01 February 2007

Another oldie from the used book store

These days when I want to buy a specific book, I look for it on the Internet. I have all but stopped going to bookstores. The only bookstore that I go to is the one that sells used books at ridiculously cheap prices. It is a non-profit organization run by volunteers and their profits go to the public libraries in the county I live in. They get all the books the public libraries—and there are quite a number of them—don't want anymore as well as the books people donate. In fact, we buy books from them, read them and then donate them back to them.

Every trip there is an expedition so to speak, because you don't know what you will find. Some days there is nothing worth buying even if it is only a dollar, another day there may be a treasure on a bottom shelf like the 1954 copy of Tucker Abbott's American Seashells I got for $3 about a year ago. (Actually, the sticker on it said $4, but I told the lady it was too much and she took off $1.)


Anyway, today's find was John Burch's How to know the eastern land snails from 1962 along with 2 other books from the same How to know series, The immature insects from 1949 and The insects from 1947. The latter was the very first book published in the series.

Each book once belonged to the same person. They were next to each other on the shelf. The first one I removed was one of the insect books. I said to myself "I wish they had Burch's book" and removed the next one; it was the other insect book. I repeated "I wish they had Burch's book" and removed the 3rd one. It was my lucky day.


After I came home, I looked up Burch's book on Amazon. Someone is selling a used copy for $124.95!!! That's crazy. There is nothing in that book that would make it worth that much. I paid only $2 for it and I ain't selling it!


Charles said...


I found two more copies; $80 and $100 respectively. Still overpriced no matter how you look at it.


Tristram Brelstaff said...

Alas, our local charity bookshop now checks its prices against Amazon and adjusts them accordingly. They even have a locked display cabinet for the more valuable items. Still, I managed to get a cheap copy of 'The Ants' (by Hölldobler and Wilson) there!

Cindy said...

Great finds! I hope you'll post a few choice pictures from inside them. Also, thumbs up on the header photo.


Tristram: Sometimes I wonder why the folks here are not checking their prices against Amazon. But then again, that would be quite a time consuming process. They have a lot of books. Of course, I hope their prices will remain as low as they've been.

Cindy: Yes, I may post some of the more amusing pictures.

Clare said...

Lovely story, Aydin.

pascal said...

That's cool. Burch's keys have been invaluable for me while identifying snails from scratch. I agree, some of the illustrations are hilarious - please post them (I've used them for talks in the past).

Currently, my biggest beef with the Burch key is how inacurrate the drawing of Euconulus fulvus is.