Book Buying by Allison Symes

Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.

Okay, hands up, I buy books all year round. Just have to, right? But we are rapidly approaching the major book buying season of the year. Naturally I will have a list (and by the time this goes out I may be putting the finishing touches to it, ready to present to my loved ones. I am, at least, easy to buy for).

I was wondering though whether you’ve found buying books for others fraught with difficulties. Do you ask them so they know what’s coming or surprise them with your choices? I do the former because I love being asked to make a selection myself but I understand the latter. My son loves reading political history across many eras so must ask him what he wants to avoid the duplicate book scenario.

Has a book you’ve been given proved to be an unexpected choice for you? I spent decades focusing on reading fiction and that will always be my major love. In recent times, I’ve discovered the joys of non-fiction. This has come as a pleasant, informative, and educational surprise. I am from the time when non-fiction books tended to be dull, worthy tomes kept in a corner of the library most people bypassed! Some things have got better at least.

I will often save my non-fiction requirements for this time of year given such books tend to be more expensive (though in my mind worth every penny. Someone has often put in lifetime of work and research to produce said book).

When I can, I go for hardback for non-fiction but fiction has to be paperback (with rare exceptions. I have some of the Discworld series in hardback). It just seems “right” to me.

One thing I miss buying though are the Discworld books on audio for my husband because we’ve got them all now. For years, that was Christmas, his birthday, and our anniversary presents taken care of in the nicest possible way given he commutes. Audio books are a joy for that. If you have any recommendations for humorous fantasy on audio, do share in the comments! We still love listening to stories, as well as reading them.

Annuals come into their own of course now and we all enjoy the Private Eye one, having graduated from The Beano ones. It seems appropriate!

As for where I buy my books, I mix this up deliberately. I have used and (including buying my own when they’ve been on offer. My publisher encourages me to do this and I get the royalties. Also I love the way these two companies support independent bookshops). 

Yes, I do use a certain company beginning with A. I have found them useful for hard to find books in particular. I pop into bookshops as I pass. My problem there is forcing myself to leave but you can’t have everything.

However, you buy your books, I hope you find there are plenty coming your way assuming you have your list ready!


Griselda Heppel said…
I've used but more often Blackwell's online. Pricewise, they keep up with Amazon pretty well (which must be hard for them, as Amazon demands huge discounts from publishers to keep their own prices low) but sometimes can take a week or two to deliver. I try NOT to buy books from Amazon unless I really have to as independent bookshops are wonderful things and need full support.

Having said that, I couldn't manage without Amazon for the countless everyday things no longer available on our high streets. Lightbulbs, ironing board covers, anti-moth strips, scent-free laundry detergent, coat buttons, toothbrush heads... all boring stuff maybe, but necessary, and how to get them except from an online giant?

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