in line at the Landmark check-out counter this evening with my bucketload of books. And this guy rushes to the counter in the other line, plunks down one book (which was *shudder* a Jeffrey Archer) and pays in cash, and I think, money looks very expensive when you see it in pieces. There’s three hundred-rupee bills, and it seems a lot to pay for one book.

My conquests, on the other hand, came to around ten times that. But that was okay, because I was paying by card. So I didn’t actually have to see the swathes of money disappear from my account and reappear across town in somebody else’s.

But, while that gave me pause, I finished my shopping anyway. You know why? Because I was getting them cheap. When my friends talk to me about books, it’s sort of like when men taunt women about buying things they don’t need just because they got them cheap. Actually? It’s exactly like that.

Over the last year, at a variety of booksales, I have bought books that I didn’t need because (a) they were shiny-new, (b) ooh look how much they’re cutting the price – never mind that the books had been rotting in the store till I saw them and would continue to do so if I just left, and (c) it’s still fucking worth it. You buy ten books at the price of four. You like five. You hate two. You give/throw them away. You don’t read three. You’re still up one book.

So essentially, I’m unrepentant. Sue me. So what if I always have less money for food, drinks, clothing and computer peripherals? Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about rent. I’d have been homeless by now. Saving is for wusses. Books are where it’s at.

Speaking of which, today’s haul:

2 copies of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s MirrorMask picture-book. Two different editions, both hard-back. One 7×7, one 10×10. I’m going to give one of these to a friend. But I’m deeply conflicted about the one I should keep. The larger version is, obviously, larger. (L: 1, S: 0) But the smaller version looks more compact and readable for me as an adult, and it has a dust jacket with a rather lovely texture. (L: 1, S: 2) But the smaller one’s cover lists the authors as ‘Creators of the National Bestseller Coraline’, which is not sodding true, and the larger version lists them as ‘Creators of the Bestseller The Wolves in the Wall’, which is. (L: 2, S: 2 minus a very large number) And the larger one would be more readable for my niece. Which shouldn’t really be a consideration because, when she learns to read (years in the future), I’ll give her a separate copy which she can tear up to her heart’s content. So I think I’ll keep the large version and give the small one to my friend, who is an adult, and who’d, I think, like something that wouldn’t break if you sat on it (which is more of a danger with adults than with tots).

I also bought three SFF collections.* Also very cheap (one was for 125, against an original price of more than Rs. 1000). One’s a Best of Fred Pohl (refer to this). I’ve read tonnes of his stuff from the school library, but this is only my second buy, I believe. The first was a novel whose copy was so old that it disintegrated at touch.

* I buy a lot of collections. Because theoretically, it takes less time to read short stories than novels. But only in theory. In practice, I find myself choosing the novels.

One book that I didn’t buy, but which I very much wanted to, was a copy of Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten, one of my favourite funny books. But I don’t have the rest of his Thursday Next series, and this copy wouldn’t fit in the set when I buy it.** So, in spite of being a hardback at a mere Rs. 200, I forsook it for the eventual, more expensive, matching set.

** They had this copy, and the copy that fits in the set looks like this. Also (psst, psst), that one was a US edition. With, as we all know, spelling mistakes.

And, wonderful person that I am, I bought another copy of the first Hitchhiker’s Guide book. In spite of having a boxset. Well, you see, the boxset is like this: Commemorative Editions of Books 2-5, which consist of a photograph of the first edition cover for each, and matching spines. But Book 1 is a film tie-in edition, with a film tie-in cover, and lots of extras – photos, interviews, notes on the making, all that, including in-depth thoughts on how the Arthur-Trillian romance was the right thing to do (to be brief, it wasn’t) – all of which I didn’t really want. So I had a boxset that didn’t match. You can see my predicament? Today, on the other hand, I found a copy of the first book, which was, wonder of wonders, a Commemorative Edition. With cheesy cover with needless embossing, no extras, and (this is where you can almost hear me having an orgasm) a matching spine!

So I’m going to sell off my copy of the film tie-in edition of the book. Anybody wants to buy it? Make me an offer. Note that this is only Book 1. It’s more-or-less pristine (‘like brand new’ in sales jargon), it has a new cover with a still from the movie, and it comes with lots of nice extras (mainly about the movie) which you might like (but which I didn’t). I’d prefer someone from Pune, of course, but we can work something out. My email ID, as also given in the sidebar, is: adibidi (at) gmail (dot) com. If nobody makes an offer, I will probably give this away to one of my non-H2G2-educated friends.

I think that’s quite enough ranting about booksets. I’m not usually that anal about matching editions. I’ve got a hundred different editions of Stephen King books, for example. And I actually avoid the matching cover editions of Michael Chabon books, because the matching design is printed on paper that gets dirty real fast. But I prefer sets of books which are supposed to be sets – such as trilogies (Samit Basu’s books – which I have signed editions of, by the way – for example, or the Alexander trilogy) or series (Mike Carey’s Felix Castor books, Bone***).

*** This actually only comes in one edition, but I wanted to mention it because I also have signed copies of these books. And I got to meet Jeff Smith. It’s been almost five months and this still makes me break out in a grin.

4 responses to “Why Booksales Are the Devil’s Work. Also? Debit Cards.

  1. I’m up for the Hitchhiker’s guide set. Saw one at Salil’s. My mean offer would be….ummm….one beer this friday :)

  2. I wouldn’t mind. But as I said, it’s not the set. I’d be giving you only the first one (which is the one with Salil right now, actually – that’s my copy).

  3. Yeah I know……

  4. I’d never ever ever ever sit on a book. You might change your mind with that kiddo. :-) But anyway, I’d love to have those books! Thanks.
    Anything for books. I agree, one might have less money to spend on alcohol/clothes/food/smoke and other stuff, but books is a must.

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