Second hand habit

Posted: January 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s a funny thing, but even though I think that e-readers are great, I hardly ever use mine. Not because I prefer reading paper versions, but because of second hand books.

A lot of my favourite browsing is in charity shops. If I’m looking for something in particular, I’ll never find it, but I never know what I might find. It’s like mining for mysterious treaures. I’ve found books on sewage systems and spy methods, railway myths and radical politics. I’ve picked up cheap copies of Steve Aylett novels, and volumes of Mike Carey’s Lucifer for a fraction of the first hand price. And because they always seem like bargains, and I might never find them again, I find it hard to resist buying them, especially when the money’s going to a good cause. As a result, I now have a whole shelf full of unread books, and more piling up on the floor. Unless there’s something really compelling out, like a new George R R Martin, then going to the kindle store seems rather superfluous.

It goes to show that technological change is about more than just which of two tools is handier. A lot of habits, secondary markets and other behaviours grow up around these things, and it can take far longer for those to change. Any change in the book industry is going to depend on a lot of other related changes, and no-one can plan for them all.

  1. […] just finished reading Shannon OCork’s ‘How to Write Mysteries’, one of those random charity shop acquisitions I’m fond of. I’m not a mystery writer, but I like to read widely about writing, as it […]

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