An Abundance of Second Hand Bookshops

Books in Australia are very expensive. I’ve got no idea how anyone can afford to read. A book that costs £7 in the UK might be $25 (around £16) here. Even kids’ books cost $15. It’s hardly pocket money. The result is an abundance of extremely good second hand bookshops. By extremely good I mean they are packed to the rafters with a wide range of reading material. The photo is of a second hand bookshop I visited in Castlemaine. It looks like a health and safety hazard. Normally I like to browse by myself but when the lady in the shop asked if she could help me find something, I accepted her offer straight away. Time was tight and I couldn’t afford to get lost in a maze of stacked books.

Normally I am against buying books second hand. My reasoning is that if you buy a new book the author gets royalties for it, if you buy a used book they don’t. Libraries are great because not only do you get free access to books, but every time you borrow a book the author gets a little bit of money too. At least that’s how it works in the UK. I need to find out what the situation is here in Australia.

In the Castlemaine bookshop I was looking for more Paul Jennings stories and I managed to find a collection (after being given directions and a map) of three of his Un books in one volume. At $7.50 it was a bargain. Even second hand books here normally cost almost as much as a new book in the UK. I didn’t feel too guilty about my purchase because I’d already bought all of his books once before. Not only did I not feel guilty, I’d even go as far as to say that transaction made my day.

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10 thoughts on “An Abundance of Second Hand Bookshops

  1. I love Paul Jennings! You’ve inspired me to revisit my school days and read them all again.
    Watch Round the Twist if you get a chance – Australian viewing pleasure x

    • Hey Ashleigh! Thanks for commenting! Yes, read them all again. They are such great stories. I’ve just borrowed a massive collection from Daylesford library and am greedily devouring them. I’ll look out for Round the Twist, although there’s no TV where I am at the moment.

  2. Books are very expensive here – even the ones that have been around for a very long time are still as expensive as the new releases in the UK! Bizarre. I have to use the library more, which is sad as I would prefer to support more authors by buying their books.

    • I wonder why books are more expensive in Oz and NZ? Do authors get paid bigger advances than in the UK perhaps? Worth investigating, I think. Don’t feel bad about using the library more, they need your support too!

  3. I feel like a traitor to my trade for loving second bookshops and depriving writers of new sales – but in my defence, I am very bad at reading new writers and tend only to buy out-of-print books for historical research! Still, I know I’d be pissed off if everyone bought my stuff second-hand. But if Aussie books were cheaper, maybe more people would buy new … ?

    • I love second hand bookshops too. They’re a great place to browse, but usually if I have the choice I’d prefer to get my books from the library. I saw two Kate Grenville books in a secondhand shop the other day, bound top-to-tail in one volume. I was tempted to buy it just for the novelty of having it look like I was reading my book upside down! Also, she’s Australian and reading Australian literature is one of my priorities while I’m here. I just have to get through those Paul Jennings stories first!

  4. I buy a lot of new books to help support authors, but I also purchase from second hand shops. I simply wouldn’t be able to buy all the books I’d like to own if I didn’t. Some have told me that they’ve seen my book in used books stores and I’m glad to know that someone else will be reading my story and it won’t be simply sitting on their shelf. There are many ways to look at things.

    Wow! I couldn’t believe all those books in your photo. I can’t imagine how they find anything.

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