Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?
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Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?

Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby GregB » July 3rd, 2014, 7:11 am

I don't see any real problem. From DG's link:

"AbeBooks' users can search across the listings of many independent bookstores, thereby allowing small, independent players to compete with bookselling superstores. Some of the member bookstores offer their books online only, while others also maintain a regular storefront.

Booksellers upload their inventory data to the AbeBooks database, specifying information about each book including condition and price. Prices are fixed (with US$1 being the minimum) and there are no auctions. Items available range from the extremely common, where there might be hundreds of copies listed, to truly unique manuscript material worth thousands of dollars. In addition to books, magazines, audio books, journals, illustration art, vintage photographs and paper ephemera are offered."


So you still have access to other, smaller book suppliers as well as the generous discounts offered by Amazon itself, its evident subsidiary AbeBooks and the other suppliers mentioned on the Amazon sites whose offers generally undercut Amazon's own price.
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
- T.S.Eliot 'Four Quartets'.
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby Sprocket » July 3rd, 2014, 7:22 am

Well, there is that. However, I'd like to avoid Amazon, because of their reprehensible tax-avoidance. I suppose you could now say that Abebooks is a tributary of the Amazon.
Brendan Behan once went on a lecture tour of Canada. On his arrival, a reporter asked him why he'd come to Canada. Behan replied "I saw an advert that said 'Drink Canada Dry', and I thought 'I'll try anything once!'"
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby GregB » July 3rd, 2014, 7:39 am

:D

I'm a regular Amazon user (mainly AmazonUK) for two main reasons: access to the many books I want to buy, most of which are impossible to obtain here in Barcelona*, and the discounts offered. I don't use the American-based Amazon so much, mainly for the steep postage costs, and then usually just for the odd second-hand book unavailable from AmazonUK. I have to admit the tax-avoidance angle doesn't worry me over much and, though it sounds self-serving, I've never been one to boycott goods for ethical (or any other) reasons.

[* There are two large bookshops here which stock English books but they're mainly popular fiction with a sprinkling of non-fiction.]
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
- T.S.Eliot 'Four Quartets'.
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby Lyn » July 3rd, 2014, 8:17 am

I didn't know about the tax avoidance business. I use Amazon a lot, I have to say it won't put me off using. I also buy books from ebay shops and they often arrive in Amazon packaging, sellers do business on both sites.
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby different glory » July 4th, 2014, 8:32 am

I have used abebooks to locate and price books, and then followed up in person at whichever secondhand bookshop filled the bill.
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. - Psalm 26
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby different glory » July 11th, 2014, 10:33 pm

Relevant to supporting real bookshops. :)

Also,I did buy two new books,from two real bookshops, as promised!
Thomas Piketty - Capital in the Twenty-first Century, which'll be challenging for me, because I don't have much economic background, but which I think I need to read to try to get a handle on recent history and possible futures (anyone for a readalong?), and
Clive James' translation of The Divine Comedy, which'll be really interesting - I've read the introduction, and enjoyed very much the first canto, which is as far as I've got.
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. - Psalm 26
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby GregB » July 12th, 2014, 12:07 pm

I love bookshops, especially those dusty old caverns reeking evocatively of ancient paper which sell second hand books, often stacked in the more recondite corners from floor to ceiling and conveying a delicious sense of timelessness which only abandoned railway stations on the old branch lines axed by the infamous Beeching can rival.

