The Price Of A Book
This post doesn’t mark the end of the wonderful guest posters (because I’ve still got a couple of things promised or waiting to go up), nor are my hands yet recovered totally from RSI, but it was relevant to this moment in time, so I wanted to share it with you!
This post does, however, include pictures of my face. I’m sorry. I look about twelve. I don’t know what happened there.
So, this week was an exciting week. It marked the publication of a book I’ve been waiting for, and which I’d preordered.
On Wednesday, while I was ill at home, it arrived.
(This picture WOULD NOT FLIP. The pains I went to so that the title was visible, I swear.)
This book, The Dream Thieves, is the sequel to Maggie Stiefvater’s novel of last year, The Raven Boys, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed. I’m a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater, though weirdly her most popular series (Shiver, Linger, Forever) are my least favourite of her books.
I pre-ordered it in about June, and because Maggie said so and because she promised to include a signed bookplate, I did so from a place called Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books.
Only when it arrived did I realise that by doing so I had paid twice the Amazon price (mainly because I’d had to pay shipping, whereas on Amazon that’s free).
Was it worth it, for the bookplate?
See, I always go for the cheap books. I buy them second-hand when the library throws them out – they sell them off for 10p, and I’ve bought a number of books that way. I buy them for 1p + shipping charges on Amazon. I don’t care if they’re battered because they’ll only get more so when I read them.
Cheap books are the bane of my existence, though. I buy them because I can afford it and only then do I remember that my bookshelves are full and I have no room for any more books. Sometimes it amazes me that this is still an issue, given that I’ve had a kindle for two years … but hey, second-hand books and presents are cheaper than kindle editions, usually!
At the time I ordered the book, I looked at my finances and decided I could afford it. Now, I was kind of worried. This month I already paid for my Spotify subscription and a new journal that I wanted, as well as donating a fiver to charity. Could I afford another £11.60 on books? It was too late by then, but I felt guilty.
We are a charity, said Seven Stories on their invoice. Apparently, buying books from them helps to support children’s literature.
I read that over a few times and thought that maybe I hadn’t paid extra for the bookplate. Maybe I’d paid extra because Amazon didn’t need the money, while this company did. Maybe I’d done it because Maggie Stiefvater believed in them enough to set up the bookplates thing as being only that company – because she wanted us to support them.
Sometimes paying more is about more than the cost of the book.
It’s hypocritical, I guess, that I’m so reluctant to pay for books when I write them and I want other people to buy them, but I was brought up reading things from the library. Only in recent years has buying books even become a thing for me the way it is at the moment. I’m a product of a “free books” upbringing.
This is why I want a job in a bookshop. They pay you money for being surrounded by books, which you then spend on books, and get a staff discount … on books. It’s amazing. Who’d work in a clothes shop when they could work somewhere that sells IMAGINARY WORLDS compressed into PAPER FORM?
But I digress.
Moral of the story: books are good, and cheaper isn’t always better.
Man, I’ve lost my touch with blog posts, it’s been so long since I wrote one. I’ll resume soon, I promise. To make up for it, here’s a picture of me with just some of the books I’m currently reading / supposed to be reading / intending to read. Not pictured: “A Place Of Greater Safety” by Hilary Mantel. Because I couldn’t find it. It has vanished.