Living outside the US, in a non-English-speaking country, the availability of books in English can be such a source of frustration.
New books in English, at the established bookstores, are usually enough to fill one small shelf or section, and are subject to the whimsical perception of the booksellers regarding what people would want to read in a foreign language. OK, some of the best-selling authors are somewhat represented, in specific genres, but there is usually not a cozy to be found, nor many other authors I like. When I attempt to talk to the managers about trying new authors, they often tell me loftily that there’s no market for those books. (Well, if you haven’t tried, how the hell do you know that???)
Used bookstores usually do have a higher number of books in English, but again, only what people have traded in, mostly those bought here, only occasionally bought abroad. I haunt the local used bookstores – they know me as “the cozy lady”, and they usually let me know when something I may like arrives. New releases are rare, though, limiting my participation in discussions of newer books in several of my online book clubs to mostly lurking.
Budget is also a major factor, due to the high duty taxes. A new book selling for $7.50 in the States will sell new here for the equivalent of about $18, and used for about $10. I do order books online, but the shipping adds to the price, and I never know when the post office will open a package and decide to charge me duty as well, so it’s not always worth it. Sad, because I really would like to support independent bookstores and publishers as much as possible. Buying used online could be an option, but most of the sellers don’t ship outside the US…and a few of those I’ve tried that do have hit me with enormous shipping charges. I love the Book Depository, since they will ship books for free, anywhere in the world. But the last two times I went looking for something, they didn’t have what I wanted. And they aren’t the cheapest around.
*sigh* OK, OK, given all this, I do manage to find an amazing number of books on my TBR list, albeit pretty random and catch-as-catch-can. I do have lots to read. I think at the moment I’m mainly irritated by the fact that when I become interested in a particular author, or want to find a particular book as a gift, I often have not been able to find any of the books anywhere around. Hence this rant.
I check out swapping sites, but I’ve only found one locally, and not much that appeals to me so far. Just got a mail this week from a friend about a new swapping site, I have to investigate!
I’ve spent many an enjoyable hour cruising ebay for used mysteries……fantastic deals, and a whole lotta books I want.
The great majority – say about 80% – ship to the US only. I can understand the costs and hassles involved, can’t blame them.
Most of those who ship worldwide don’t specify shipping charges, just “contact seller”. A few do include the shipping. One lot of 13 books, going for $8, only cost $45 to ship; another lot of 10 books, selling for $5, cost $42 to ship, etc. I did find one seller who will ship for just $34, but that was only for 5 books. It may very well turn out cheaper in the long run, even with the shipping charges, but paying that much for mailing books, when I know it costs a lot less, just sticks in my craw. (At least I get a laugh out of it.)
Such is life, if one is a confirmed bookaholic….
Oh, and for months now, I have been strongly hinting at home that a Kindle would be a lovely birthday present for me in August! A grand solution! (Although I do love the feel of a book in my hands) One can always hope…..