Thursday, 10 March 2011

My name is Grapefruitcrazy and I'm a book addict

Until I ran out of space I’d trawl discount bookshops and buy what caught my eye in the expectation I might one day read my purchase. Not as much fiction as popular science, French cultural life, philosophy, healthy eating, etymology (especially slang), guide books and biographies.
It was comforting to know if the mood took me the book was always there waiting on my bookshelf. I use libraries but I like the satisfaction of possessing books – the sense of droit de seigneur as the pristine pages offer up inner secrets to their new owner, me. This is just as well given the number of libraries threatened to be swept away in the Tory spending cuts.
These days I’m more particular about my book buying. At 66 the attractions of instant gratification become stronger not weaker knowing your years are numbered. I can’t wait until the book I want hits the discount shops.
But I blanch at cover prices in regular booksellers. So step up to the plate, Amazon. I feel guilty every time I shop with the online giant. I should be supporting my local bookstore with its helpful staff, limited range, and full-priced books.
Here is a case in point. I read a favourable mention of Man’s Search For Meaning by psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl* in the Financial Times last Saturday. I ordered the book from Amazon that evening; opting for free delivery it arrived today. I paid £4.69 ($7.63) compared to the book’s cover price of £7.99 ($13.00).
No discussion on book buying habits can fail to discuss ebook readers – except me perhaps. Despite online books being cheaper than their print equivalents, the difference still doesn’t make the choice a no-brainer.
As I enjoy reading in the bath, I don’t see myself getting a Amazon Kindle anytime soon.

*Dipping into my new purchase I liked Frankl’s observation:
“We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.”
I shall now read the book cover to cover.

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What do you think? GC