Saturday, February 25, 2006

Where do you buy books?

Or do you? As a child, growing up in a family with limited financial means, we didn’t buy many books. I did view the ones I owned as special, and I still have a few of them, battered after about forty years of ownership. For the most part, we read books that we checked out of the local library, or the school library. Even when I was in elementary school, my mom was thrilled when one of my teachers described me as “well read.” That still fits, I suppose, even if the source of my reading material has changed.

I still read quite a bit from libraries as I transitioned from a student to a teacher, but with the heavy burden of reading what was assigned by my college professors and what I was teaching to my students, my reading for pleasure was naturally curtailed. Then came two children, and wow, did that make a difference!

The years kept going by and when I was in my early forties, I suppose I had a bit of a mid-life crisis. Instead of buying a motorcycle— which I had given up at 33, when I learned I was pregnant— I began to read exactly what I wanted to read. Not what was on the best seller list, not what was being touted by my friends or family members, not what I could get at the library, but what I wanted to read. I began collecting obscure works that I’d missed. I now have all of Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise books. I read lots of science fiction, like David Weber, Elizabeth Moon, and Lois McMaster Bujold. Futuristic romance was just getting established, and I read all of them I could find. That search led me to eBooks, and book reviewing, and to a certain extent into writing my own books. I can’t remember who said it, but it is true that you write the books you want to read. The Gift Horse is a contemporary suspense story with dark psychological overtones, and Trinity on Tylos is a futuristic with romantic elements, and I love both of those genres, so if you like what I like, try them. Buy them— please!

Which brings me back to the original question. I seldom read library books anymore, but I buy quite bit from, and I buy eBooks from Fictionwise. I buy my rare books via Alibris, which is also on the internet. Locally, I like Books a Million, and I sometimes shop in Barnes & Noble, even though they refuse to carry my books. Borders will order my books, and I like the atmosphere in their stores, but they are perhaps the most expensive bookseller, so I seldom shop there, unless I need good service.

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At Mar 1, 2006, 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Sun Singer said...

Years ago, I decided that I would never shop at a store that won't carry my books. Ya know, I really like those guys at and because (a) they carry my book and (b) they tell USPS or UPS to carry other people's books to me. As for that tempting Barnes and Noble store just 18 miles away. I always ask for my book at the info desk and they always say they've never heard of it. So I play like I've never heard of them. (Of course, if they'll carry your new book, I might go back over there once in a while.)

At Mar 2, 2006, 6:18:00 PM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

Hello Malcolm!

I'm glad you stopped by again.

There is a yahoo group for WCP authors and they are always griping about not being recognized as "real authors", poor distribution channels, etc. I did join in the discussion once, and I was more or less flamed by a chick who thinks that the only real publisher is one who immediately has 2000 copies of the book printed up. I don't think she understood the whole marketing and distribution discussion.

Having gone POD the first time, I'm glad for what I've got with WCP. Not having to pay the cover artist was great, and yet I had input. Also, I have a really good review from a website and the hope of a few more later.

To get back to your comment, I don't think my chances at B&N are too good, based on the author grips. Although WCP does offer a decent discount and take returns, they don't use a distributor like Ingram or Baker and Taylor, which seems to be a problem. However, I think I might get into independent stores.

I've never asked for my own book at B & N. I'll have to try that sometime.

At Mar 14, 2006, 8:23:00 PM, Blogger Michele said...

Library is a BIG componet for me. Ebooks , I've bought some. I just recently purchased my first ebook from fictionwise..strange setup.
Barnes and Noble is wicked expensive for me. I just bought MICAH and I choked at the price. 2 weeks later, Walmart had it for 1/2 price!! I choked again for a different reason.

Used books sales at my library are a big draw for me too. $$ is tight in this current economy so, getting books long after they've hit the best sellers is the only way at this time.
Borders doesn't exist around where I live.

That sums up my book buying habits..oh! except for tag sales..spring is coming and that means tag sales!! Woohoo!

At Mar 14, 2006, 8:58:00 PM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

Hi Michele,

Yes, I really avoid actually purchasing books in Barnes and Noble, but I sometimes do if I need it quickly. My daughter had to read Silas Marner recently, and I didn't have that one. (As a former English teacher, I hate to admit it, but that's a classic I never read.) She needed to begin, so I picked up a trade paperback of that.

I love the library sales, and some of the charity organizations around here are a great source of used books. The Salvation Army gets a huge number of books, and they sell them cheaply.

Thus far I haven't seen one of my titles at such a spot, but it will happen eventually.


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