Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's next for the Book: Oxfam vs Waterstones

A short story of our times: I'm finding almost as many relevant research books for my new book in the Oxfam store (in Hampstead) as in the Waterstones opposite; and most certainly the (material) university library - which is good for Milton and Publishing History, and perhaps Orwell.

Today I bought books on contemporary economics, trust and truth, story writing and "authenticity"; recently The Future of the Internet. Today "fiction" was on a half-price offer. In Oxfam. What is this saying: the books are out of date almost as quickly as they are published; or that "books about now" are one-read discards? And what about that fiction offer? Is it the computer games, the death of the story, the failure to catch the "now" of life? Who knows - yet. Still, I snagged a Waterstones copy of The Junior Officers' Reading Club by Patrick Hennessey: now that holds promise.

4 comments:

Ernesto said...

Can it be that London's population moves a lot, and sometimes the only option is to get rid of the books by donating them to charity shops? Books, like most vinyl records, have almost 0% resell value-- sometimes you even have to pay people to take them. I've had to donate lots of good books because I can't take them with me. It breaks one's heart, but what's a man to do if you can't afford to ship them?

Robin Hunt said...

This is a good point, and is certainly one of the issues. I think that we're also looking at a new kind of disposability - if books no longer denote "culture" in quite the way they did, even fifteen years ago, it is not so important to collect and keep them. And, if we can find the bits we want on google book search when necessary, or we can scoop up a copy on eBay, or at Oxfam then why not? I love good crime thrillers, but with the exception of friends who write them I don't ever buy new ones, HB or PB.

Ernesto said...

Yes, exactly. Today everything 50% off at Borders Oxford Street, by the way...

It sounds like a commonplace but I think it's also the culture of the fragment. Academia also encourages this. I'm not sure people read full books anymore- so if you can get the quotation you need online, why buy the book?

I am not completely sure that either information, knowledge or culture can be dematerialized, but it's certain that bookish culture is not as highly valued as it used to be. Is digital media to blame? Not entirely. I blame universities too..!

softech said...

had taken a course in clinwell. They got me a internship and then a job.My experience at clinwell was very good. If you have doubts why dont u ask their alumni......



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