23 December 2012

The danger of selling other people's books

Recently I was in Austin, Texas helping my brother-in-law get ready for an upcoming move. One of the things we did was sort through his books and figure out what would be kept and what would be sold. I offered to make the trip to Half Price Books to sell the box of culled books. Once there, the clerk told me it would take about fifteen minutes to assess how much they would give me for the books. Unfortunately, the buying counter was quite close to the "Books on Books" section. At first I thought I would just browse. Then one title ended up in my hand and then another. But wait, I didn't have room in my luggage take anything back to DC. I soon found myself, however, up at the information desk asking if they shipped books. Next thing I knew I had a rather heavy basket in my hand filled to the brim with books.

When all was said and done, my brother-in-law got $26.50 for his books and I ended up spending $152.00. I too, have been culling my books lately, so what in the world was I doing buying books? Having fun? Feeding an obsession? Feeding my soul? Yes, yes, and yes.

Among the treasures: Two Anita Brookner hardcovers (one not pictured--now I only am misisng one
AB first edition) and a Betty Smith novel I haven't read.

I've seen so much about Enid Blyton on UK blogs, but I have never read any. How could I pass this up?

This kind of speaks for itself.

And then the Books on Books haul.


  1. Half Price Books is a dangerous place. I nearly always find something I can't resist in the "Old & Interesting" or the travel section, and I'd bet the Austin stores have an even better variety of books than the Houston ones. They've definitely contributed to my TBR issues!

  2. I had to read this post aloud to my husband. He laughed out loud, but very quickly sobered up to say, "Christmas is two days away, you probably shouldn't 'go and do likewise.'" That was quite the haul you found -- happy reading to you, and thanks for letting us know that they ship. :)

  3. OMG, an EF Benson I don't have.

    Of course you bought it !

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  4. Oh Thomas, you are naughty!

    You're going to love Enid Blyton. She was my childhood staple. You might be interested to know that a lot of her books, including the Famous Five series, were recently republished in an edited version, to 'modernise' the language and remove any questionable ethics. I haven't looked at any of the new versions but I think it's a terrible idea - Enid Blyton is excellent social history! Enjoy!

  5. Enid Blyton was my childhood staple too - the Famous Five and the 'Of Adventure' series were my favourites. I reread several of the 'Adventure' books last year and found one of them, The Sea of Adventure, to have fantastic descriptions of sailing around the Scottish islands. Very atmospheric.

    All of your new purchases look fabulous to me. I read John Halifax, Gentleman, many years ago and liked it a lot. The Haunted Bookshop is one I've been after for years.

  6. Since I grew up in, then, British East Africa, I am the unusual American who read Enid Blyton growing up, starting with Noddy books when we were really little, and then graduating to the Five books. Enjoy.

  7. Oh.. and thanks for shopping at HPB. I'll see a tiny bit of that purchase in my quarterly bonus!

  8. I will be fascinated to know whether Enid Blyton will 'work' at all for anyone who didn't read her as a child cos, love her as I do, she ain't a great writer.

    Books on books! Bliss! But I should warn that The Haunted Bookshop, though it has some wonderfully bookish things in it, is really more of a spy novel.

    And I don't recognise that Lucia title...

  9. I read quite a bit of Enid Blyton as a child. The books were available at my California public library. I remember being fascinated by all the British words: tins, rucksacks, etc.

    Out of curiosity, which Brookner title are you still searching for?

  10. What a delightful haul! Especially those Books on Books. The EF Benson's one look really fun too, with those illustrations.

    Enid Blyton was the one who got me into reading as a kid, right up to my teens. Love her Five Find Outers series and both the boarding school series (St Clares & Mallory Towers)! Yes, would be very interested to see what you think of her as an adult reader. Although, personally I don't think the one you got there would be the ideal 'introduction' to her, but that's probably because I find the Famous Five series to be my least favourite. :p

  11. Hahaha, I have also bought more books than traded in before now but it looks like you got a great haul there. I'm intrigued by the Benson, I haven't seen that one before...

  12. Lisa May: This one was definitely well stocked.

    Susan: And shipping via USPS media mail was quick and cheap.

    Tara: I hadn't even heard of this Benson before, so it was extra nice to find such a nice edition.

    Rachel: That is too bad that they are modernising them. Sounds as bad as Americanizing Harry Potter.

    Cath: I bought John Halifax, Gentleman, just because it is in the same edition as my copy of Widow Barnaby.

    Steve: If there were one closer to home I would do even more to help your quarterly bonus.

    Simon: I could use a little spy novel in my life. Normally I would eschew such a thing.

    Ruthiella: It turns out I still need two Brookner titles in US hardcover, Look at Me and A Friend from England.

    Michelle: I love a good book on books. It is hard to find a bad one.

    Kathleen: Thanks.

    Alex: I am just hoarding in case they stop printing books.

  13. Austin is dangerous that way. I was there for Memorial weekend a couple of years ago and went to HPB three times!! I was a mile away from the one off North Lamar, and they were having a sale. The selection is way better than in San Antonio, there were stacks of Viragos, Trollopes, Zolas. . . . need I say more?

    And if you DON'T want to buy books, DO NOT go to BookPeople next time you're in Austin. Just don't. I always buy something there. It's a sickness.


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