Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

I'm not quite so bad...but I understand

Confessions of Neurotic Book Buyer: Like all the best people out there, I'm a little crazy.  I have some serious OCD tendencies and an obsessive personality and I'm neurotic about some of the strangest things.

One, not very strange in my opinion, neuroses I have revolves around my books.  I love hardcover books - like love love love them.

I always prefer to buy hardcover over paperback.  There are practical reasons.  I can reread without wearing the book out.  I can lend it out without worrying it'll come back in tatters from too many people bending it every which way (I do not lend dust jackets).

But one of the real reasons, is that when I put the book on my shelf, it looks better - neater - when all the books are hardcover.

This becomes a real problem for me when books are paperback originals.  I still buy and read them of course, but I am always hoping the book will come out in hardcover later.  In fact, I compulsively check amazon to see if I can get a hardcover edition.

Like with Kim Harrison's The Hollows series.  The first several books came out in mass market before switching to hardcover.  Which of course presented a huge problem for my bookshelves.  I can't possibly display mass markets next to hardcovers but I can't break up a series either!  (After biting my nails and secretly stressing about it, I do now own this entire series in hardcover...and I still own those mass markets too.  They're shelved behind the hardcovers.)

Occasionally though it's hard to get a hardcover edition.  I've ordered them from the UK a few times.  Or I've bought them used when they're out of print.  (Side note: I'm also obsessive about collecting used books with inscriptions to other people.)  Which brings me to...


A few days ago, I ordered a used book online.  A hardcover, of course.  The bookseller described the book as being in excellent condition, no markings, no stickers, almost like the book looked new.  This was perfect for me.  I sent my money through the internet and awaited arrival of said book.

Today it came.


I didn't shed any tears, but I did have a minor fit in the office about it.  (Thankfully no one was hear to witness it.)  And then I ordered another copy from another bookseller after double-checking to make sure their copy does have a dust jacket.

I know how crazy this is.  I know.  But on the upside, people like me are the reason print books will never die.

Okay, I may be wrong, but I'm guessing there's no a Kindle or other e-book reader in the house. :)

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