The great bookshops here in Barcelona are dwindling, often converted into anything from small supermarkets to - notoriously in the case of a hallowed bookseller in the city centre - a MacDonald's. Fortunately, a few remain, including my favourite, Laie, which has a café/restaurant upstairs where you can pore at leisure over your latest purchase as you sip your coffee or chat to friends in a civilised atmosphere redolent of the great cafés of the Europe of the lost past celebrated by Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth:
http://cdn.restalo.com/static/img/resta ... 573.gl.jpg

Incidentally, DG, I read not long ago Clive James' huge book of essays on key figures in the arts and other spheres, 'Cultural Amnesia', and thoroughly enjoyed it. Apparently he's working on a sequel in the same vein but his health is so frail that it may never appear.
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
- T.S.Eliot 'Four Quartets'.
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby Sprocket » July 12th, 2014, 8:49 pm

They're disappearing in London, too. Charing Cross Road (or "the" Charing Cross Road, as Londoners quaintly like to call it, with their odd habit of putting a definite asrticle in front of the names of major roads), is still the road to go to for second-hand bookshops (and Foyles'), but it's a shadow of its former self, and most of the former bookshops are coffee-shops now. At least none of them are a McDonalds... yet.
Brendan Behan once went on a lecture tour of Canada. On his arrival, a reporter asked him why he'd come to Canada. Behan replied "I saw an advert that said 'Drink Canada Dry', and I thought 'I'll try anything once!'"
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby different glory » July 17th, 2014, 8:59 am

I hate to see them go and - putting my money where my mouth is! - will ransack the second hand bookshops of Adelaide (or at least as many of them as I can get to in the limited time I'll be there) before ten days are out! I'll be chasing especially SF this time - a friend recommended the Vorkosigan stories, which she called "space opera"... sounds like fun light reading!

And sad to hear of Clive James' frailty, Greg - I admire his breadth of knowledge and intermittently sharp perceptions greatly. Have you read his books of television reviews?
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. - Psalm 26
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Re: Open a Virtual Bookshop and Support Real Ones!

Postby different glory » January 7th, 2016, 1:30 am

I tried hard to support a real one over Christmas, but couldn't find the book I wanted. Next chance: Melbourne n February!

(Plus one grave disappointment - I had read of a book titled "Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad", which sounded fascinating, and planned to buy it as a present for a music-lover I know.
Disaster!
It was written (allegedly) for "young adults" which in practice apparently meant for young children.
He had first announced that he was working on the piece over the radio in September 1941, just a few weeks after the Germans had started shelling the city. He had explained his intentions to an audience of thousands. The day of his radio broadcast, Shostakovich almost missed his appointment to speak on the air. As he was walking through the streets of the city, the Germans started their daily assault. Sirens howled. An urgent voice barked over the loudspeakers, “This is the local defense headquarters! Air raid! Air raid!” Shostakovich scampered to a bomb shelter. Planes roared over the city’s spires and canals. Explosions echoed through the Classical avenues. The composer hid until the all-clear sounded.


Additionally - it pretty much ignores the symphony's premiere in the USSR, or the European broadcast premiere on the BBC, in favour of heavy (to the point of deceptive) emphasis on the later US premiere, :
An American agent met with a Russian agent one bright summer morning when the world was collapsing in the face of Nazi terror. It was June 2, 1942.... the Soviet agent passed a wooden box to the American, who took the box and left the building. Inside the wooden box was a strip of microfilm that, when unrolled, would stretch over a hundred feet long. It contained hardly any words: just lines and dots and ancient monastic symbols in complicated arrangements. The Russians hoped it would help change the course of the war. The microfilm had taken a long route to get all the way from Russia to Washington, D.C. It had been flown by plane to Tehran, then driven across the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa to Cairo. From Cairo, it had been put back on a plane and flown to Brazil, and from there, to the United States. Now it was about to embark on the final leg of its journey — to New York City.


You'd never guess from that (if you were an American child reading the book) that the symphony had been broadcast from Moscow already, had arrived in England in April 1942, and that the London Philharmonic was already rehearsing it. Also, of course, "agent" while technically correct, suggests to the naive reader that this was a hush-hush spy affair, not a straightforward courier arrangement - and "ancient monastic symbols" for standard music notation - well!

:banghead:

Yes, I did see the BBC's recent documentary on the same subject. Didn't think it was marvellous, but better than this book, anyway.
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. - Psalm 26
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